The Calgary Stampeders look is out and a fresh new West Coast look is in for the Westshore Rebels football club.
The B.C. Football Conference junior squad unveiled its new logo and an upgraded website this week, along with a new promotional video aimed at helping recruit players and market the team and its players to the community.
New head coach J.C. Boice said the U.S.-style rebranding project, undertaken by Vancouver company Digital Shift with the input from the football club’s volunteer board, was first and foremost inspired by the players.
“We took lots of samplings,” he said. “(But) we spoke to the players first and asked them what they thought they wanted to (be representative) of the Rebels.”
Boice calls the new look “a little bit edgy” and said the process of updating the look for the team has done a good job of uniting the players, the board and Rebels alumni.
Continuing to make strides in turning around the team and building a new image for the club, the board, led by team president Elise Pastro, has helped keep the players visible in the community as well. Last weekend some of them were busy bagging groceries at the Market on Millstream in Langford.
“The club has been very proactive in seeking opportunities for our athletes to interact in the community, as well as teaching them why it’s important for them to connect with the community, “ Boice said.
On the field, those who are in town this off-season are checking in for workouts with the coach and keeping in shape to be ready for the spring camp, set for May 1 to 3 at Westhills Stadium.
Part of the excitement in the leadup to camp weekend was the quiet announcement this week that Doug Hocking has agreed to join the club as defensive co-ordinator for the 2015 season.
Hocking oversaw the powerful defence that helped the Vancouver Island Raiders win national championships in 2006, 2008 and 2009 and seven B.C. titles, after which he coached with the UBC Thunderbirds. A 12-year pro who played in the Canadian Football League, he won a Grey Cup with the B.C. Lions in 1994.
His return to the Raiders had been announced in December, but in February the Nanaimo club unveiled former UBC special teams co-ordinator Jerome Erdman as their new defensive co-ordinator.
Boice is thrilled to have someone of Hocking’s experience level joining the coaching staff in Langford.
“That’s a big deal to attract a high-level coach like that with a proven track record,” Boice said. “The identity of that Raider organization back then was a fantastic, really aggressive defensive unit.”
The Rebels coach hinted that more quality staffers will be brought in as the club heads toward spring camp.
Speaking of training camp, the Rebels may well have to turn interested players away, having made a decision to cap the numbers at 100. Known for his recruiting skills on both sides of the border, Boice said word is getting out about the team and its fresh approach to development and community.
For more information on the Rebels or to find out how to get involved, visit westshorerebels.ca.