Possible name change for Montreal Impact gets mixed reaction from fans -- and the PQ

Montreal soccer fans didn't all take the news well on Wednesday when they heard they may need to change the name they've been cheering for years.

The Montreal Impact are looking at switching their name to Montreal FC, according to a report from Radio-Canada.

"I like the team," one fan, named Jordan, told CTV News later in the day.

"But... I think they should keep the name how it is. I like the name already."

In a statement, the team only said that "the club is not commenting [on] this rumour."

But there seems to be some smoke around the reported fire. Retailers that sell sports apparel say they have yet to receive the jersey samples they normally would have expected by now. 

They say they were told that the team is updating its designs.

The pandemic has led to a very quiet stadium this year. Just three games have been played in front of spectators since February.

But it's also been a year of changes as the team's new president, Kevin Gilmore, has pushed for modernization. He has said before that the Impact should behave like the big-market soccer clubs -- the type of clubs that often have much simpler names.

One former Impact player, Lloyd Barker, said he's sad at the prospect of losing the name, but he says it isn't too unusual to switch things up.

"The league rebranded a number of times when we played, prior to major league soccer, where I played in the same league and it was called three different things over the course of my time with the club," Barker recalled.

"Rebranding is not unheard of and in this day and age it's probably expected, especially in an evolving league like major league soccer."

But it isn't only people in the soccer world who wanted to weigh in. The Parti Québécois said that changing the name wouldn't sit well with them, as "Football Club" or FC isn't bilingual, while "Impact" is.

"We should keep the name -- there's no problem with the name," MNA Pascal Bérubé said.

But, still a loyal fan, he said he mostly hopes that next year "is going to be better" for the club, "and I wish Thierry Henri remains as head coach." 

Some fans concurred, saying that what really matters to them is the quality of play.

"Look, as long as the team gets results and the team does well, whatever the name may be... if they win I'll be happy with that," said Carmelo Sansalone of Evangelista Sports.

The team's next game is scheduled for Dec. 15, in Florida.

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