While the Collingwood Admirals Junior 'B' hockey team hasn’t been on the ice yet, a version of the logo designed for the team years ago is showing up on jerseys during Ontario Junior Hockey League games.
The Brampton Admirals are a Junior ‘A’ hockey team, formerly known as the Orangeville Flyers. The team president, David Arsenault announced in June 2018 he was moving the team to Brampton under the name Brampton Admirals.
At that time, the team started using a logo very close to the Collingwood Admirals logo, with a few colour changes.
Terry Geddes has been part of the team behind bringing a junior hockey team to Collingwood under the name Collingwood Admirals. In 2015, the group pitched a Junior ‘C’ hockey team, and at that time, according to Geddes, they worked on a logo with Liam Willis and Paul Ainsworth. The logo is also part of their pitch currently before Collingwood council for a Junior 'B' team.
After a few iterations, the final project was a circle-shaped logo with an admiral in a marine military uniform, a handlebar moustache, and holding a hockey stick. The colours in the logo were royal blue, gold, and bright red.
The Collingwood Admirals purchased the logo, according to Geddes, and therefore own the rights to it.
The Brampton Admirals logo is also a circle with the same image of an admiral carrying a hockey stick. The colours in the Brampton logo are black, gold, and maroon.
According to Geddes, someone brought the Brampton logo to his attention at the beginning of February.
“Of course it was ours verbatim,” said Geddes. “They just changed the name from Collingwood to Brampton.”
Geddes said he reached out to Arsenault and had a conversation about the logo. He said, in the end, he agreed to let Brampton continue to use the logo.
“It’s a great form of flattery for us,” said Geddes, adding the Brampton Admirals have “strongly” supported the Collingwood Admirals franchise bid in the Junior ‘B’ hockey league. “We’re not in any way upset by it. If anything, we’re flattered.”
A statement posted to the Brampton Admirals website and signed by David Arsenault, the team’s president and owner, said his team wished to “deny rumours the new Collingwood Admirals Junior ‘B’ team has unlawfully used our Admirals logo.”
The statement further suggests though the two logos “bear very close resemblance” both teams will “continue to brand themselves in their perspective leagues using these logos with unique colour change and slight difference in the design.”
Arsenault’s statement said the clubs feel the use of “similar logos” in two different leagues will only strengthen the Admirals name and brand in Ontario junior hockey.
David Arsenault did not respond to three requests for comment.
Geddes said the logo-sharing is an example of a partnership.
“It’s a very positive story of one hockey organization working with another hockey organization to do what’s in the interest of the community,” said Geddes.
Paul Ainsworth, part of the logo design team, said he found out about the Brampton team using the logo from Geddes, but said the Collingwood Admirals team had authority over the logo usage.
“Terry [Geddes] and I had a great conversation about it all and we don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, nor do we bear any ill will,” said Ainsworth. “We just wanted that conversation and apparently it went well for both parties.”
Liam Willis was also part of the design team, and only found out about the Brampton Admirals logo on Tuesday this week.
“I don’t like it at all, to be honest,” he said. “I feel blindsided.”
Willis said Ainsworth illustrated the logo and Willis helped come up with the concepts included in it.
“It is the exact logo,” said Willis, suggesting the conversation between Collingwood and Brampton’s management is a case of “retroactive permission.”
Willis did not agree with what he felt were “bad representations” of what happened as outlined by the statement posted on the Brampton Admirals website.
In the end, though, Willis said it was not knowing about it that bothered him most.
“I’m glad it is being used … I kind of hoped that would be part of the identity of the Collingwood team," he said.
The Collingwood Admirals currently have an application before council to ice a Junior ‘B’ team in the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena next season. They are competing with a bid from the Collingwood Colts, who are proposing a Tier II Junior 'A' team also at the Eddie Bush.