VANCOUVER, BC – There are 51 days to go until the Toronto Metropolitan University sports teams kick off 2022-23 with the women’s soccer team hosting the uOttawa Gee-Gees.
At this point, there’s no name for the sports teams formerly known as the Ryerson Rams. However, the school announced a shortlist of team names and mascots and has asked for public feedback after hearing from the public to establish the initial shortlist.
The potential names are: The Bold/TMU Bold, The Meteors/TMU Meteors/Met Meteors, and The Towers/TMU Towers/Metropolitan Towers.
The potential mascots are: A bee, a moose, a caribou, a meteor, a tower and a squirrel. Yes, a squirrel.
While the initial online reaction is generally adverse surrounding the potential new names and mascots, the school is taking feedback on the ideas. So, for now, let’s take a look at which names and mascots may best fit TMU.
TMU Bold – The best of the bunch
TMU’s news release says “The Bold” name comes from “Every legacy begins with a bold decision to start something novel, meaningful and lasting,” while also saying the name is bold and unique.
Firstly, copying the name of a defunct professional soccer team is not exactly unique, but I don’t think the USL’s Austin Bold crossed the mind of those who have suggested the name. However, this could be the best option for the athletics program.
The Bold stands out from any other U SPORTS team name among the 56 schools and offers much flexibility regarding interpretation. Several sports teams have adopted non-“s” (Rams, Blues, Senators, etc.) names over the last several decades, but outside of the Acadia Axemen, Canadian university sport has largely stayed away from the trend.
Bold is different, albeit used before, and could help create an identity for Toronto Metropolitian, which lacks much originality in the institution’s new name. While it isn’t a fantastic name, it veers towards the stronger side and is certainly better than The Meteors and The Towers.
As for a mascot, none of the suggestions really make sense, other than a squirrel which would be a BOLD choice.
The Towers – Ok, it’s not brutal
If you’re looking for an identifying factor of Toronto, look no further than the CN Tower, a structure notably not on TMU’s campus. The school described the word “tower” as more of a verb, looking over other schools and teams, but the general conception would be towards the CN Tower.
While TMU sits among the towers of downtown Toronto, the name lacks anything special and is a tough one for a student community to rally behind. Additionally, the school would unlikely be able to use a CN Tower-style mascot, as the CN Tower already has one of those. TMU avoided any mention of “CN Tower” in the press release.
The TMU Towers makes sense but is too plain for my liking.
The Meteors – uh.
Ah yes, the famous meteors of Toronto. Unless we’re talking about light fixtures occasionally falling down at Yonge and Dundas Square, I am not sure precisely what a meteor has to do with athletics, downtown Toronto, or really anything in this circumstance.
The school mentions “crashing down with authority” in its description, for which my first thought was “crashing seems bad.”
Additionally, the release mentions that meteors are similar to shooting stars, which happens to be the name of a new Canadian Elite Basketball League franchise in Scarborough, Ont. which evidently is the professional home of TMU basketball’s Aaron Rhooms.
While The Meteors would fit a simple mascot plan and avoid the squirrel debacle, it would not represent any aspect of the school.
The Mascot question
If the name is Meteors or Towers, the mascot will coincide, yet if Bold gets the nod, look to a bee, moose, caribou or squirrel.
Very few of these mascots are fantastic, groundbreaking ideas and none make as much sense as a Ram did for a team called the Rams. However, the squirrel may be the best option. As an example, the closest I could find is Nutzy, the Flying Squirrel of minor league baseball’s Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Too often in Canadian university sports, programs play it safe, fail to push boundaries, and fail to create a unique atmosphere, identity or reason for students to attend games. If there is a massive plush squirrel walking around, there would be a unique aspect at TMU games.
That said, an even better addition might be a raccoon if you want to stay local and go for the uniqueness (boldness) of municipal animals.
As for Canadian heritage animals such as a moose or caribou, look just a few blocks north to find a beaver as “True Blue” for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. Downtown Toronto doesn’t need two Canadiana mascots in the same city.
For a bee, while the alliteration with “Bold” is intriguing, it’s too common an animal to create any excitement and won’t create much of an identity.
A new athletics team name is a critical chance for a school to reinvent an identity and kickstart a culture restart in terms of athletic support. While several teams have undergone tweaks over the last several years, such as UNB from Varsity Reds to REDS, the chances to reinvent and establish a new passion have been few and far between.
No new name will ever be perfect, and university sports are the hallmark of bland names, but TMU has a chance to establish a unique identity and invigorate a potential fanbase at a school with over 40,000 students.