St. Albert elite hockey clubs will no longer be playing under the Raiders brand after structural changes to the local sports organization mean teams will now be managed by St. Albert Minor Hockey Association.
The change has resulted in the Raiders not allowing their branding to be used for elite teams, according to the Raiders website.
In early June the St. Albert Minor Hockey Association (SAMHA) board of directors ended their collaborative agreement with the St. Albert Raiders Hockey Club, which will bring the management of elite hockey back under SAMHA control.
“We know this change in governance will help support the overall growth and development of AAA and AA hockey in our community and mitigate the ongoing risk to the reputation of the Raiders program,” the public announcement from the board read.
The elite hockey program in St. Albert, which was formally run by the Raiders under the umbrella supervision of SAMHA, will now be run through a committee under SAMHA known as the Raiders hockey committee.
As a result of this announcement, Raiders president Kevin Porter released a statement of his own saying the elite clubs will no longer be wearing Raiders hockey club branding. Porter declined to comment further.
“Next year players will be using SAMHA jerseys and gear. All branding, use of the Raider name and associated graphics are owned and operated by the Raiders Hockey Club. SAMHA cannot use graphics, logos, or anything associated with the Raiders,” Porter wrote.
Jerseys and team gear will have SAMHA branding and not Raiders branding, Porter said, adding the Raiders brand will no longer exist for elite hockey in St. Albert.
The move came days after The Gazette published a story with current and former members of the Raiders hockey community sharing their concerns over filing complaints with the Raiders club.
Former coaches, board members, and families spoke to The Gazette and shared their struggles with getting the Raiders board to deal with complaints without having to escalate them to Hockey Alberta
Following the reporting from The Gazette, the SAMHA board looked into amalgamating the two societies, but ultimately decided against it, the public statement read, as they would then assume responsibility for any future legal action against the Raiders Hockey Club.
“Given the serious nature of the recent allegations against a board member of the Raiders Hockey Club, the SAMHA board of directors did not feel comfortable assuming this ongoing risk,” the online statement read. SAMHA would not clarify the nature of the allegations or identify the board member mentioned in the statement.
No allegations against a Raiders board member have been reported on in any previous Gazette story.
The Raiders name originated in St. Albert in 1979 and the most recent logo was developed in 2005 under the direction of the SAMHA president at the time. SAMHA granted the Raiders the use of the logo for elite-level AAA and AA hockey in St. Albert.
“We trusted that you would never withhold this name from the Raiders players in our community,” the SAMHA public statement read.
“On June 3, 2022, the statement to your membership on the SARHC website indicates that the Raiders Hockey Club board of directors intends to withhold player jerseys, equipment, and the logo.”
Porter said the Raiders were shocked and disappointed to learn their collective agreement was terminated and that the Raiders will have no role in running elite hockey in St. Albert.
Jane Sedo, executive director of SAMHA, declined to be interviewed for the story, but sent an emailed statement to The Gazette. Sedo said they made changes to the organizational structure of the Raiders hockey club and SAMHA will provide oversight of AAA and AA hockey in St. Albert.
“We are working closely with the Raiders Hockey Club Society leadership through this transition. For the past 15 years, the Raiders Hockey Club has been a vital part of our hockey community. Many dedicated volunteers have committed countless hours to build Raiders pride in St. Albert, and we look forward to continuing this legacy in our community,” Sedo said in the statement.