WINNIPEG - Anti-war hockey fans are taking aim at the new Winnipeg Jets logo, saying its overt link to the Canadian military alienates them from the team.
Local musician John K. Samson, frontman for the band The Weakerthans, wrote on the blog The Winnipeg Review last week that his initial enthusiasm for the return of an NHL team was dampened by the release of the military-styled logo in late July.
"Sports teams, of course, often have military implications to their names and logos, and sport as war is an understandable if overly simple simile, but I can't think of another team anywhere that has attempted to attach itself as blatantly and directly to an existing, contemporary arm of the military," Samson said on the blog.
Samson declined to speak with QMI Agency.
The owner of the Winnipeg Jets, True North Sports and Entertainment, has pledged $1 million for military charities over the next decade. The logo, which features an air force jet atop a maple leaf and a Royal Canadian Air Force roundel, has received praise from Defence Minister Peter MacKay and hockey commentator Don Cherry.
"To me, at a glance, the new logo will imply that whoever wears it supports both the actions of the Canadian military and the politicians who deploy them," Samson wrote. "Where does that leave those hockey fans that feel varying degrees of otherwise?"
Canadian Peace Alliance co-chair Derrick O'Keefe said he finds the logo troublingly jingoistic.
"It's distressing to see such a direct connection with Canadian military operations of today and missions we feel are not productive and not just," he said. "For instance, the CF-18, which is depicted on the logo, is currently involved in NATO's bombing of Libya. We're not opposed to the troops over there, but we're very concerned when we see sports being linked so closely with a government's foreign policy."
Jets spokesman Scott Brown said team has received both praise and criticism for the military bent of the new logo.
"There has been a lot of positive reaction to the fact we have overtly made a connection to the military, but we understand that there will be negative reaction, and there has been," he said. "We've had a lot of people call us and express that negative opinion, and we understand that."
Jets fan Darren Ford, who also runs the jetsowner.com website, wasn't so understanding of the anti-war crowd's opposition.
"I think people are digging way too deep into (the team's) paying tribute to the air force here," he said. "I think people need to find negativity in just about everything these days."