A new alternate logo, a revitalized brand, and a refurbished clubhouse at the Apple Bowl—the Okanagan Sun is heading into the 2014 football season with an updated look and attitude.
“It’s about the kids coming in here, feeling fresh and ready to go, and feeling like they have ownership of something,” Sun head coach Shane Beatty said. “It’s about a new start and new beginnings, and we hope a 2014 national championship. The kids just love it.”
A concept initially devised by longtime Sun supporter Ron Harding, Beatty and the club unveiled a new logo and look this spring, which includes the letter O to be displayed on the helmets.
And while the new, stylized logo will be prevalent this season, Beatty says it’s not meant to replace the original and highly recognizable Sun logo which dates back to the club’s first season of 1981.
“We’ll always have the old logo, I mean it’s no different than when Oregon State puts OS on their helmets, but yet they’re still known as the Beavers,” said Beatty, who is heading into his second year as head coach. “We’ll go with the new O on the helmet, and we’ll have new brown pants and white jerseys, but we still have our old main logo in keeping with tradition. It’s just a nice alternative to have.”
The team’s locker room and facilities at the Apple Bowl have also undergone considerable changes during the off-season. Along with a new display-trophy case, there is a new coach’s office, a new player’s lounge, and some fresh paint, including the club’s new brand climbing up the stairs into the clubhouse.
Spearheaded by local Sun supporters Eric Pardy (equipment) and Ken Stober (director at large), Beatty said the locker room renovations are begin enthusiastically welcomed by the players.
Beatty, who has coached at the NCAA Div. 1 level in the past, said creating a brighter, more professional look also serves as a strong recruiting tool for the Sun.
“Anywhere you go if you’re at the Div. 1 level, you’re always competing with the Jonses,” he said. “Whether it be the stairs they just approved, or the trophy case, the emblem in the middle of the floor, the player’s lounge…it’s just awesome, it’s top notch for junior football. The guys responsible for all the work have just taken it and run with it, and are doing a phenomenal job.”
Sun general manager Jay Christensen wore the club’s original uniform and logo from 1982 to 1985. Despite being a self-professed traditionalist, Christensen likes the aesthetic changes the Sun is undergoing.
“I think it’s great, I love the look the guys have designed,” said Christensen. “I like the fact that we’re not getting rid of the old one, we’re just adding to what’s already in place. Having a fresh look goes well with the strong, fundamental football team we already have.”
And while the recent changes aren’t directly related to the Sun’s bid to move into the Canada West conference under the UBC Okanagan banner in the next two to three years, Beatty said the changes are all beneficial to the team’s future.
“UBC ‘O’ sounds pretty good to go with the O we’ve brought in, doesn’t it ?” Beatty said.
“We’re really excited going forth, and whether we end up at the university level or not, it’s just been great for recruiting.
“In the end, the kids love it, the new matted orange helmets, the O, the look is fresh. It’s been a great year so far.”
The next order of business for the Sun is spring camp, which goes May 31 and June 1.
The Sun will open the BCFC regular season July 27 in Chilliwack.