May 28, 2020

11° C, Light rain showers

Full Forecast

Help us deliver reliable news during this pandemic.

We are working tirelessly to bring you trusted information about COVID-19. Support our efforts by subscribing today.

No Thanks Subscribe

Already a subscriber?


Advertise With Us


Jets brand is golden... why tarnish its storied lustre?

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/6/2011 (3281 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I was in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod (the former Soviet city of Gorky) several years ago in the company of a gaggle of editorial writers, all Americans.

We went to some sort of health research institute to discuss health care post-collapse. I remember only two things about that visit.

I remember that I was the only one from our side who could actually discuss Russian health issues because I was the only one familiar with socialized health care.

But the thing I remember most clearly is standing on the sidewalk at the entrance to the institute and being greeted by our host, a short man in a blue sports coat, who asked me to introduce myself.

"My name is Gerald Flood. I'm from Winnipeg, Canada."

"AHA!" exclaimed our host. "JETS!"

We had already lost the team. He knew that as well. It made the connection more poignant, he suggested.

Every Winnipegger abroad at some point has had such an AHA! moment with complete strangers. They likely don't know -- or care -- where Winnipeg is and their eyes will glaze if you try to tell them. But they always know, especially in hockey-playing places, that Winnipeg is the home of the Jets, always was, always will be in the popular imagination.

Why the team is so storied is difficult to say. Certainly Bobby Hull caught the world's attention when he moved here to become the million-dollar-man. Maybe Elton John played a part -- Bennie (Hatskin) and the Jets was a big hit. And without doubt, as that Nizhny Novgorodian health expert knew, the Save The Jets campaign of 16 years ago said something unique about the character of Winnipeggers that has defined us ever since.

On Tuesday, when it was announced that True North had purchased the Atlanta Thrashers and that the NHL was retuning to Winnipeg this fall, thousands of Winnipeggers turned out downtown dressed in Jets jerseys, sporting Jets caps and all manner of Jets paraphernalia. I saw a guy riding a motorcycle with a Santa beard flattened against a Jets jersey. I saw a woman in heels and business dress with a chic, fitted Jets jersey under her jacket.

Many of the folks chanting Go Jets Go were too young to have seen the Jets play except perhaps on YouTube, and yet they KNEW in their DNA that the Jets are Winnipeg's team.

What True North will call the team will not be known until after 13,000 fans slap down significant money for season tickets. And as we wait for the announcement, the story line is that True North has already chosen a name other than Jets in hopes of selling millions worth of new team paraphernalia. That, I suppose, makes good business sense, at least in the short term. But a friend who concerns himself with such things is adamant that it's a mistake to change the name.

"Every brand person will tell you the Winnipeg Jets brand is golden," he argues. "It's known around the world and has a nostalgic element to it that just can't be beat when it comes to sports stuff (see Ottawa Senators)."

It's impossible to argue that it makes sense to kill a dream -- The Return of Jets -- in order to flog a few jerseys. It's impossible to believe that a new name for a struggling, pretty-much unknown team, will ever garner as much world attention as will these six words: "The Jets are back in Winnipeg."


Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Free Press would like to thank our readers for their patience while comments were not available on our site. We're continuing to work with our commenting software provider on issues with the platform. In the meantime, if you're not able to see comments after logging in to our site, please try refreshing the page.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.


Advertise With Us