McGill University has chosen a new name that will take its men’s varsity teams into the University’s third century. The name — chosen with the aim of paying homage to Athletics and Recreation’s tradition and history while simultaneously uniting our community — is the McGill Redbirds.
“This decision was the culmination of extensive consultation, debate and deliberation,” says Deputy Provost, Student Life and Learning Fabrice Labeau, co-chair of the Men’s Varsity Teams Naming Committee. “While several names emerged as top choices, in the end the Redbirds rose to the forefront for its strong links to both the past and present of McGill Athletics and Recreation.”
These links include its past use as the name of several McGill sports clubs, teams and events: the Red Birds Ski Club was founded in 1928 by 3 McGill graduates and still exists today; in the early 1930’s, the McGill Nordic Ski team used the name Redbirds, and this team is part of the McGill A&R Hall of Fame; through the late 1990s and well into the 2000s, the McGill Baseball team was also known as the Redbirds; and Athletics and Recreation traditionally hosted a fall basketball tournament that was known as the Redbird Classic. It is also the name of the Currie Gym’s sports shop – the Redbird Sports Shop.
Over the course of its mandate, the Men’s Varsity Teams Naming Committee held 13 committee meetings, which included both individual and group presentations from students, staff, Varsity athletes, and alumni. An open call for submissions was put out and widely publicized in order to obtain broad participation. Finally, a request for feedback on the names submitted most often was sent to the community, in order to ensure that all perspectives were heard and understood.
In total, 1238 submissions were received, making up 230 different options.
“I have little doubt that the men’s varsity athletes will continue to achieve greatness as they write this next chapter,” says alumni Hubert T. Lacroix, co-chair of the Men’s Varsity Teams Naming Committee. “Our varsity teams are a vital part of the McGill community and experience, and I am confident this new name is one that we can all be proud of.”
Once COVID-19 restrictions allow, McGill will celebrate this new era of McGill men’s varsity sports with the entire community.