The new name will also come with a logo rebrand to be unveiled at end of the summer.

After years of being known as Gravenhurst’s South Muskoka Shield Junior Hockey Team, the new management decided it was time for a change, rebranding and renaming the club as the Muskoka Shield. According to Troy Kahler, president, and general manager of the team, the change was necessary in order to reflect the true spirit of the Muskoka region and Muskoka hockey.

“The Shield are ‘Muskoka’s Hockey Team,’ and that must include Huntsville, Muskoka Lakes, Port Carling, Bala, Lake of Bays, Georgian Bay, Torrance, Rosseau, the District of Parry Sound, as well as Bracebridge and Gravenhurst,” said Kahler.

“It is inclusivity with a facelift,” Kahler continued, referring to the rename and rebrand of the logo, which the Shield will unveil at the end of summer. 

Kahler also announced that his hockey development company, Academy of Hockey Canada, would be partnering with the Shield and integrating an additional 88 hours of on-ice skill development (power skating level I, II, and III) and 126 hours of off-ice training (strength and conditioning, spinning, yoga and mindset coaching) in the hockey program in order to help develop local talent.

Kahler and his fiancée, Erika Rendon-Kahler, purchased the team last season. Immediately, Rendon-Kahler said, she noticed the first obvious missing piece — the roster had no local-born players.

As part of his partnership, Kahler has mandated that five Muskoka-born players be on the team’s roster for the 2022-23 season, and every season moving forward.

“This is a great opportunity for young hockey players in Muskoka to get high-level development, get noticed, and have a chance to play at a higher level,” said Rendon-Kahler. “Troy has 25-plus years of elite hockey development experience, he loves the game and both of us are passionate about making a difference in the community.”

The Shield are scheduled to begin summer development prospect skates for Muskoka players ages 16 to 21 on July 28 and on Aug. 4, 11, and 18 at the Graeme Murray Arena in the Gravenhurst Centennial Centre from 8 to 10 p.m. The cost to participate is $20.

The Shield will open up their season to the community with their inaugural ‘Hockey Day in Muskoka’ on Sept. 10 with events including a tailgate launch, a skills competition, a charity game between Toronto Maple Leaf’s alumni and the Movember Mavericks, a postgame party and more.