Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jets' merch flies off shelves

Shops selling out, new shipments of shirts and hats expected Monday

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The buzz over the new Winnipeg Jets logo continued Saturday and the team fuelled the fire by rolling out forward Eric Fehr to sign autographs at its downtown merchandise store.

A limited amount and selection of team-crested gear was available starting late Friday and several other local sports retail items joined the sales frenzy on Saturday.

Jets director of communications Scott Brown said Saturday that the Jets Gear store at the MTS Centre sold all 1,900 hats it had brought in. By mid-day Saturday, the team had processed more than 1,200 on-site transactions, and by the end of Saturday had only men's T-shirts left from the nearly $200,000 of stock. The store will open at noon today and will only stay open as long as those T-shirts last.

"We hope to have more (stock) in by Monday and to continue on with sales into next week," Brown said.

Other city retailers had some stock but similarly, not a great variety beyond T-shirts and hats.

Most outlets were expecting more stock and more items in the coming week, though the team's new jerseys won't be revealed until September.

Fehr, 25, has been recovering from off-season shoulder surgery. He was acquired from the Washington Capitals in a trade earlier this month and said he was thrilled to be part of the weekend craze over the new Jets logos, which pay tribute to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

"I think this is great," Fehr said Saturday at the MTS Centre. "I think Canadians are proud of the military and it's great to represent them on our logo.

"I think it's a great look and I'm really excited to wear it."

Inside the merchandise store, fans were picking over T-shirt sizes and colours.

"This is great," Fehr smiled. "It's definitely what we expected. The fans here are very passionate and we've seen that throughout the years. I think that's just going to get stronger with an NHL team in the city."

Asked if players care a whole lot about what their logos and uniforms look like, Fehr said they do.

"It's nice to look good out there and I know they're going to do a great job of making sure we're looking our best out there," he said. "Hopefully that will help us play our best."

Fehr, the Winkler product, has been working out and tending to his shoulder at the Jets facilities downtown, though he was at the lake on Friday when he got the request to sign autographs for an hour.

Being out of town on Friday, he said he hadn't talked to many family members or friends about their reaction to the new designs.

"Personally I like it and I'm sure they will as well," he said.

Brown said that the Jets and True North have once again been impressed by fans' passion for the new logos.

Lineups

Lineups at the downtown store were long on Friday, and customers were lined up again before its Saturday morning opening.

"The reaction of the fans to the opening of the store and the logo is a little like everything else that's happened," Brown said. "We're a little surprised but we kind of knew it would be big, just like the name, like everything else.

"Now to see the lineup again today well down Hargrave Street, that was a little surprising. It just goes to the passion a lot of these fans have. You can't say enough about them."

Brown said that the team has received much positive feedback about Friday's announcement.

"Overall things have been very positive," he said. "You have your typical lukewarm response to it at first but I think people, when they spend some time looking at it and letting it grow on them, the response has been very positive."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 24, 2011 B4

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