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A new brand for university sports in Canada

by Alexander Cole October 25, 2016
A new brand for university sports in Canada

What was once known as the Canadian Interuniversity Sport is now U Sports

The Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) announced at a press conference in Montreal on Oct. 20 that the organization has undergone a rebranding and will now go by the name U Sports.

The rebrand includes a new logo and a new philosophy that, according to U Sports, hopes to draw more attention to and increase the viewership of university sports across Canada.

“I think U Sports will take some adjusting to, just like anything else,” Concordia Stingers athletic director Patrick Boivin said at the event. “[U Sports] has the fundamentals to be a good rallying cry for university sports across Canada. The CIS, I don’t know if that name inspired much.”

U Sports held two separate conferences on Oct. 20 to unveil the new brand. The first was held in Toronto at 11 a.m., while the other was held in Montreal at 2 p.m. At the Montreal conference, student athletes from the city’s three major universities, Concordia University, McGill University and the Université de Montréal attended.

Representing the Stingers were women’s rugby star Frédérique Rajotte, men’s hockey captain Olivier Hinse and men’s hockey forward Philippe Hudon.

“When I learned about the rebrand, I thought it was a great idea,” Hinse said. “It’s nice that I can live it for my last year.”

Hinse also explained how he believes the new name could help legitimize university sports in Canada, particularly hockey.

“Now everyone is going to know what U Sports is, and young kids in junior will think to themselves that they can come to U Sports and have a great career in the league,” Hinse said. “More people are going to get attached to it, and when you say U Sports, everyone is going to know what it means.”

The new logo was created by Hulse & Durrell, a firm that specializes in helping organizations brand themselves. According to U Sports, the firm has helped create logos for other sports organizations such as the Canadian Olympic Committee, Equestrian Canada, Swimming Canada and Curling Canada.

In the promotional video for the new brand, Hulse & Durrell said they wanted to help create a logo and a name that was both simple and bilingual, in order to resonate with the entire country.

New U Sports logo. Courtesy of U Sports.

“Being a French Canadian, I can appreciate the way that it’s bilingual,” Rajotte said. “I think that the U Sports logo with the Canadian flag in the middle is easy to put together. It’s way easier to say than the CIS and trying to figure out the whole meaning of it.”

Boivin said the new direction of U Sports can be compared to the Concordia Stingers rebranding, adding that the new image is a necessary part of staying relevant.

“We and Carleton University were kind of precursors in terms of the way we structured our programs,” Boivin said. “Being a modern school like Concordia, it wasn’t that much of a hard sell when they told us that [the U Sports rebrand] could be valuable for us. It is in line with what we’ve done and will help us grow.”

The rebrand is the organization’s second in 15 years. The first rebrand occurred in 2001 when the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union changed its name to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

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