It will be a fundraising year for the Royals.
The Windsor Royals Junior C club is taking a one-year hiatus. Formerly known as the Avon River Rats, the team rebranded last season with a new logo and all new gear. This year, the team requested a year’s leave of absence to regroup due to a lack of volunteers and a lack of coaching staff. The organization will focus on fundraising and getting organized for the next season, according to Jamie Leopold, president of the team.
“I thought it would be in the best interest of the team to take a year off,” said Leopold.
Players will be allowed to play for other teams during the hiatus.
“Once the leave of absence was approved by the league, the players became free agents and we didn’t have the right to them anymore,” Leopold explained.
“A lot of them went to other teams throughout the league. But the teams were under the understanding that ‘we’ll give them a spot to play this year but next year, we’ll let them come back to you if they want’.”
Leopold is hopeful that many players will return to Windsor for next year’s season.
He has kept the team going over the years, but it became too much work to do alone.
“This would be my tenth year doing this. We are forming a new board of directors and some more people are interested in coming aboard,” he said.
“We have a couple of guys lined up for the coaching staff next year. Next year is looking good. Our bills are now paid and there’s money in the bank. There will be fundraisers throughout the winter and we’ll be at the right mark for where we want to be for next season. We’ll start tryouts late August next year at the brand new West Hants recreation facility.”
Last year’s rebranding came after the River Rats were faced with copyright infringement from an organization in the United States. The team received an email from McKinley Griffin Design and Advertising, addressing the copyright infringement issue and requesting them to stop using it.
“Basically, they said you’re using the logo that we own the rights to,” said Leopold.
Rebranding was the easiest solution and the team opted to revive the defunct Windsor Royals brand, which has roots in the community dating back to the 1960s.
“The Windsor Royals were a staple in Windsor for years and years,” said Leopold.
The team revived the brand and set out to create a new logo. Ben Bennet of Buoy Marketing and Production volunteered his services and designed the new logo for free, giving the Royals a whole new look with new uniforms and gear.
Hockey fans in Windsor will miss the team during the hiatus.
“We’ve heard disappointment from some fans, but most understand that it had to be done and we’ll come back next year stronger than ever,” said Leopold.
“We thank everybody for their support over the years and look for more good things to come.”
- Story by Anita Flowers