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Saturday Stub: The Winnipeg Jets Are Back but Are They American?

Posted by Ethan Clow on July 30, 2011

And now for another Saturday Stub, where I post some short piece of news or other commentary that I think is of minor interest and perhaps worthy of some brief consideration on a Saturday.

Earlier in the year the collective “hurrah” from Winnipeg was heard sweeping across Canada as the NHL announced that the Atlanta Thrashers were moving to Winnipeg and would play in the 2011/2012 season.

Sad news for Atlanta hockey fans though. This was the second team they lost to Canada. The Atlanta Flames left the city in 1980 and moved to Calgary. The city got a new team in 1999, unfortunately the Thrashers didn’t capture the attention of the fans in Atlanta and they off and moved to Winnipeg this off-season.

Jet's logo circa 1972-1996

Winnipeg, of course, was home to The Jets from 1972 – 1996, when financial woes, such as the then dismal Canadian dollar (around $1.40 to $1.00 USD) coupled with the fact that Winnipeg was the league’s smallest market, jeopardized it’s future. Since the team wasn’t making enough money to pay its star players, who left for greener pastures, the team had trouble competing, which lowered attendance and further hurt the teams revenues.

The team was eventually sold and moved to Phoenix (currently the team is owned by NHL as the club went bankrupt and can’t find a willing owner)

So, you can imagine the excitement in Winnipeg when it was announced they had a team again! Even though it’s (still) the smallest market in the league, the big question was… what are they going to call the team?

Despite the giddy joy of the population, the name was put off until after the ticket campaign was completed. Of course that didn’t stop speculation. Some thought that the team would take the name Manitoba Moose, the name of the AHL (American Hockey League) team in Winnipeg. Others thought the name should be a combination of the old Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose, perhaps the “Manitoba Jets” Some campaigned for the team to be called the Winnipeg Falcons, named after the team that represented Canada in the 1920’s Olympic games. Other names were tossed around but it became pretty clear that fan support was for the Winnipeg Jets.

And that was the name chosen. The Winnipeg Jets.

So, where’s the controversy? It all started when the logo was chosen. This logo here!

New Jet's logo...what plane is that?

Notice anything wrong with it? Anything at all? Take a close look at the Jet in the logo. Does it look Canadian? Are you sure? Are you sure its not… AN AMERICAN JET????

Could it be? Could the new owners of the Winnipeg Jets have chosen an American Jet as their new logo?

Everyone assumed that this Jet was supposed to be a CF-18 Hornet.This guy right here.

CF-18 Hornet

However, it was quickly pointed out that the Jet in the new logo wasn’t a Hornet but a F-16, a jet used by the U.S Airforce. This dude.


It was suggested that the cockpit area loosely resembles an F-16, while the tailplanes sort of look like a CF-18. The spike coming out the back of the plane appears to be inspired by a Russian Su-27 fighter jet. However as it turns out, the jet is supposed to be neither. As quoted in a Toronto Sun article:

“It’s neither,” said Dik Daso, curator of modern military aircraft at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C. It’s a piece of art. It’s some interpretation of a jet plane in a maple leaf.”

“We never said that it was a CF-18 Hornet,” said Scott Brown, a spokesman for True North Sports and Entertainment. “It’s inspired by jets flown by the military. It is not precisely a CF-18 Hornet, which is why we avoided saying that.” – source

So Winnipeg Jet’s fans can rest easy knowing that the logo isn’t a American Jet, but rather a generic jet and really not that worth getting up in arms about.


2 Responses to “Saturday Stub: The Winnipeg Jets Are Back but Are They American?”

  1. Will Cullen said

    This isn’t directed at anyone, nor is it a rebuttal to Ethan’s piece. These are just some general thoughts on the subject from someone who served, served in Winnipeg, was a Jets (and Bombers) fan, and is still an activist for peace (but a reasonable one).

    The CF-18 is no more a Canadian aircraft than the GM or Ford you’re driving is Canadian. Yes, they’re constructed in Canada, so there are jobs in Canada–however, these industries are of the ‘branch plant’ legacy. The share-holders (which is where most of the profits go to) are not Canadian.

    The Polaris Institute used to track where the HQ’s of these armaments company’s were and who the major share-holders were (where they could). Unfortunately after a quick search of their website I couldn’t find those files.

    It is safe to say (although I’m not 100% certain–I was PPCLI, not Air Force) that the original name came from the same source (fighter aircraft) seeing as CFB Winnipeg has been a base for a long, long time.

    So, quite honestly, given the recent decades of economic downturn and erosion of pride in an otherwise great and friendly city, I think concern over the name or logo is simply un-necessary.

    A VERY large segment of the city supports the CF because, after the trains moved on as did Eaton’s, there’s little else there to keep the city alive.

    The CF–between the Air Force and, until recently, the 2nd Bn. PPCLI (now in Shilo, Man.)–has a long and proud tradition there.

    People need to start picking more appropriate ‘battles’ (pun intended) instead of pitting themselves between the people who serve, their friends and families, and communities that are so deeply integrated with the CF (and this is both good and bad).

    I am former CF, but I am still an advocate for peace. But, as I mentioned, pick you battles: if you are against the armaments industry or how the CF is used then direct you advocacy and voice to the government and/or the media.

    Folks can worry about a logo, but it seems to me this is neither efficient, relevant, or genuine.

    Food for thought.

    • Ethan Clow said

      Thanks for that, Will. When I was researching some of news stories for this I came across a Toronto Sun article claiming that anti-war zealots were upset at the military theme of the logo. The fact that the article appeared in the Toronto Sun makes me suspect that it was an opinion driven rant designed to stir up patriot zeal against the “bleeding heart lefties” as Don Cherry would say.

      It would be my hope that one can be a supporter of the people who serve in the military, their families, and their stated aim of defending our nation; while at the same time, being an activist for peace and opposing current (or future) military actions that don’t serve the best interests of the people who serve, their families, or the nation.

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