Naming game in progress at Niverville

The town of Niverville has already received approval for an expansion of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League franchise which is expected to begin playing in a sparkling new arena by fall 2022.

What has not been revealed is a team nickname or management team for the on-ice product.

Expect those boxes to be ticked early next month when President Clarence Braun and the club’s nine board members work out the details.

The process of naming the team came to a final stage on Thursday when a shortlist of 12 names was released to the public after community outreach and online. Fans wishing to express themselves can access an online survey at to make their selection.

“The board is going to make the final decision and we’ll open it up to get the community perspective,” said Braun, who is joined on the board by Ray Dowse, Scott Wallace, Carl Fast, Bryan Trottier, Kevin Lansard, Tom Kleysen, Dylan Wiens and Jeremy Braun.

The Niverville MJHL franchise, which has yet to be named, will play its home games at the Niverville Community Resource and Recreation Center. (files Alex Lupul / Winnipeg Free Press)

“We’ve had over 300 submissions and we know what some of the strong preferences were. We might agree with some of them, but we don’t want to lean on the hand either.”

Two of the early favorites include the Clippers, a name long associated with the Niverville and Ste. Agathe and the Threshers, with the obvious agricultural ties to the region as well as compelling logo design possibilities.

Online surveys will continue until January 9. At that point, the board will announce a choice while initiating the process of choosing a logo and colors.

“The winning name won’t necessarily be the one with the most votes,” Braun said. “However, the amount of support from the general public will be taken into account when the board makes its final decision.”

In September, the non-profit organization was granted a three-year lease to use the new Niverville community resource and recreation center.

The next step will be the hiring of a head coach and a general manager, although Braun has hinted that one person will hold both titles. This hiring will also be announced next month.

Clarence Braun, president of Niverville hockey.  (files Alex Lupul / Winnipeg Free Press)

Clarence Braun, president of Niverville hockey. (files Alex Lupul / Winnipeg Free Press)

MJHL Commissioner Kevin Saurette said while the pace of the Niverville franchise rollout has been slower than expected, he is happy with its progress.

“I think they wanted to have a coach and GM appointed before this schedule (and) I think they’re still in a positive position,” Saurette said. “From what I understand, they have come to an agreement with the head coach / GM and they plan to make an announcement in early January. So on that front and in terms of timing and in the planning of next season starting in September we’re still happy with where they are. ”

Newly hired hockey operations staff will need to get to work.

“The most important thing is basically January 11, especially when they can start adding players to their Protected List (50 people) and building their Protected List, and signing players to (a) Letter of Intent for the coming season, ”said Saurette.

Other important dates include the 15-year-old prospect’s MJHL draft, scheduled for June 4-5. The Niverville franchise will also be able to begin trading in the Canadian Junior Hockey League as early as June. 1.

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Twitter: @ sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

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