Hockey Canada May Have to Change Logo for 2010 Winter Olympics
Canada's Olympic Hockey team may have to play at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver without wearing their familiar maple leaf logo. The change to Canada's famous red-and-black uniforms may come if the IOC decides to enforce its rules regarding uniforms more strictly.
The IOC technically forbids sports federation from displaying their logos on team uniforms. In the past, the IOC had been more lax about enforcing the rule, allowing federations like Hockey Canada to apply for exemptions.
This year, however, the IOC appears to be taking a more hardline approach. During the Summer Olympics in Beijing, the IOC forced all soccer teams to remove their logos, much to the dismay of well-known teams like Brazil and Argentina, whose team logos are sporting icons.
COC officials believe that the IOC might take the same approach to Canada's hockey team, although Hockey Canada may not go down without a fight.
"I can't believe that they're taking a chunk of history, especially when we're hosting it in our country," said Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson. "They're putting Team Canada at a disadvantage in its own country."
Rudge, however, says such hand-wringing is premature as the IOC has yet to deliver its final uniform specification details. And he says it's a matter to be resolved between the IOC and International Ice Hockey Federation.
A look at the Olympic Charter appears to back that notion. According to bylaw 1.6 of rule 51: "In case of special rules adopted by an international sports federation, exceptions to the rules mentioned above may be approved the IOC Executive Board."
The IOC did not respond to requests for further clarification while an IIHF spokesman would only say that the "situation is sensitive" and that it hoped to "solve this issue to everyone's satisfaction."
Nicholson, however, believes the COC's refusal to sign the same form as in past Games effectively kills any chance of Hockey Canada being able to use its logo on jerseys at the 2010 Games.
"Without that signature, it's showing that Canada doesn't support it so the IOC's certainly not going to," he said.
The issue could also affect Hockey Canada's bottom line since it threatens the money they make through sales of jersey and paraphernalia, revenue that helps fund many of Hockey Canada's programs.
Then there is the psychological impact. Ask any hockey player in Canada and they'll tell you that they dream about putting on a Canadian jersey with the maple leaf logo. Players take a certain pride in wearing the logo, something that may spur them to play better. As Canada plays host to the 2010 Olympics, any little edge--even if it is just a logo--may make the difference.
"I think it's the most important piece of apparel that a player puts on," said Nicholson.