The Wildcats suffix, introduced when Wakefield Trinity joined Super League in 1999, will be dropped from the end of this season, chairman Michael Carter has confirmed.
The team played as Wakefield Trinity in their Dacia Magic Weekend win over Catalans Dragons two days ago. Carter said: “It isn’t finalised yet, but I think from next year we will just be Wakefield Trinity.”
Explaining the change, Carter said: “We have got a fantastic heritage within this club and I don’t think we have made the most of it. In the 1960s we were a fantastic club, winning Championships and Challenge Cups. We have the world record points scorer associated with Wakefield Trinity and I don’t care who comes along, they will never beat Neil Fox’s record.
“So for me, it is Wakefield Trinity. I have always referred to it as Wakefield Trinity and I think the older generation of our fanbase love the fact it’s Wakefield Trinity. Go anywhere in the world and it’s either ‘where’s that’? Or, ‘oh yes, Wakefield Trinity’.”
The club have not carried out market research, but Carter said: “It’s a bit of a gut feeling. I get fans saying to me ‘we need to drop the Wildcats’. I think that’s generally the reaction we’ve had when we’ve been talking to people. I just think if you are talking about Wakefield as a rugby league club it will be forever known as Wakefield Trinity and we need to get back to that.”
Carter is confident the change will not deter the club’s younger supporters, who have only known the Wildcats name.
He added: “The plan is we will have a Wildcats junior section, so there’s still something for the kids. They love [mascot] Daddy Cool and we definitely won’t be losing him! He is a fantastic character and we will probably still have a Wildcats brand and image for the younger kids, but for the grown ups among us, it will be back to Wakefield Trinity.”
The team will be known as Wakefield Trinity Wildcats for Friday’s trip to Salford Red Devils, but there is a possibility the traditional name could be used for the final third of the season.
Sunday’s win left Wakefield sixth in First Utility Super League and Carter is confident about the future.
He said: “I think in the next couple of weeks we will probably have another couple signed up for next year, which will take us to 25 or 26 players for 2017 already.
“We are probably only looking at two or maybe three more new faces during the off-season, which is a massive change from where we’ve been over the past two years.”