Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

True, patriot love in all thy Jets tattoo

'Pegger gets team logo etched on her leg

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Heather Dea has made a lifelong commitment to the Winnipeg Jets.

The retired military medic hasn't signed on for the ultimate season-ticket package, but she does believe her shin has been adorned with the first-ever tattoo of the NHL team's new logo, which was inspired by the Canadian military.

Must be a hockey nutbar, hey? Not so much, actually.

"I'm not a huge hockey fan. Do I like the Jets? I don't know, I haven't seen them play. I wasn't too thrilled with the Thrashers," Dea said. "But my husband and I met in the military and we're highly patriotic. (The tattoo) is a celebration of the Jets coming back to town and giving Winnipeg more national status," she said.

"I was really pleased with the Jets logo when it came out last week and I saw it on Twitter. I liked it enough that I thought I would put it on my body."

If it weren't for social media, however, it could have been some time before Dea was inked with the Jets colours. She replied to a tweet on Wednesday from David Engbaek, a tattoo artist and co-owner of Tattoos and Body Piercing on Tache Avenue. He liked the logo too and sent a message to his followers to see if anybody would like it as a tattoo. Dea got back to him within 15 minutes.

"I want my little niche for the Winnipeg Jets," he said. "I wanted to be able to say, 'This is what I did. I was the first person to do the logo (as a tattoo).' "

Engbaek said there's no official way of proving the first tattoo of the new Jets mark was indeed done by him, but he's got the photographic evidence to back up his claim. Anybody who wanted to beat him to the punch would have had to have been quick -- the logo was only unveiled five days earlier.

"It's kind of like catching a fish. If you don't have the pictures to prove it, it never happened," he said.

Dea, who has about 20 other tattoos on various parts of her body, admitted she didn't wake up Wednesday morning intending to visit a tattoo parlour.

"It was weird. I was on Twitter and I saw the tweet from David, and I thought, 'What the hey?'" she said, adding the artwork set her back about $100.

Engbaek knows a thing or two about hockey tattoos. A huge fan of the game, he has decorated all kinds of body parts with the likes of Don Cherry and goaltenders Ken Dryden and Bill Ranford. The day that True North Sports & Entertainment announced it had purchased the Atlanta Thrashers in May, Engbaek said he had a man waiting outside his shop before he opened up who wanted a tattoo of the original Jets logo.

When asked how he became a hockey nut, he replied, "I live in Winnipeg. I went to the games with my grandma as a kid, and I went to the last Jets games in 1996. I was a big Moose fan, too," he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2011 A6

History

Updated on Friday, July 29, 2011 at 8:57 AM CDT: Picture added

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