36 Comments

  1. Vincent Lee
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Purchasing the shirt of a player who repeatedly disrespects the game of hockey and its fans is a much bigger joke than any “questionable” logo.

  2. Ryan
    Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    The little nod to the ownership group on the logo makes me cringe as well, because:
    A) It needlessly complicates further an already overly-busy design
    B) Shouldn’t the team define what “True North” is about. Don’t they get that they’re just a bunch of faceless people who sign and cash cheques? I think Winnipeg needs to get over the notion that Chipman and Thompson are doing us a favour. They saw a market to make money in, fine with me, but let’s not act like they’re Robin Hood.

  3. Brian, St Norberter
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    There is one glaring flaw in this argument that everyone keeps trotting out:
    Unless you refused to support the Jets in 1972-73 or after the NHL logo redesign, then your argument is completely false.

    The first logo, the one with the hockey player, has a small jet in the top of the logo, that aircraft outline resembles one of two planes. It could be a lear jet, but more closely resembles a CF-101 voodoo military aircraft.

    The aircraft on the second logo resembles a dc-9 or a 727, albeit both without engines. Both are commercial passenger aircraft.

    The third logo (NHL redesign) is interesting. It most closely resembles an Avro Vulcan British nuclear attack bomber if you view it from above. If you suggest that it is a side view, then it most closely resembles either a Soviet MiG 23 or a US Air force X-plane ( the dorsal fin is quite rare)

    So, if you ( and anyone else who spouts this argument) can’t honestly say that you didn’t support the Jets after they redesigned their NHL logo or the first year in the WHA, because the plane on the logo looked ‘military’, then your argument is full of shit.

  4. Ken, Brainstrained
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    While Samson is casting stones, he should not forget that the Toronto Maple Leafs have been promoting militarism for about 80 years.

    Conn Smythe named the team after the Maple Leaf Regiment in WWI, and his son said he styled the team’s Leaf design after the Leaf design on Canadian uniforms in that war.

    So evidently hockey and militarism have some history.

  5. Ray
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    A decently reasoned and executed article, but I don’t know if your argument will stand the test of time. How many of you are aware that the new Jets logo is the SECOND NHL logo based on a military insignia?

    the Chicago Blackhawks logo was originally a military logo.It’s been updated a bit over the years, but the “Indian Head” logo was taken from a division of the American armed forces. Fredric McLaughlin was the team’s first owner. He was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Battalion of the 86th Infantry Division during World War I. This Division was nicknamed the “Blackhawk Division”, after the Sauk nation’s Chief Black Hawk, who was a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. A portrait from the side of Chief Black Hawk (though not quite the same as what we see now) was used as the division logo, and adapted into the NHL logo. I understand both sides of this argument, but the fact that the Blackhawk’s military origins have been almost lost to history and are only known to hockey history geeks like myself may serve as evidence that Samson’s argument may not hold up to the test of time.

  6. Posted August 3, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Your piece is well written and and thoughtful. However, I can’t help but think it’s much to do about nothing.

    It’s kind of like saying the Detroit Red Wings are shilling for the auto industry or that the Chicago Blackhawks are glorifying the Mohawk Warrior Society. It’s a reach.

    Sometimes a Jet is just a Jet, and the logo draws more parallels with the 40′s RCAF than the current Canadian Air Command.

    But I guess if you can draw a romanticized view of world exploration from the 70′s Jets logo, anything is possible.

  7. Posted August 3, 2011 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    I am worried that our new logo implies that, like the military, we support head shots.

  8. A Jets fan
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    I could understand this better if a politician’s face (that was FOR unethical wars) was on the logo.

    In the event that Canada was attacked, would you be in favour of military action?

    I am as anti-establishment as the next guy, but I can’t get my head around your stance.

    Is this merchandise boycott the extent of your stance?

    Respectfully,

    A Jets Fan

    • Hockey Editor
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      @A Jets fan: Ketchup and motor oil both have their uses, but the two don’t go together palatably. I accept that a nation needs an armed force to stand ready in the event of a hreat, but a lot of what is going on today reminds me of the Soviet Union in the ’70s, when the leaders dressed in military garb (granted, Brezhnev never rocked a codpiece the way George “Mission Accomplished” Bush did) and every national holiday was marked by parades featuring tanks and the latest “state-of-the-art” anti-aircraft (and anti-capitalist) weaponry. Now you’ve got the Brampton Battalion with their Sgt. Fury cartoon-character crest and the players skating through an inflatable tank; you’ve got players being described as “warriors”; you’ve got Nike producing a line of football uniforms called Pro Combat; you’ve got Don Cherry fetishizing the “troops”; you’ve got a litany of first-person-shooter videogames. I think if any of our so-called leaders and opinion-makers had actually had to fight in a war, they’d be a bit less enthusiastic to soften up the youth for an Orwellian state of perpetual war.

      • Ray
        Posted August 3, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        Two of the oldest teams in the NHL are the Chicago Blackhawks and the Toronto Maple Leafs – both were directly named after miitary division/regiments. Ties between hockey and the North American military are almost as old as professional hockey itself, and I have never heard anyone complain about the militaristic implications of the Maple Leafs or Blackhawks.

        Also, you may want to boycott buying any Toronto Maple Leafs merchandise as well since Conn Smythe named the team after the Maple Leaf Regiment with which he served in WWI. (It’s a fact, and it’s why the name of the team is grammatically improper) There are teams in the league with stronger historical ties to the military than the Jets. This is not anything new.

  9. Caithness
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    I was in Montréal when the team presented the logo and I have to say that to me its ugly and too militaristic. I have to say a better logo could have been found. My other concern is that when this young and up and coming team sustains injuries and starts losing games the logo will be the butt of a lot of jokes and ridicule.

  10. Dave
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know why people think it’s a fighter jet. I don’t see any weapons on it at all. Sure it’s a jet and looks like a CF-18. But does it say anywhere that it is a CF-18? Our team is called the Jets and they put a Jet on the logo. But I see no weapons. To me it’s just as likely a lover jet as it is a fighter jet.

  11. Donovan
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    This other blog, while also full of ridiculous bleeding heart “Awww my hockey team! you jerks!” mentality, at least has some actual facts within it. http://mybananapeel.blogspot.com/2011/07/winnipeg-jets-logo-and-militarism.html

    Anyone who cannot get over the fact that there is a Jet on our logo, a logo used by a proud team of Canadians who in 1948 won an Olympic gold medal in spite of incredible odds. A team that was inducted into the Hockey hall of fame in 2008.

    Next time, READ instead of IMAGINING.

  12. Expat in NZ
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    I find your article well written, but disagree with some of your reasoning.

    Looking at the Jets’ logo in a vacuum, I can understand that one could see it as being pro military. However, as has already been pointed out what agenda do the Devils have?
    Can an environmentally conscious person support the oilers?
    Does New York have a larger number of their youths than elsewhere with life goals of becoming park rangers, mounted infantry, commandos, or fans or Aragorn?
    Or to stay Winnipeg focused. Did the old 747 logo make a whole generation of kids run out with the dream of being a commercial pilot?
    Maybe…

    I take the team name and logo for pretty much exactly as it was pitched to me, TN named the team what the loudest (largest demographic?) wanted. But they wanted some better link the city. Something better than Benny thought the NY Jets had a nice sounding name so let’s use that. So they looked at the history of Winnipeg and associations with Jets and quickly found their link. I don’t think True North sports has any kind of agenda to turn Winnipeg kids into fighter pilots.

    As an aside, Love your music, you should come and do a New Zealand Tour.

  13. Dave
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, there is the Brampton Battalion in the OHL for a team with a similarly military look: http://www.canuckz.com/wp-content/uploads/Hodgson_Brampton.jpg

    Of course, I never really liked their uniforms either…

  14. Rick
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Get over yourself. And as for the those upset with the “military charity”, those people are fighting, and suffering and, yes, dying so you have the right to be so miserable. It’s a jersey. For a hockey team. That 99 percent of Winnipeg is very happy about and could care less what you think.

    And Ms. Andy Gish: Welcome. It really is a very nice city.

    • Hockey Editor
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Geez, I thought members of the Canadian forces were dying in Afghanistan so that girls could go to school and so that they could choose someone to govern them with 39 percent of the popular vote. Oh, and of course to “defend Canada’s national interests,” which means currying favour with the United States.

    • Jean
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      Rick, you sound so American, like that blonde on The View who says “troops are dying so you can complain” every time she doesn’t like someone’s opinion. There’s a suggestion in that statement that people don’t /actually/ have a right to their opinion, if their opinion isn’t one that involves rabid flag-waving. There’s also an assumption that all soldiers who fight and sacrifice hold the same views.

      A person can respect and appreciate the military and feel gratitude for the courage and sacrifice of individuals in the military and still not like a militaristic logo. A person can also support the Jets and appreciate TN without liking the logo.

      It is militaristic. I went by a building displaying it and thought at first it was a Legion or Air Cadet site.

  15. tom jay
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, it’s both tragic and perverse. If memory serves, the Jets name was inspired by Bobby Hull, the Golden Jet, who signed with Winnipeg in 1972 when the WHA was born. To see that proud name now reduced to a cheap and ugly military fighter plane is depressing.

    • Ken, Brainstrained
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      Memory serves you wrong.
      The NHL Jets were names after the WHA Jets, who were named after the WCHL Winnipeg Jets.
      About 1967 Benny Hatskin bought a junior franchise in the WCHL and for reasons I can’t recall named it the Winnipeg Jets. About four years later he bought into the WHA and used the same name and, for the first year, the same logo.
      He decided to go after Bobby Hull because he wanted the Golden Jet on the Jets, and he persuaded all the other WHA owners to help pay for Hull because of the instant credibility he brought to the league.
      Here ended the history lesson.

  16. Cort McMurray
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

    Exquisitely reasoned. Brilliantly written. From one goalie-obsessed child (I drew Gerry Desjardins HUNDREDS of times) to another, well done.

    Perhaps the less militarized fans need to come up with an alternative nickname for the club. There’s an ongoing effort to protect the Chimney Swift, a bird native to Manitoba. Maybe the Swifts?

  17. beer
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Same reason I’m no supporter of the Ottawa Senators, as it conflicts with my views on our unelected Senate. Or the Edmonton Oilers, as it might imply I support the raping of our natural resources. Or the LA Kings, since that would mean acceptance of monarchist rule. Or the Carolina Hurricanes, as it would be insensitive to those who have suffered at the hands of natural disaster. Or the Anaheim Ducks. Nothing against water foul, just ugly f*%kin’ sweaters.

  18. Brainstrained
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Does wearing an Edmonton Oiler jersey mean one supports the oil industry and/or tar sands development?
    Does wearing a Black Hawks jersey mean one doesn’t care about First Nations?
    Does wearing a NJ Devils jersey mean one worships Satan?
    Does wearing a St. Louis Blues jersey mean one like blues over any other music?
    To me a team logo is just a team logo.
    But if you want to read political/social/personal commentary into whatever team logo people want to wear, you’re going to need a very big brush.

  19. Posted August 2, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    What a strange and humorous coincidence that I have lost my hockey team to Winnipeg. While all my Atlanta friends are angry, there is a part of me that is happy that I have yet another reason to visit Winnipeg in winter.

    I tried to encourage all my bitter friends to donate their thrashers jerseys to me so I could send them north. They said a Winnipeger would never wear a thrasher’s shirt. Ah! Not true I see. I want a photo of you wearing a Thrashers shirt, it is an ugly bird, but it’s my bird.

    Ms. Andy Gish
    Atlanta, GA

  20. Scott
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    You sir are no better then rhose who never thought we would ever get another chance to have a team. Your commercialism argument is a far cry since the boeing 747 truly is a commercial enterprise for almost all aviation companies. The military is a public institution on the other hand. Second, all political parties have been in power over the uears and not just the conservatives. Also, understand this is the canadian forces, not the us. We dont invade the world but will step up in un resolutions. You, on the other hand would prefer to celebrate the americanization of a canadian game by buying a thrashers uniform? Nice, really, way to go

  21. Ian Matte
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Good for you John, stand up for your beliefs. I once boycotted Smarties because they included blue ones, which was never part of the original Smartie brand.
    One hundred and fifty seven Canadians died in Afghanistan, if this is the way T.N. chooses to honour these men and women, good on them. When I see a military recruitment poster using a new Jets logo then maybe I will buy into this misplaced pacifist delusion. By the way we went to Afghanistan to establish order out of a xenophobic & misogynist dictatorship. These were military men and women, not placard carrying, yet coddled western style neo-hippies, that were especially protecting the rights of women in a foreign land. 17 Wing has been a very large part of the fabric of Winnipeg, I dare say no one who grew up west of Polo Park wasn’t touched in someway by the military. Childhood friends, neighbours, who came into our lives for a year or two, families spending money in the community, hockey, baseball or soccer coaches. Add in Kapyong and I bet the percentage grows to more than 70% of Winnipegers affected by the military presence. BTW, why do those making your argument fail to mention the million dollar donation TNSE is making to military family charities? I guess dead soldiers and their families don’t deserve charity, after all, they asked for it.

    • Hockey Editor
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      That’s a fine thing True North is doing, and it shouldn’t have to be tied into a hockey logo unveiling. And indeed, our governments over the years have treated our veterans shamefully. We like to drive around with “support our troops” ribbons on the backs of our pickup trucks, but we don’t tell our government to give old soldiers a decent disability pension, or provide adequate housing for the families of our currently active forces. Rudyard Kipling had it right: Oh, it’s “Tommy this” and “Tommy that” and “Tommy, go away,” but it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins” when the band begins to play. Oh it’s “Tommy this” and “Tommy that” and “Chuck him out, the brute,” but it’s “Saviour of our country” when the guns begin to shoot.

  22. Timothy Friesen
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this, John. I have had many of the same thoughts concerning the new logo. I have been unable to think of another sports team logo that is as brazenly militaristic and feel that the Jets are made worse for this new logo.

  23. Rutkowski
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    As a Swede who became a fan of the Jets at the age of mere seven back in 94, I agree with you in pretty much every way. The fighter jet shouldn’t be on the Jets’ jersey and the Maple Leaf shouldn’t be on a jersey not based out of Toronto.

    • Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:04 am | Permalink

      The Calgary Flames have a maple leaf on their jerseys. Just because the team is called the Maple Leafs doesn’t give them complete and ultimate use over it. The maple leaf is a national symbol. Definitely there are boundaries and etiquette at play here, but you don’t see Toronto crying. The Blue Jackets have created a logo centering around a star; you didn’t see Dallas calling foul.
      In addition, I think having a fighter jet is an extraordinarily suitable symbol for a team called Jets.

  24. Mia
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    “…varying degrees of otherwise” = Brilliant.
    It’s a pleasure to read such a well-written piece. Thank you!

  25. Mike G
    Posted August 2, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I completely agree, and that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling about it. I was very excited about the team until I saw the logo. I bothers me even more that part of the proceeds go to support military charities. It’s like we’re being told that we’re not really wanted as fans unless we support this new militarization of our nation. Sad state of affairs really.

    • Justin
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Whoa, whoa, whoa… TNSE has graciously agreed to donate one million dollars of their own money to military charities that support our forces and you have a problem with that? Are you kidding me here? Get your head out of … and give it a shake, it’s the sacrifices of the Fallen soldiers of the past as well as the current serving members that give you your freedom to make these stupid comments. Just because you may not support the troops, doesnt give you the opportunity to criticize a company because they have decided to donate their own money to a good cause. Whether you like it or not, whether you agree with it or not, this country is kept strong and free thanks to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and women. If you don’t agree with the logo, that’s one thing, but criticizing them for their charitable support is just plain stupid.

      • Ryan
        Posted August 4, 2011 at 2:07 am | Permalink

        1 million for the usage of a copyrighted logo for as long as they care to use it is a token donation from the wealthiest man in Canada used cynically as PR.

  26. Posted August 2, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts exactly. Disappointing logo from both a design and communication standpoint.

  27. Posted August 2, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Nicely written article.

    I wrote a blog post about this last week: http://www.kentonlarsen.com/2011/07/new-winnipeg-jets-logos-are-just-plane.html

    Glen Murray has made me rethink the bit about the jersey’s nod to Toronto…but, still, it’s a boring logo and nothing compared to the letter J morphing into a hockey stick (or is that vice versa?).

    As Bryan from Winnipeg Love & Hate says, “It will be redesigned in five years tops.”

Contributor

John K. Samson


John K. Samson is the singer and songwriter for The Weakerthans. He lives in Winnipeg, where he’s also the managing editor and co-founder of a small publishing house, ARP (Arbeiter Ring Publishing). His song "Tournament of Hearts" was named one of the 40 best sports songs of all time by Sports Illustrated.