WINNIPEG - At first, I wasn’t a fan of the new Winnipeg Jets logo. But that was before I became an unofficial international goodwill ambassador for the team.
On Sunday, I headed south to Grand Forks, N.D., with a gal pal to do some serious shopping. Even though I wasn’t crazy about the logo, like most people in the ‘Peg I’m excited about the return of the NHL, so I decided to wear my brand-new dark blue Jets T-shirt as we strolled through Columbia Mall and other spots searching for bargains.
The result? Well, my friend is very pretty, but I was the one turning heads Sunday.
Some employees at Macy’s were the first to comment on the shirt. Like everyone who stopped me that day, they said they liked the logo. I kept my initial reservations about it to myself and simply told them the truth: it was starting to grow on me.
The second encounter, at a fast food joint, was not unlike a celebrity sighting. A friendly older woman asked us to forgive the interruption but she just had to see the logo, so she approached our table for a closer inspection, and the men she was with had a series of questions.
Later in the evening, a young man in a Poison T-shirt, who looked almost panicked, came up to me in a parking lot and said, “Excuse me, what is that you’re wearing?”
Turned out he’s a Winnipegger who had been in the U.S. for five days and didn’t even know the logo had been unveiled. He cursed his luck, saying he knew it would happen while he was down south.
As people came forward expressing their admiration for the emblem, my doubts about the logo began to fade. Make no mistake, I wasn’t thrilled when I first saw it last week.
After a photo of a shirt bearing the emblem leaked online, I wrote on Twitter I hoped it wasn’t the genuine article and that it “looks like something air force members would create for their beer league team.”
Of course, my negative impression didn’t stop me from immediately phoning a friend who was already standing in line outside MTS Centre and asking him to buy me a hat and T-shirt.
Now that I’ve had some time to mull it over, I admit my first reaction was harsh. The emblem looks better on a shirt than it does online or on the hats, and there’s something to be said for its clean simplicity.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter to me what the logo looks like. I’m extremely fortunate to be part of a season ticket consortium and, regardless of the team’s name, emblem or colours, I plan to proudly wear its jersey to every game I attend at MTS Centre this season, including the season opener against the Montreal Canadiens.
I will also continue my role as an international ambassador for the Winnipeg Jets when my friends and I head to St. Paul to see them play the Minnesota Wild in mid-February.
With the Jets and Wild expected to become divisional opponents after this season, I’m guessing the reception down south will be less friendly than it was Sunday.