Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets score with jerseys

Ready for takeoff

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The crossroads of anticipation and hype were at 17 Wing Winnipeg's No. 10 Hangar on Tuesday morning, where captain Andrew Ladd, Mark Stuart, Nik Antropov and Eric Fehr walked down the back ramp of a Canadian Forces Hercules aircraft wearing their new Winnipeg Jets action colours.

Sporting the team's logo that was unveiled in late July, the Jets showed hundreds of invited guests -- including the base's personnel -- and the world their new jerseys on a brilliant late-summer morning.

"I think they're great," Ladd said Tuesday about the home dark jersey he was wearing. "They're clean, they're simple and hopefully something that'll last a long, long time and that we'll be proud to wear.

"I think it'll look good on the ice. It's finally exciting to throw them on."

At Tuesday's big event, the team revealed its home and away colours with the Hercules, a CF-18 fighter and an RCAF Dash 8 as the backdrop.

"I haven't been a part of anything like this before," said Fehr, the Winkler product who joined the Jets via trade in July. "It's really amazing. A lot of work's been done in the last couple of months to make sure the Jets are ready for the home opener."

The Jets will first don their uniforms -- complete with blue pants, blue gloves, mostly blue or white socks and blue or white helmets -- Sept. 20 at the MTS Centre and in Columbus when they play a pair of games against the Blue Jackets.

(Jets skaters in next week's rookie tournament in Penticton, B.C., will be wearing practice jerseys.)

For their pre-season games and into the regular season, which begins Oct. 9 at the MTS Centre against Montreal, Jets jerseys will feature the navy shade of blue called "Polar Night Blue" and the lighter "Aviator Blue," the colour similar to the historical look of the RCAF, its flags and even the jerseys of the 1948 RCAF Flyers.

The home darks include thick double white stripes on the elbows and double bottom trim of white and aviator blue.

The away whites have a silver-lined double aviator blue stripe at the elbows and both blues as trim around the bottom.

The jerseys will also sport the secondary stylized wings logo on the shoulders.

"We are proud to see the air force roundel incorporated into the log of our home hockey team," 17 Wing Winnipeg commander Colonel Blaise Frawley said Tuesday. "Today's announcement at our home in Winnipeg certainly lends a boost to our morale."

The boost from the Jets and True North Sports and Entertainment will also include donations expected to total $1 million over the next 10 years to the Soldier On Fund, the Military Family Fund and the Air Force Heritage Fund.

Ladd said he's thrilled with the tribute to the Canadian Forces.

"What they do for us, for the community and the country is exceptional," Ladd said. "They put their lives on the line, do a lot of great things. For us to be able to honour them, well, they're a big part of this community so if we can give back and pay tribute to them, then it's a great thing."

Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff, who introduced his four players and their jerseys, spoke later of the anticipation in both the city and at the MTS Centre.

"I think it's very, very exciting," Cheveldayoff said. "Once you see the logo, the sharpness and the colours and how rich and vibrant it is, then if you walk around our dressing room right now, you start to see the different colours unfolding, well, in your mind's eye, you wonder what that jersey is going to look like.

"So this is exciting, and it's exciting for the guys. They're part of history, of tradition. For those four players who were up there as part of the unveiling, that's something they're always going to remember.

"They get a chance to score goals, they get a chance to play the game but they really don't get many opportunities to be part of a historic opportunity like this."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Gearing up for start of NHL season

Retailers will have them, but not the authentic ones before early October.

Fans can pre-order at jets.nhl.com and the pro-weight jerseys will be available in the Jets Gear store at the MTS Centre in early October, with replica jerseys in stock a few weeks after that.

Only jerseys ordered through the team's website or Jets Gear store will have the option of having the team's inaugural-season commemorative patch.

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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 7, 2011 C1

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