RIP Impact de Montréal - We'll Miss the Best Logo In North America
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
As a Franco-American in New England who loves his Québec roots it has long bothered me that the greatest French-Canadian team in the universe is my team’s rival. I hear my fellow Bruins fans compare the Montréal Canadiens to the New York Yankees and I have to laugh. I just don’t see it that way, bitter rival sure, but the Yankees? Come on now. The Habs last won the Cup in 1993, the Yankees can win at will. Only a matter of time.
I digress. Due to this bitter rivalry, I can’t cheer for the Habs, but I won’t overtly hate them either. After all, many of the historic players on the team are probably related to me somehow. Can you hate yourself?
The Alouettes, Expos (RIP), and the Impact are all MTL teams I can openly pull for and not receive the intense scorn of Boston sports fans, particularly the Expos, people love them here.
Of all the teams, in my second favorite city that I pull for on some level, the Impact far and away has my favorite logo....well had.
The Impact recently went through a pretty dramatic rebranding. Their new name is now Club de Foot Montréal and their logo is a stylized snowflake using Ms for Montréal, arrows from the Montréal Metro signs, and a couple of small fleur-de-lis.
The reaction to this change has been pretty intense. People are super angry about it. I mean, I get it you have a team for about 30 years with a certain identity and poof it's changed and you're left with a snowflake and a name that doesn’t really work in English.
The drive to change the name and logo seems to to come from a place of forward-thinking. In the virtual press conference announcing the changes, team owner Joey Saputo said, “To make an impact, we need to retire the Impact.”
The name “Impact” was originally intended (picked in 1992) to show that the team would make an impact on soccer in the province of Québec. The ownership group feels they have done that and it’s hard to argue they are wrong. What about the name Club de Foot Montréal? I mean I can get what they are trying to do, but this is super unique for North America.
Stade Staputo home of CF Montréal
Team President and CEO Kevin Gilmore had this to say:
“We live in a city that is primarily French.” “We live in a province that is primarily French. The name is not francicized. It’s the name of our club. It can also be called CF Montréal. The name of my former club is Le Club de Hockey Canadiens de Montréal. People anglicize it all the time. We refer to it as the Montreal Canadiens. So our name is Le Club de Foot Montréal (CF Montréal) and we anticipated that it will be referred to by anglophones as CFM (or) CF Montréal and there’s nothing wrong with that. It acknowledges that we are in a primarily French-speaking city in a French-speaking province.”
Fair statement. Their goal with the name is to further connect the team to Québec’s frenchness. I can’t say I have ever heard any of my Québécois soccer friends refer to the sport as “foot”, but this could be an attempt to be unique and appeal to francophone fans internationally.
I’ve read up on when the Expos name, logo, and uniforms were introduced. There was similar backlash and outrage in what some in Québec call the “Anglo World.” Those initial reactions and insults have faded over time. The Expos strange uniforms are now beloved.
However, this new logo feels like the opposite of trying to connect to the province’s French language and culture, but more about connecting to Montréal. What I liked most about the Impact’s logo was its giant fleur-de-lis as the focal point of the logo. No other major team in MTL has that. Taking that away and replacing it with two tiny fleur-de-lis on the snowflake almost negates the purpose of the name change.
MTL now has a team with a super French name and a logo that looks like the Galactic Empire in snowflake form.
Logo of the Galactic Empire from Star Wars
Head coach/soccer legend, Thierry Henry, saw some of the same logo backlash when he played for Arsenal in the British Premiere League.
“People may have some difficulty understanding it, but that doesn’t change where the club wants to go from what we were. I was at Arsenal when we changed the crest and a lot of people were upset. Now, nobody talks about the crest anymore. It’s just normal.”
Handled like a true pro. This backlash will certainly fade over time, but I won’t lie to you I’ll miss that logo! Droit devant.