True North Sports registers 'whiteout'

JASON HALSTEAD, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:12 PM ET

A playoff tradition of the Winnipeg Jets could make a comeback with the city's new NHL team.

True North Sports and Entertainment have applied to register the word "whiteout" as a trademark in Canada. The whiteout was popularized by Winnipeg Jets fans in the 1980s who dressed in white at playoff games at the old arena.

The team's lawyers put in a formal request to lock up use of the word with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office on May 9. The word is being registered for "entertainment services in the field of professional ice hockey."

True North spokesman Scott Brown said the new owners, who purchased the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers last week, want the option of using the name in future, though not as the team's name.

"The reason it's been done is to protect it in case we'd like to officially use it in the future," Brown said. "There is no potential for using it as the team's name though."

A website with the name Winnipegwhiteout.com was registered to SPRY Design Group of Calgary on May 31 and is not connected to True North in any way, Brown said. The site appears to be a fan blog that includes bogus news releases attributed to True North that say the team will be called the Winnipeg Whiteout.

"I can tell you that's absolutely false," Brown said of statements attributed to True North on the Winnipegwhiteout.com website.

Winnipegwhiteout.com was also registered by someone on Friday via popular web domain registrar Go Daddy. The registrant's name won't be known for a few weeks.

While the rumour mill has been churning about possible names for the team, Brown said fans will likely have weeks to wait before the moniker is in place.

"It's a ways away yet," he said. "Absolutely no decision has been made on the team name yet. Not even close to making a decision."

Ron Ledohowski, one of the former owners of Canad Inns who was involved with the hotel chain's sponsorship of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' football stadium, said locking up the "whiteout" tag is a great move.

"They know what they're doing just like with the way they marketed the whole 'Drive to 13' (season ticket campaign)," Ledohowski said. "I think it's a great thing to hang onto to connect the past with the present team."

jason.halstead@sunmedia.ca


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