If you were the anything like the child I was, then you would have spent countless hours drawing your favorite team logo, cartoon or cereal box character on any surface you had in front of you. As a Winnipeg Jets fan I have been doodling and drawing the logo for the best part of 20 years of my life.
The old Jets logo I started drawing in the early 1980’s featured a pictured of Jet in the top left hand corner and resembled a badly designed and cumbersome airliner. The logo resembled the start of the internationalism involved in hockey and held connotations of the multi national team we were enjoying watching play on a weekly basis. The logo was harmless and inoffensive and represented the multi-cultural city and hockey team perfectly.
The new logo is however a lot less innocent, based on the CF-18 fighter jet, is a complete turnaround from the reference to the internationality of the team. The link comes from the fact that the Canadian Forces base is located in Winnipeg and this was wished to be expressed in the image of the team by the new owners, True North Sports and Entertainment.
Whilst I am supportive of the military and sports teams have long had military implications associated with their names and sometimes their logos, but they have been legacy related and looking and not the blatant attempt at a publicity drive as the conscious decision to put a fighter jet into the logo has been.
Whilst I am not condemning the National Forces one little bit, I would not impose my political persuasion nor any other interest onto people I have or have not met. Wearing this jersey feels like I am in support of not only the military, as I have stated the forces are a brave bunch and deserve support no matter, but that I am in support of whatever actions the government want to take part in.
Hockey should be the epitome of being able to get together without enforcing our beliefs or backgrounds onto the people surrounding us. The game has already been militarised by the commentators and pundits without being taken into the purity of the shirts that we wear in support of our team. My only concern is how this might prevent people from engaging in the sport.
I will be avoiding the new kit and instead supporting the team by wearing my Kovalchuk shirt of 2006, it has the best memories for me anyway.