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Our proposed name for Ottawa’s new CFL team

By Laurent Robillard-Cardinal on January 23, 2013

A couple of weeks ago, we heard that the OSEG is contemplating the name Red Blacks for Ottawa’s future CFL team. However, it doesn’t look like residents support the proposition.

A recent Ottawa Citizen Internet survey asked readers if Ottawa Red Blacks is a good name for the city’s new CFL team? An overwhelming majority, 91%, disapproved. Over 3,700 participated in the survey. The Ottawa Sun also solicited its readership to see what they thought of the potential name. Similar results from the Citizen’s questionnaire emerged, with 82% disliking it. Roughly 1,800 surfers voted.

I have my own suggestion for OSEG, that it consider the name Red Pines for their future CFL team. Many great team names in pro sports are historically and culturally rich, like the Montréal Canadiens, Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers and more. Red pines along with white pines were the major export during the Ottawa River timber trade in the 1800’s when it was still called Bytown. Both pines were abundant near the river. Ottawa and Gatineau benefited from the trade attracting numerous workers and settlers.

Considering both sides of the river is important since the future franchise needs to include Quebecers to maximize their pool of fans. In recent years, football has gained quite a bit in popularity in Québec. Besides, the translation works: Les Pins Rouges d’Ottawa.

The name Red Pines also answers Jeff Hunt’s wish for the name to start with an ‘R’ – it’s a question of tradition. With this name the squad could also don red uniforms, a colour used by many former and active Ottawa teams – the Senators, the 67’s, the Renegades and Capital City Football Club.

As for the symbolism of the name, red pines are strong and tall. Because of their deep and widespread roots, they can stand firm against strong winds, representative of an ideal defensive line. Furthermore, they grow and thrive in many types of terrain including, sandy and rocky. This sense of resiliency also translates well to the gridiron.

For those feeling Red Pines isn’t a good name for a football team because trees are immobile, what about J. R. R. Tolkien’s Ents? These large giant trees, from Lord of the Rings, marched to Isengard and successfully destroyed Saruman’s army production facilities during the Last March of the Ents. If that doesn’t have you convinced, Jeff Hunt, then I don’t know what will. 

Let us know what you think of the name Red Pines in our comments section. Got a better name? Let us know!


  • Jerome

    Red Pines is certainly better than Red Blacks (what a cop out, that one), but I fear that it will be made fun of on the Quebec side of the river. I know I would chuckle at the idea (sorry, Laurent).

    Here’s my suggestion.

    In keeping with the tradition of a name beginning with “R”, I suggest we name our team the Ottawa Raftsmen. It can be the same in French (“les raftsmen” is how loggers were called on the Quebec side). It is absolutely steeped in Ottawa history, still touches on our logging history, and is well known in both Quebec and Ontario. There is even a famous local song by that name from decades ago that people still know by heart to this day (you may listen to it here:

    The Ottawa Raftsmen

  • Bryan

    I like Bytown Brigade or Ottawa Lumberjacks (short for could be Ottawa Jacks) not a fan of Red Pines requires too much of an explanation

  • Kaylen

    Ottawa Loggers. Have a big, bearded lumberjack in a red plaid jacket standing in the quarterback stance throwing an axe or a giant log (red pine perhaps?)

  • Ang

    I think we should go with the Ottawa Hellbenders.

  • Jennie

    Lots of great names for a CFL team. I like Ottawa Reds instead of Ottawa Red Blacks. I could go for Ottawa Nighthawks too, but that might sound too much like Basketball. So I am going to share a few names that I think might work. Please note, I do not know if any of these names overlap with any current sports teams.

    Ottawa Bishops, Ottawa Condors, Ottawa Falcons, Ottawa Gannets, Ottawa Nighthawks, Ottawa Swifts, Ottawa Thrashers, Ottawa Barracudas, Ottawa Marlins, Ottawa Javas, Ottawa Buckeyes, Ottawa Victors, Ottawa Dukes, Ottawa Vistas, Ottawa Stewards, Ottawa NewPorts, Ottawa Yorks, and finally the Ottawa Sparks.

  • ac

    Red Pines is original, much better than Red Blacks.

  • David MacLaurin

    Red Black is grade school childish.

    How about The Rider Flash

  • Mark

    How about The Ottawa Royals.

  • guillermo

    the R.I.P.’s!!!!


  • Bill Heslop

    I previously submitted the Ottawa Brigade but it has apparently been caste aside by whomever out there. Here’s a name that encompasses the favoured “R” on our future team’s helmets. How ’bout the OTTAWA ROUGHNECKS? This name gives a clear message that our guys come to play and can get quite rough if they have to. And besides, we can still call’em the “Roughies” or “Ruffies” whichever you prefer. Now go stick this one up your nose you nondescript SASKABUSH ROUGHRIDERS you!

    Bill Heslop 161 Granite Court
    Kanata, ON
    K2M 0A3 Tel: 613 435-0797

  • mark

    i think all suggestions so far are very ill thought.something reflecting our forestry past which built this entire region would be more suited.i first thought of the Barons(as in lumber barons)but then thought of merchandising appeal.The Ottawa Lumber Kings.think of all the paraphanalia.the resurgancs of the lumber jacket,foam axes toy chainsaws.probably too late but by far a marketing bonanza.m&m

  • Ottawa Lumber Kings M&M

  • Laurent Robillard-Cardinal

    Lumber Kings is already used by the Jr ‘A’ hockey team the Pembroke Lumber Kings. Ottawa Raftsmen is a good suggestion!

  • MG Murphy

    Ottawa Timbers

  • Jerry

    How about The Ottawa River Runners.

  • Gord McNulty

    Red Pines is better than Red Blacks (as almost anything would be!) but it’s not great. I prefer the Capitals, Royals, Dukes, Federals, Loggers, Victors, Vulcans, maybe even the Timbers or the Vistas. I didn’t like the Rush at first but it at least has a ring to it and relates to football. The Brigade also works. Raftsmen is better than Red Blacks too, but it doesn’t pronounce smoothly.

    It’s sad that all of the suggested leading names, Red Blacks is the poorest I’ve heard. At least reduce it to the Reds if that’s the chosen name.

  • Fraser

    This is Winnipeg calling.
    Red Blacks ain’t so bad, Come on, Red Pines… Keeping the “R” I think helps you guys keep the heritage of the past. Red Blacks isn’t bad, it’s an old timey name, sounds like they’ve been around along time. Give it a chance.
    Rivermen isn’t to bad. Rush, sounds like somthing someone out of the 80’s would come up with.
    Just Reds would work.

  • Blane Goldenstein

    If the team name is dependent on using an “R” on the helmet then let’s cut the crap and force through the Rough Riders name.

  • How about OTTAWA RAIDERS!

    The Oakland Raiders are known as a hard hitting no bs type of franchise. OTTAWA RAIDERS should be also.

  • Doug Goodwin

    Simply…..Ottawa river.

  • J.J

    Try the Ottawa Otters, or the Ottawa Octapus, or even the Ottawa OWLS…..

  • Tyler

    What about Ottawa Red Riders? keeps the colour in the name amd inclides rough rider

  • Bruno

    Rebels, Rovers, Ramblers, Roamers, Red Coats, Regiment