Jets merch flying off the shelves

Ross Romaniuk, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:14 AM ET

WINNIPEG - Only Jets stuff, it appears, could fly out of stores so fast.

Business continued to boom on Saturday for retailers selling hats and shirts adorned with the new logo of the reborn Winnipeg Jets, with lineups of customers continuing as they had a day earlier when the NHL team’s graphic brand was unveiled.

“I love it. I was thrilled as soon as I saw it,” Jeff Hein, shopping at the Jets Gear shop at MTS Centre, told the Winnipeg Sun on Saturday of the franchise’s military-themed emblem after purchasing two T-shirts with daughters Katerina and Sophia.

“We’re excited to see a little bit of a change in the logo. And I love the military bent to it. I think that’s great.”

After making the new-look Jets merchandise available for purchase beginning Friday at 4 p.m., the arena store had sold out of its first batch of 1,900 hats by about noon on Saturday.

“That’s probably a good indication of the number of people who have been through the store, in the eight hours so far,” Scott Brown, spokesman for team owners True North Sports and Entertainment, said as Jets forward Eric Fehr of Winkler autographed T-shirts and hats for customers.

Brown noted the massive lineup that had snaked around MTS Centre on Friday until about 8 p.m., when would-be shoppers were asked by staff to disperse until the following day, and the continuing zeal among buyers the next morning.

“It’s been a bit surprising. We’ve anticipated big, and it’s been bigger than we’ve anticipated — almost at every turn,” he said.

“That speaks a lot not only to the passion that people have for the return of the NHL to Winnipeg, but to the anticipation and the desire to move forward and get ... something new at every turn.”

River City Sports has seen so many customers clamouring for the hats and T-shirts that the company’s St. James outlet stopped answering its phone on Saturday.

“We figured we would be so busy, there would be no possible way we could answer the phone enough. So we changed our machine to let people know we’re open, we have lots of stuff and to come on in,” said retail manager Zak Rubin.

“It’s unbelievable. The second we opened, we had a lineup at every one of our stores. And it’s been non-stop all day. Probably 95% of all of our sales today has been new Jets merchandise.”

Meanwhile, a military official said Winnipeg’s status as “the heart of the air force” is partly behind the Jets’ teaming with the Canadian Forces on the logo.

Maj.-Gen. Alain Parent, commanding officer of Winnipeg-based 1 Canadian Air Division, said the Jets’ emblem — based on the air force’s roundel — is a sign of the city’s longtime, close relationship to the military.

Parent noted, as well, the ties in the name of the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers to the Canadian air force.


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