Filipino Heritage logo ‘dream come true’
Winnipeg Jets collaboration ‘surreal’ honour
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Jonato Dalayoan couldn’t help but grin as he watched the Winnipeg Jets players glide past, snapping pucks into the net during their pre-game warm up.
The men on the ice wore jerseys inspired by his beloved Filipino community, each one featuring a modified Jets logo emblazoned with cultural symbols.
The best part: Dalayoan created the design himself.
The jersey’s crest — which features the traditional Jets logo decorated by a trio of five-pointed stars, an intricate pattern and a golden sun (a symbol featured on the Filipino flag) — was the product of a partnership between Dalayoan and True North Sports and Entertainment in honour of the first annual Winnipeg Jets Filipino Heritage Night on Nov. 8.
“It was like a dream come true, to do something not only for the Winnipeg Jets, but for my community,” Dalayoan said.
He describes the moment he saw the players on the ice as surreal, in part because it was the first time he’d been so close to the action. Sitting in Section 102 is a far cry from the “nosebleeds,” he joked, speaking in a phone interview two days after the event.
“When you work on something for a while, and you’re so close to it… you’re always visualizing what it would be like, but until you’re there and seeing it in action — it’s special,” Dalayoan said. “It’s one thing for it to be something I designed and worked on, but then it’s another thing for it to be specifically for my heritage and my culture.”
TNSE approached Dalayoan in mid-August, asking him to prepare artwork to adorn the warm-up jerseys. It was a humbling and welcome challenge for the 45-year-old graphic designer who was born and raised in Winnipeg and spent his youth playing ball hockey on the city’s streets.
He knew which symbols he’d like to include in the logo, and his decades of professional experience made him well prepared to design it, but that doesn’t mean the pressure wasn’t on.
“You’re trying to represent a community and integrate it into a logo that’s already established, and do it in a way that’s tasteful and aesthetically pleasing,” Dalayoan said, adding the biggest challenge was creating the intricate pattern encircling the trademark Winnipeg jet.
Traditionally, Filipino people use patterns to distinguish between communities and regions. To avoid misrepresentation, he created a “new school” tribal pattern unique to Winnipeg. The final design is a nod to the history of the Philippines, a reference to a time before colonial influence, he said.
“It’s not very often that (Filipino people) get to share our culture, nor do we get to see it very much on TV or just on other mainstream events so… it goes beyond the logo. You could see it in the Filipino community, how they were wanting to celebrate and be celebrated,” he said.
With 80,110 people reporting as Filipino in the 2021 Statistics Canada census, the community accounts for roughly 10 per cent of Winnipeg’s population.
“For me, it represents acknowledgment and integration of our culture into Canadian culture… it makes sense because we are such a large group here in Winnipeg,” Dalayoan said. “We’re friendly, accepting, hardworking, funny, we like to laugh, and we’re resilient.”
The Winnipeg Jets wore the Filipino heritage jersey throughout their warmup, swapping into their ensemble before puck drop against the Dallas Stars.
The team would have liked to wear the jerseys during the game, but NHL rules prevent them from doing so. Getting a new jersey approved for regulation play is a long process, said Dorian Morphy, TNSE’s vice-president of marketing.
Filipino Heritage Night also featured appearances from prominent community members, special game-day hosts and performances by the Filipino Choir Musica.
Food vendors at Canada Life Centre served a specialized menu, with tasty treats like pork and vegetable lumpia, pork skewers and a Filipino Jet dog, dressed up with battered shrimp and pickled jalapeños.
The Jets went on to smash the Dallas Stars with a score of 5-1, but not before Stars’ forward Jason Robertson, whose mom is Filipino, scored the game’s opening goal.
“Right from the anthem, you could feel the energy in the building,” Morphy said, adding merch bearing the custom logo was wildly popular, with nearly 2,000 T-shirts and hoodies sold last week — enough to make TNSE order additional stock to meet the demand.
A portion of the merch sales will go toward various Filipino initiatives, and the warm-up jerseys will go up for auction later this month, also in support of the community, Morphy said.
The auction begins Thursday and runs until Nov. 27. Interested buyers can place bids at auctions.nhl.com/WinnipegJets.
The Filipino culture is the second TNSE has celebrated with a special night.
The organization introduced the practice in 2019 with its first-annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre night, also known as WASAC night. The event, which also features culturally inspired merch, food and entertainment, was an instant success, and other NHL markets have since reached out to the TNSE team for advice on creating similar events, Morphy said.
“We see this as a long-term thing because Winnipeg is such a multicultural city… what better way to celebrate that than to highlight different communities,” Morphy said. “We just want to make sure we are speaking to all fans.”
On Feb. 11, TNSE will host another heritage night in honour of the South Asian community. Puck drop is 9 p.m., and the Jets face the Chicago Blackhawks.