The Humboldt Broncos hockey team is facing off with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League over the slogan Humboldt Strong and several others.
After the deadly bus crash on April 6 that killed 16 people and injured 13 others, people across the country showed their support using the phrase “Humboldt Strong” and putting hockey sticks out on the porch.
The president of SJHL, Bill Chow, said he wanted to protect the hashtags #HumboldtStrong, #SticksonthePorch, and seven others, by applying for trademark.
Chow said the league controls all proprietary rights and broadcast rights.
“It was in the best interest to reach out and do those protections,” he said.
He applied for the trademark application on April 20 and admitted he did not consult the Broncos team first.
The SJHL also teamed up with 22Fresh, a Regina based clothing line, to sell Humboldt Strong t-shirts. Chow said the money raised through the t-shirt sales would go towards SJHL’s assistance program — a mental health program for all teams in the league, not just the Broncos.
However, in a statement, the president of the Humboldt Broncos, Kevin Garinger, said that money should go to those who suffered the most.
“The Humboldt Broncos’ focus and priority remains, as it has from the very beginning, on supporting the families impacted by the tragic event,” Garinger said. “We take that commitment seriously, and will do whatever it takes to ensure that we protect and honour it in every way possible.”
Garinger said the Humboldt Broncos did not endorse SJHL’s fundraising efforts.
“Any suggestion that the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Leagues fundraising efforts are supporting or endorsed by the Humboldt Broncos is misinformed. To-date, the SJHL has not directed any of the funds they have raised, whether through direct solicitation or merchandise sales, to the Humboldt Broncos organization.”
He said he wanted to resolve this issue quietly with the league, but said SJHL is refusing to revoke the trademark application.
However, Chow said it is now up to the Board of Governors to decide if the application will be withdrawn. He said it could take up to two years before the trademark application is approved.
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