With planes screaming overhead, the reborn Winnipeg Jets showed off their new uniforms Tuesday.
Team captain Andrew Ladd and three other players emerged from the belly of a Royal Canadian Air Force Hercules at CFB Winnipeg in their blue and white home and away uniforms.
The home jersey is navy blue — officially “polar night blue” — with striping in white and lighter blue. The away jersey is white with the two shades of blue striping. The lighter shade is known as “aviator blue.”
Both blue colours have links to the RCAF — the lighter shade matches its historical colours while the darker comes from the paint used on many of the military’s current aircraft. Both home and away sweaters also feature the team’s new RCAF-inspired circular logo on the chest.
“We wanted to create a new look ... but also honour the rich history of hockey in our city and fit the era of the Royal Canadian Air Force, which inspired the primary logo,” said general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff.
“As you can see the result is clean, it’s simple and it’s traditional.”
The colours are essentially the same as those worn by the original Winnipeg Jets, who left the city in 1996 when the team relocated to Phoenix and was renamed the Coyotes. The reborn Jets are the former Atlanta Thrashers.
Winnipeg’s first regular season game is Oct. 9 at home against the Montreal Canadiens. It’s a guaranteed sellout, as is every game for this and several seasons to come.
There were plenty of armed forces members in the audience and Col. Blaise Frawley, Commander of 17 Wing, thanked the team.
“Today’s announcement certainly lends a boost to our morale,” he said.
“Our men and women in uniform are delighted by the gracious manner in which the Winnipeg Jets hockey club has sought to pay tribute to our time-honoured relationship with this city.”
Even though police have already seized counterfeit Jets jerseys, fans will have to wait a month before they can get their hands on the real thing. The pro-weight jerseys won’t be on sale until early October and less-expensive replica jersey’s will be available a few weeks after that.
The Jets’ name and logo weren’t the first choice of the team’s new owners, but they bowed to public pressure and that meant a last-minute rush to get the logo and jersey’s ready for the season.
“We wanted to create a new look ... but also honour the rich history of hockey in our city and fit the era of the Royal Canadian Air Force, which inspired the primary logo." - Kevin Cheveldayoff
“A new jersey concept normally takes 18 months,” said Cheveldayoff. “For us, as you know, this process was condensed in six weeks.”
Ladd said he likes the new jersey, adding it’s great to be able to honour the RCAF.
“What they do for us and the community and the country is exceptional,” he said. “They put their life on the line and do great things and for us to be able to honour them ... and pay tribute to them is a great thing.”
IceCaps’ jerseys still under wraps
By Brendan McCarthy
The parent Winnipeg Jets may have revealed their jerseys, but it will be at least a week — maybe even a little longer — before the St. John’s IceCaps unveil their garb for their inaugural American Hockey League season.
“We’re getting closer, but we’re not quite ready yet,” said Glenn Stanford, the IceCaps’ chief operating officer said Tuesday.
It’s already known the IceCaps’ design and colour scheme will be similar to that which the Jets put on display Tuesday (see story this page), but Stanford suggests “a few different quirks” could be featured in the AHL club’s apparel.
The IceCaps are under a different time constraint than the Jets, who begin their NHL pre-season campaign Sept. 20. St. John’s first exhibition contest is Sept. 29, when it takes on the Norfolk Admirals in Grand Falls-Windsor.
Winnipeg is icing an entry in an NHL rookie tournament beginning Saturday in Penticton, B.C., however Jets’ prospects will only wear practice jersey at that event.
Stanford says he’s anxious to see how the IceCaps’ 10-game ticket packages will be received. Three different packages go on sale Saturday. About 600 seats are involved, meaning around 1,800 packages are available. Stanford says the vast majority of the seats featured in the packages are those that would sell for $16 individually, although there are some in the $23 sections at Mile One Centre and a limited number — mainly single seats — in the prime $26 sections.