SBD/July 25, 2011/Franchises

Ready For Takeoff: NHL Jets Unveil New Military-Inspired Logo

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The NHL Jets unveiled their new logo Friday, and a "sky-to-ground perspective of a silhouetted CF-18 Hornet on top of a stylized red maple leaf forms the centre of the team's new mark," according to Tim Campbell of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS. The logo is "encased in a navy-blue and thin-silver ring." The jet "points north and the notch on the inside of the ring signifies the compass that is key" to team owner True North Sports & Entertainment's corporate logo. Jets co-Owner Mark Chipman said that he "became comfortable with the name 'Jets' before the NHL draft when he realized the connection and the look that was possible with the air force roundel." Chipman: "Our desire was to authenticate the name and make it as meaningful as we possibly could." The Jets worked with the Department of National Defence, Lt.-Gen. André Deschamps, the NHL and Reebok on the design. Chipman "singled out the Toronto Maple Leafs for graciously giving permission to use the maple leaf in the new Jets logo." The team also unveiled two secondary logos. One has the "words 'Winnipeg' and 'Jets' in horizontal banners over top of a meshing of captain's wings and crossed hockey sticks." A red maple leaf separates the banners of "Winnipeg" and "Jets." The other logo is "simply a small 'Winnipeg' above a stylized 'Jets' in script, also sporting that red maple leaf." Chipman said that the team's uniforms "would not be revealed until they are produced in September, nor would the franchise have a third jersey in 2011-12, mainly because there was not enough time to design one." The unveiling of the logos had been "quietly scheduled for Monday, but suspected criminal activity on Friday saw some of the team's merchandise containers broken into and, though the quality was poor, a picture of a Jets T-shirt had begun circulating on the Internet" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 7/23). Chipman said, "We had a great deal of security as the boxes (of T-shirts) were unloaded. ... We subsequently discovered that some of the boxes had been opened. We have no idea where it occurred. It didn't occur in our building. We know that" (WINNIPEG SUN, 7/23).

MILITARY SALUTE: Canadian Air Force Maj. Gen. Alain Parent said that in recognition of the military "giving its blessing on the Royal Canadian Air Force-inspired logo, True North Sports and Entertainment committed $1 million over 10 years to military charities, including the Military Family Fund and the Air Force Heritage Fund" (WINNIPEGFREEPRESS.com, 7/23). Winnipeg-based ad firm McKim Cringan George's Peter George said that the logo "works because of its strong connection to the province." George: "The good thing is (True North) has based the logo on something. They've got a story here and they tell it quite well. It's important to have something that resonates and that they didn't just pull it out of thin air. (The air force) is something that does define us (as Manitobans)" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 7/23). In Winnipeg, Bartley Kives wrote the logo "may not have been greeted with universal acclaim, but even fans who aren't enthused by the retro-modernist image ... can agree it presents a serious face on a city that hasn't always [put] its finest visage forward." The logo is "neither a cute critter nor an attempt to repackage the past." The image of the jet is "immediately identifiable, which is important for the sake of merchandising, but it's also sufficiently abstract, which is important for the brand in the long run." The "military provenance of the image ... should not prove problematic, even to ardent pacifists" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 7/24).

MIXED REVIEWS: The GLOBE & MAIL's Adrian Morrow wrote under the header, "Jets Draw Mixed Reaction With New Design." While some fans "lamented the fact that the franchise may not wear its historic jerseys when it takes to the ice this coming season, others hoped the new look would be a symbol of a fresh start unencumbered by the Jets' difficult past" (GLOBE & MAIL, 7/23). The GLOBE & MAIL's James Mirtle wrote the reaction to the new logo has been "mixed online, although some high profile members of the hockey world gave it a thumbs up." The CBC's Elliotte Friedman tweeted, "That Jets logo is very well done. Nice work." But others "criticized the design for being too militaristic." The L.A. Times' Helene Elliott tweeted, "New Jets logo looks like a Canadian military medal" (GLOBEANDMAIL.com, 7/22). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ryan Kennedy said, "I'd put the logo pretty much in the middle of expectations. It's not a home run, but it's not a tragedy, either" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 7/24). The CBC's Don Cherry is giving the logo an "enthusiastic thumbs-up." Cherry: "It's a hell of a lot better than an awful lot (of the logos) in the National Hockey League that I wouldn't wear, for sure. I'd be proud to wear that, and proud to have that on a cap" (WINNIPEG SUN, 7/25). Jets RW Eric Fehr said, "I just think it's a cool design." In Winnipeg, Kirk Penton noted "plenty of Manitobans feel the same way." They "showed up en masse to buy T-shirts and hats, and they were lined up" outside the Jets Gear Store inside MTS Centre on Saturday morning. About 1,200 transactions "had been completed as of noon Saturday, and all 1,900 hats in stock had been sold" (WINNIPEG SUN, 7/24).

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