With hopes the “king of the jungle” can also be the “king of the ice”, the new Trois-Rivières ECHL expansion franchise today announced they’d be known as the Trois-Rivières Lions while also unveiling their team logos.
Before you start wondering “why is a brand new team in 2021 going with an old-school name like Lions?”, this is an homage to the original Trois-Riviéres Lions team which played in the pro Québec Hockey League and Eastern Professional Hockey Leagues between 1955 and 1960.
“We truly listened to the passionate fans who put forth thousands of suggestions over the past seven months, the fans not only named our team but motivated us to create the unique details found throughout our logo,” said Dean MacDonald, Chair of Deacon Sports & Entertainment, the owners of the team (as well as the ECHL’s Newfoundland and Iowa clubs). “We are proud to call ourselves the Lions and are very excited to build upon the rich hockey history in Trois-Rivières both on the ice and in the community as we inch closer to puck drop at the Nouveau Colisée in October.”
Developed by the Win X Two Branding Agency in conjunction with Deacon Sports and Entertainment, The Idea Factory, and Québec-based agencies Acolyte and Tungsten Studio, the logo incorporates the iconic Québec symbol of the fleur-de-lys into the mane of a lion. The lion is metal-plated, an homage to local industry, a torch is shown at the top of the lion’s mane as a nod to the Montréal Canadiens. Colours are Québec Blue and Metal Grey.
“One of the parts to this project that was interesting from a creative and strategic lens for us, was how to take the name Lions and deliver it in a way that feels new and ownable for Trois-Rivières,” said Cody MacDonald from Win X Two who also worked on the recent Iowa Heartlanders project. “Symbols of local and regional pride such as the fleur-de-lys, le Flambeau Monument, and Forges du Saint-Maurice provided us the inspiration to unlock some of that new factor we were seeking, and hopefully in way that really resonates with the fanbase.”
“As a lifelong Canadiens fan, it was both an honour and intensely challenging to develop this brand,” said Win X Two’s Chris McDonald. “The Lions is now in the lineage of one of the most storied franchises in sports history, and fits in comfortably while making its own mark that is distinctly Trois-Rivières. We’re very proud of that, and hope the fans and people of Trois-Rivières are, too.”
These new ECHL Lions are essentially bringing back the old 1955-60 Lions to life. A team largely forgotten to time, the original Lions sported several future NHL stars and colourful characters such as Hockey Hall of Famers Rod Gilbert and Jean Ratelle, and even eventual NHL coach and television personality Don Cherry.
The original Lions wore white uniforms with blue shoulders and “LIONS” written out diagonally (New York Rangers style) in red, pants were blue a red stripe down the sides. They lasted four seasons in the old Québec Hockey League finishing above .500 only once before moving to the Eastern Pro Hockey League for one season in 1959-60 where they made the playoffs but were ousted in the first round.
Since the Lions, Trois-Rivières has been home to several hockey clubs, though never again at the pro level. The Trois-Rivières Draveurs are the most notable, playing in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League for nearly 20 years from 1974-1992.
No word yet on when the new Lions will unveil their uniforms but we know they’ll be taking the ice for their first-ever regular season game this fall on October 21st when they’ll be hosting the Newfoundland Growlers.