The Okanagan is known for its heat. Now, so is UBC Okanagan.
After a year of public consultation in search of a name for its sports teams, UBC Okanagan unveiled its new varsity athletics team name – the UBC Okanagan Heat – at this morning’s third-annual Valley First UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast.
“We are launching a new brand of post-secondary sport in the Okanagan,” said Rob Johnson, Director of Athletics, in announcing the new name to a crowd of 350 people at Kelowna’s Coast Capri Hotel. “We asked the community for input and some 150 people responded with 106 unique ideas. Our committee, consisting of members of the community, the alumni, the Okanagan Nation Alliance, the media and the institution itself, narrowed the list down to three, and from that short list, UBC Okanagan has chosen its name.”
“This is a name around which we will build great, winning traditions,” said Doug Owram, UBC Okanagan’s Deputy Vice Chancellor. “We wanted a team name people can immediately identify as ours. With the success of our student-athletes this year, as B.C. champions and national medalists, we know the UBC Okanagan Heat will quickly earn a high profile not only in our region but across the country.”
The past season marked the end of a transition period granted by the B.C. Colleges’ Athletics Association which had allowed student athletes attending either Okanagan College or UBC Okanagan to compete on joint teams known simply as the Okanagan Lakers, said Johnson.
“The name Lakers has a long and proud tradition as the team name of both Okanagan College and Okanagan University College and it is appropriate that it remains with Okanagan College,” he said.
The logo, which consists of the word “Heat” in UBC blue with a stylized flame in UBC gold, is already on caps and jerseys, and will quickly become an icon on the campus as the university’s athletics program prepares for its first season under the new name.
“The design is very clean and bold — the right fit for marketing and branding as our athletics program moves ahead as the Heat,” said Johnson. “It’s the right time, too, as we plan to take our programs to the CIS level, with our application to join the highly competitive Canada West division.”
This morning’s Valley First UBC Okanagan Athletics Scholarship Breakfast raised approximately $60,000 for the Athletics Scholarship Endowment – now over $210,000, said Johnson.
The morning’s program included Canadian Football League Hall of Famer Bob Ackles, president and CEO of the B.C. Lions Football Club, interviewed live on stage by CHBC-TV’s veteran sports director and producer Pat Kennedy.
— 30 —