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Former Avon River Rats adopt new name, draw on Windsor's history

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The Avon River Rats are changing their name and logo. They will soon be called the Windsor Royals.

The Windsor Royals have been revived. Or, more precisely, the name has been resurrected.

In April, Hants County's junior C hockey team, formerly known as the Avon River Rats, began searching for a new name after a copyright infringement claim. A U.S. marketing company still owns the rights to the name and logo of the Albany River Rats.

It didn't take the team long to settle on a new moniker.

Mike LaPierre, the team's head coach and general manager, said he received quite a response from area residents on social media when he put the call out for suggestions.

“It seemed like a lot of people from the community liked the history of going back to the old Windsor Royals name,” said LaPierre in a phone interview.

The executive in charge of the junior C team concurred.

“We had to do our due diligence as well. We had to check to make sure that it's still OK to use the Windsor Royals name because of what we ran into with the Avon River Rats name,” said LaPierre.

The Windsor Royals requested a year's absence from the Junior B hockey scene in 2012 after a dispute between the executive and the coaching staff and players. The Valley Maple Leafs filled the void that season and have been participating in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League ever since. The Royals, which has roots dating back to the 1960s, are now a defunct franchise.

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Now that the name has been cleared for use, LaPierre said they're working on designing a logo. He anticipates that will be ready within a few weeks.

“We're still mulling over different ideas for what we're going to use for a logo but we should have that relatively soon because we have to get our orders for jerseys in as well to get ready for the season,” said LaPierre.

LaPierre said they have a limited time frame and budget to work within but they are optimistic they'll have everything ready before the season starts in September.

His focus right now is getting the socks and jerseys ordered, which are the most costly aspect of rebranding the team. He said that will set them back about $7,000.

However, several fundraisers are underway to help the team out.

A Chase the Ace fundraiser is being held weekly at Bubba Rays in Garlands Crossing. The team is hosting an indoor ball hockey tournament June 23-24 at the GFL — Newport Recreation Centre in Brooklyn, and plans are being ironed out for an online auction for later on this summer. A co-ed softball tournament in August is also in the works.

“We're getting lots of support in our community. It's really good to see,” said LaPierre, noting that the Junior B Valley Maple Leafs organization has also been quite helpful.

“I'd like to thank the community for supporting our team and hopefully they continue to come out to the rink and support our new team, the Windsor Royals.”

Event details will be announced on the Facebook fan page, Avon Junior C Hockey Club Fan Page 2018/2019.

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