Goodbye stylized hockey stick. The Winnipeg Jets have adopted a decidedly military look for their new logo.
The team unveiled a design Friday that shows a sleek fighter jet pointing north over a red Maple Leaf, all inside a navy blue and grey circle.
The logo is strinkingly similar to – and based on – that of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“Our desire was to authenticate the name and make it as meaningful as we possibly could,” Jets co-owner Mark Chipman.
“In my view, the best way to do that was to draw a connection to the rich history that our city has enjoyed with the air force, particularly with 17 Wing,” he added, referring to the military base near Winnipeg’s airport.
The team also unveiled secondary logos. One features military-style wings over two hockey sticks and a maple leaf, with the team name around it. The other has the team name in large stylized letters with a red maple leaf.
Reaction among fans was mixed.
“I know it’s not the same (as the old Jets logo), but it’s pretty sweet,” one person wrote on Twitter.
“I don’t really like the new Winnipeg Jets logo,” wrote another. “Too military and CF-18s will soon be obsolete anyway.”
The team will unveil its jerseys in September, but started selling some T-shirts, ball caps and other merchandise immediately. Chipman said the jersey colours will be the same as those contained in the logo – blue, white and grey with a red maple leaf.
Fans were lined up around the block outside MTS Centre on Friday evening, waiting patiently to snap up some memorabilia.
The unveiling marked the end of a long guessing game for fans of the team formerly called the Atlanta Thrashers.
The franchise confirmed at last month’s NHL draft that it would be using the Jets nickname. But the team did not reveal the logo, giving top draft pick Mark Scheifele of the Barrie Colts a generic NHL jersey.
The original Jets franchise moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes after the 1996 season.
In the 1990’s, the Jets had a logo with a stylized hockey stick as the “J” in Jets with a small plane to the side of the team name. There were two other looks prior to that, going back to the team’s days in the World Hockey Association.
That’s why Chipman feels comfortable with changing the look once again.
“Unlike the Habs or the Red Wings or the Blackhawks, we didn’t have just one logo that may have been more logical to go back to,” he said.
“We thought we had the freedom to try something new… but also to make it very meaningful to the community.”