Ottawa CFL Team Confirms RedBlacks Name, Logo

Written By:  •  Sunday, June 9, 2013

Last week we posted that the Ottawa CFL franchise had registered Ottawa RedBlacks (and Rouge-et-Noir) as well as a collection of logos with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Yesterday, the ownership group made it official confirming both the name and logos we posted were, in fact, what they will be using when they take the field in 2014.

Wordmark logo, English version

“We are thrilled to confirm our team nick name and logo design and to finally be able to tell the story behind them, REDBLACKS represents Ottawa’s sports history and pays tribute to the Ottawa men and women who serve our country.  From the original Rough Riders in the 1890’s to the modern Ottawa Senators Hockey Club, red and black are the colours of Ottawa sport.  They are also the ceremonial colours of Ottawa’s Cameron Highlanders, the Governor General’s Foot Guards and the RCMP.  REDBLACKS gives us the opportunity to recognize our past and, at the same time, establish a fresh new identity for our team’s future.  It’s unique, maybe even a little edgy, and it’s a brand that we think will stand the test of time.” – Jeff Hunt, President of OSEG, owner of the RedBlacks

A variety of inspirations noted for the RedBlacks name: (clockwise from top left) The RCMP, Ottawa Roughriders CFL team, Ottawa Senators 1920s and today, the Ottawa Cameron Highlanders, Ottawa 67s junior hockey, Ottawa Renegades CFL

“The REDBLACKS logo design pays tribute to our Ottawa football past by reviving the traditional “R” of the Rough Riders with a slight difference.  The modern REDBLACKS “R” features two notches, which appear to have been cut with a saw, fused to a circular saw blade background.  The blade represents many of the characteristics we hope our players will demonstrate; speed, unstoppable  force, precision, balance, strong-as-steel and even dangerous.  It also has a relationship to Ottawa’s founding as a lumber industry town.” – John Ruddy, RedBlacks Governor

Ottawa becomes the first team in the bi-lingual Canadian Football League to create a completely separate branding for both it’s French and English fans.  The French name of the team “Rouge-et-Noir”, translates literally to “Red and Black” rather than RedBlacks (“Rougenoirs” was actually originally registered by the club in January but sits unused), perhaps the new style of French naming is a nod to popular Quebec-based college football teams like the Sherbrooke Vert-et-Or (Green and Gold), and  Laval Rouge-et-Or (Red and Gold)… and yes, you can go ahead and make your “Wow, do all Canadian football teams just copy each others names?” jokes.

I’m not a fan of the name, and I’m not a fan of the process of how they came to select the name.  Based on what we saw all online polls conducted by various media outlets had RedBlacks ranked near the bottom of groups including the other finalists: Nationals, Voyageurs, Rush, and Raftsmen, yet the club maintained they were basing their decision on the results of focus groups and  what the fans wanted.

We conducted our own poll on SportsLogos.Net in January and when RedBlacks fell to 5th place fast we noticed a sudden surge in voting put the name way in first place, an investigation showed that the votes were fraudulent, somebody (we don’t know who for sure) had been trying to make the name sound more popular than it was.  What’s up with that?

Look, I have no problem with an owner picking a name that he wants, it’s his team and he can do as he damn well pleases, but don’t give fans hope that their voice means anything, that their wishes matter.  If you want it to be called RedBlacks just flat-out say so, “this is the name and it’s our name because I liked it”.

A video presentation of the name and logo announcement is up on the official website as well as a press release.  The Ottawa RedBlacks will play their first game next Summer.  The team logos have been added to SportsLogos.Net where you can rate and comment on the new look – at the time of this posting the logo was sitting at a score of 6.1 out of 10.  If that jumps to a 10 out of 10 in the next 24 hours I wouldn’t be surprised…

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Chris Creamer

Chris Creamer is the founder of SportsLogos.Net and has been maintaining it since June 1997. You can follow him on Twitter at @sportslogosnet or contact him via email at

  • Bryan Smalley

    It’s a laughable identity when you need to take extra steps to explain your new brand.

  • I like it. It’s unique, it has a clear connection to Ottawa’s traditions and it’s definitely something that wouldn’t be picked by Americans. So, all good.

    • Many people in the US love and follow the CFL. I have been a follower all the way back to the Birmingham Barracudas ( in fact, I still fly their flag at my home in Indiana ), so lighten up about your neighbors to the south who love the Canadian brand of football.

  • Seems the whole voting process fits the town the team is located in. Pity.

    When Ottawa was announced to be getting a new CFL team, I was skeptical. When Jeff Hunt was supposed to be running the show however I was pleased. With his time with the 67’s, he’s done a great job. But this whole name thing has a bit of a smell to it. like a dish of food sitting in the back of the fridge that you can’t see. At least it sounds better (not a high bar to vault over) en francais.

    As for ” becoming the first team in the bi-lingual Canadian Football League to create a completely separate branding for both it’s French and English fans.”, it’s not really that much of a surprise. Outside of Montreal no other team has a large enough French speaking market to make it worthwhile. That and not being a trek to get to Landsdowne from Hull, unlike for the Sens with them being out in Kanata helps too I bet.

    • Chris Creamer

      You’re right about the bilingual thing but I had to find *something* positive to mention about it.

  • It’s cool. Ottawa can’t hold a CFL team anyways. We only have to hear this idiot name for like three years tops.

  • Cheryl Rose Creamer

    well their team colours better be red and black or it’s going to look pretty silly (or awful silly)

  • Has anybody ever heard of rumors of the NFL merging with the CFL?

    • Jack

      No, it would be brilliant, but no I have not.

      • Toucan Sam

        No one has, because there are no rumors about a merger.

    • Kel Bracken

      There was a proposal put forward by the founding owners of the AFL back in the 60’s that they were looking at a merger at one point. How serious that proposal was? I also know that at one point in the pre-XFL days…Vince McMahon was kicking the tires of the CFL and was looking at buying the league. I think it was a bid to give his new league instant teams and locations…I assume that he would have moved teams in smaller Canadian markets to new American markets.

      I’m glad that neither of these mergers happened.

      The CFL is great as it is…however say that the CFL and the AFL would have merged? What changes would maybe have transpired. How cool would a hybrid field be (100 yard field, 15 yard yard endzones, and trim say 4 yards on each side) with motion offence and three downs. Punt returns and returning missed field goals.

      I think that the AFL was new enough that there fans would have excepted more rule changes. I think also that it might have worked…who knows.


  • ottawa

    what a bad name

  • Terrible name that nobody likes.

  • John M. McCorquadale

    redblacks? sounds stupid

    • martin

      The All Whites from New Zealand and the All Blacks from Australia would disagree with people who don’t like the name RedBlacks. I like it very much as it is short and it can’t be mistaken for another team. Go RedBlacks!!!

  • Mike Aug

    No, because it would never happen.

  • Bill

    Voyageurs would have been so much better. Much more evocative. This is just a pair of colors, and it doesn’t “flow” well.

  • Gene Sanny

    What’s funny to me is that they didn’t use the “notched R” they described in detail in the wordmark, just the logo…

  • This would make a fine logo for a power-tool manufacturing company.

  • Worst Name Ever.

    • Luke Dzikiy


  • Sean Carter

    worse sport identity in history of gridiron football they could have chose number better nicknames for this team I don’t if citizens of Ottawa will support this team because of name but u never know what will happen in world of sports

  • Sylvain Leduc

    Does ‘Ottawa Red and black’ sounds better than Redblacks? I think so…they should have done so….and I don`t think the team will fold in 3-5 years…the CFL said it`s the best ownership they ever had in Ottawa.

  • Aaron

    The logo itself is cool. Red Blacks? Not too sure as of yet. However, if the team plays well and stays afloat financially and not let the Gleibermans touch it, the name won’t be an issue. Although to go with this logo, Rebels, Renegades and possibly Rivermen would’ve worked well.

  • Edward Fenner

    Well… isn’t that a dreadful team name…

  • Jack

    If they are good, it’ll grow on me.

  • Marc

    I like this name. It’s original and sounds good on the tongue. I know there might have been better choices, but if the team starts winning or brings the Grey Cup back to Ottawa for the first time since the US Bicentanial, then everyone will love the Red Blacks name.

  • Blake Snodgrass

    “If you can’t explain a concept in one sentence, it will never work.” — Mark Goodson

  • David

    The name sounds a lot better in french. It wouldn’t sound bad in english either if they added an “and” between the colours. Ottawa Red and Black flows a lot better than Ottawa RedBlacks. Sometimes the most creative ideas aren’t the best ones.

  • Robert Ozias

    RedBlacks feels like something from Blackjack…

  • Bobb

    Ugh- such a seemingly patriotic decision process by a group who hires an American firm to create the logo.
    Grateful for the expansion to the cfl… horrible name choice. Green whites prevail….they kept their identity and built it into the strongest brand in the league- green is the colour- football is the game.

  • Steve-O

    Do you not understand any name other than the Rough Riders was going to work, this is a way for the fans to call them the Riders without actually being called the RR, can people not get that. Awesome name it’ll take some people time to get use to it and others are just going to complain anyways. This is not a recycled name.

  • Greg

    I almost think they should just use the Rouge et Noir instead of Red Blacks. The french version sounds considerably better, though still not good!

  • Toucan Sam

    I was hoping they would go back to the name Renegades. I know that team flopped, but that was a good name.

  • Silly name but I like the colors and logo with the circular saw and styleized “R”.

  • Aaron

    How about the Ottawa Razors?

  • Cross Ross

    RedBlacks is an odd name. That wouldn’t be what I would name a team.

  • Kel Bracken

    I don’t get the negative reaction? I love the use of the R and the colors in the logo. The name is not that common…but when people in Ottawa see the team on the field, with the home Black uniforms…they will be back in the glory days of Russ Jackson and company.

    And for all the pro-NFL haters that bring up the whole 9 team league with 2 teams called Rough Riders…remember that your league had two teams (New York and St. Louis) that had team names the same as their baseball teams in the same city (Giants and Cardinals) at the same time.


    • Aaron

      Hopefully the CFL will become a 10 team league in a couple years with either Moncton or Halifax reviving the Atlantic Schooners. Also the AHL currently has two teams called the Admirals (Milwaukee/Norfolk).

  • SV11

    No..just…no. Sure, I know Saskatchewan recently objected to have two Roughrider teams again, but did you really forget about the Renegades name? I mean, Red & Black/Rouge et Noire would be a good nickname for the team; like the Argos as the Double Blues, Bombers as the Blue & Gold/Big Blue, or even Sasky as the Greenies. So, you have a year and a half before Ottawa takes the field, so scrap it and try again.

  • Doug

    Worst name since Blue Jackets

  • bpk

    Love the colors …. hate the name.


    It’s pretty bad… At least its not just a colored in block letter or an outline of an animal

  • Popular

    This is so racist to both Indians and blacks! The should be ashamed

    • Aaron

      Then you could probably say the same thing about the New Zealand All Blacks or the Cincinatti Reds or Chicago White Sox right?

  • steve-o

    how is this racists?

  • ingmar66

    The logo is not too bad, the name surely is. Let’s hope it will be changed to Red and Black so it can be further shortened to RnB (as in soulful music). That would be groovy.

  • JohnnyPolo

    Actually, the first thing I thought of upon seeing the name was Mounties, but if it wasn’t illegal in Canada to appropriate the RCMP image (remember the pickle the WWF got into?) I’d suggest having a Mountie as a mascot to really hit the name home.

    And I like the name, it’s different.


    The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Reds say hello.

  • Lea

    We stumbled over here by a different web address and thought I might as well check things out.

    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to checking out your web page yet again.

  • Ottwa CFL teams names RedBlacks or you can say Rouge-et-Noir in french. Hope they will make the CFL tournament better than ever. As it is hard to progress in the first time ,but hope they will do better.

  • Bentley

    Spend the money, buy the old logo off Horn Chen, and call the team the Voyageurs. Use the Black and Red color scheme and this name ties in with the history around Ottawa. This was not thought out at all!!

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