Nearly one month after True North chairman Mark Chipman announced that the name of Winnipeg’s new NHL team would be the Winnipeg Jets, the ownership group released the team’s new logos — created in cooperation with the Department of National Defense — on July 22nd.
The logo is essentially the Royal Canadian Air Force roundel, with a silver/grey C-18 fighter jet centered within the red white and blue military logo.
Chipman explained the concept between the rebranding on the day of the unveiling: “We felt it was important to authenticate the name Jets and we believe the new logo does that through its connection to our country’s remarkable Air Force heritage, including the rich history and relationship that our city and province have enjoyed with the Canadian Forces.”
Given the overwhelming passion that Winnipeggers exhibited in support of naming the new team the Winnipeg Jets (despite no connections between the current Jets and the original WHA/NHL franchise) it’s not surprising that many fans are also loyal to Jets logos from the past. While True North chose to preserve the name, creating a new logo became a business necessity for not only TNSE, but the NHL and Reebok as well.
And while thousands of fans loved the new logo, with (TNSE announced over $200,000 worth of new Jets merchandise was sold over the first weekend it was available), many fans have been very vocal with their displeasure.
One of the major sticking points for some fans is the military connection. In an article published by the Winnipeg Review, Weakerthans frontman John K. Samson argued that the True North had done away with the cherished Jets logo he grew up drawing as a child, and replaced it with a “recruiting device for a specific branch of the Canadian military.”
“The new logo is considerably less subtle and less interesting.” Samson states, comparing the 70s Jets logo with True North’s redesign, “Inspired by a CF-18 fighter jet, it attempts to tie our professional hockey team directly to the Canadian Forces base here in Winnipeg, a link that was invented in the boardroom of the new team owners, True North Sports and Entertainment.”
While you have to respect Samson’s opinion on the logo itself, it is false to suggest True North hastily invented a link between themselves and the military.
As the owners of the AHL Manitoba Moose, True North built a strong relationship with the Canadian military, unveiling military camouflage-style jerseys and hosting six military appreciation nights. Within their new partnership with the Department of National Defense, TNSE has also agreed to donate $1 million over the next 10 years to military charities such as the Military Families Fund.
What Samson and others just need to keep in mind is that until the new team hit the ice, the new logo is at a huge disadvantage in the hearts and minds of fans. We love the old Jets logos because of the players and memories they’ve come to represent. Just as kids from my era became passionate about the Selanne-era Jets logo, young Winnipeggers growing up now will draw the new Jets logo, and the Winnipeg Jets will continue to be cherished by a new generation of hockey fans.