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Introducing the Niverville Nighthawks

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Nighthawks

Niverville’s new Junior A hockey team officially has a name: the Niverville Nighthawks. The decision comes after an extensive public engagement process that, according to the team, resulted in an outpouring of positive community feedback.

“There’s just something powerful and mysterious about the name Nighthawks,” says Kelvin Cech, the team’s head coach and general manager. “Our name gives me chills when I think about it. It’s unique to the Canadian Junior Hockey League and captures the spirit of rural Manitoba. I love it!”

The team-naming initiative kicked off in mid-November, launching a contest where members of the public were encouraged to submit potential team names.

The team says that, trom the earliest days of the initiative, the Nighthawks was a favourite.

Once the submissions were whittled down to a short list of 12 possibilities, another round of voting took place in December.

The Nighthawks came out on top after both rounds of voting. However, before making their final decision the board carefully considered several important factors—including logo potential, marketability, and branding.

The other names in strong contention were the Clippers, Northstars, Threshers, and Nitro.

“The board was excited by the community response to the naming contest,” says Clarence Braun, spokesperson for the team’s board of directors. “The Nighthawks represents the strong community support we received, and it’s something that the board agrees is new and fresh in Canadian hockey team names.”

The next steps, which are already underway, involve finalizing colour schemes, uniform designs, and of course the team’s logo.

“The board of directors would like to express our appreciation to all those who took part in the team-naming initiative,” Braun adds. “As a board, we feel very fortunate for the amount of positive feedback and encouragement that continues to come in as we get closer to puck drop on our first season.”

First Hire

In other team news, Cech has made his first hire as general manager, bringing aboard Mike McAulay, who will serve as the assistant general manager and director of scouting.

“I’m thrilled to have Mike along for the ride,” says Cech. “We worked closely together at our previous MJHL stop in Winkler, and while the job in Niverville is a bit of a different story, our focus is not.”

McAulay was also the assistant general manager with the Winkler Flyers from 2019–2021, where both he and Cech worked. The Flyers finished third overall in the MJHL in 2020 despite missing the playoffs the season prior.

“We’re looking for character and compete when it comes to finding the right players to come to Niverville,” says McAulay. “We have our work cut out for us, but the more effort and care we take in the process now, the sooner it will pay off for our new organization.”

McAulay, originally from Carman, hails from nearby LaSalle. He knows the local talent pool as well as the potential recruitment landscape across the country and in the northeastern United States.

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