Simon Fraser University has introduced ‘Red Leafs’ as the new name of its varsity athletics teams after discontinuing name ‘Clan’ in 2020.
The school believes its new name is grounded in the university’s history as athletes and coaches have competed under SFU’s leaf for a number of decades. The Red Leafs is intended to reflect the institution’s identity as Canada’s only NCAA team.
“I’m proud that the university is moving forward under the Red Leafs name,” said SFU President Joy Johnson in a statement. “We feel it captures the heritage and spirit of SFU, and its unique role in collegiate sports. After a lot of consultation, we have heard that it is a name that everyone in our community can be proud of and I can’t wait to cheer on our teams together.”
The school conducted consultations regarding the new name with student groups such as the Simon Fraser Students Society, Indigenous Students Centre, and representatives from the SFU Students of Caribbean and African Ancestry (SOCA), and SFU First Nations, Métis & Inuit Student Association (FNMISA). Nine Indigenous host nations were also asked to provide feedback regarding the new name.
Simon Fraser’s football team has competed in the Great Northwest Atlantic Conference (GNAC) of NCAA Division II since 2010 following an eight-year stint in U Sports. They went 1-7 last season under head coach Mike Rignell and have a 3-53 regular season record dating back to 2015.
The Red Leafs will open their football season at SFU Stadium at Terry Fox Field on Saturday, Sept. 17 with a game against Central Washington. The rest of their regular season home games will be played in Blaine, Wash. to accommodate visiting players who remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.
Established in 1965 and located in Burnaby, B.C., Simon Fraser has an enrollment of approximately 30,000 students. Notable alumni include Canadian Football Hall of Fame inductees such as Lui Passaglia, Dan Ferrone, Dave Cutler, and Doug Brown as well as current CFL players such as Michael Couture, Lemar Durant, Justin Herdman-Reed, and Ante Milanovic-Litre.