The Blue Jackets have proven since they started playing in 2000 that getting a look on the ice is a hard thing to do. From insect mascots, stars on the uniform, to oddly phallic new mascots the Blue Jackets have had a hard time with their identity. Here’s to hoping that by embracing the cannon they can latch onto something that will move them forward.
Best: It’s time for me to eat some crow. When the Blue Jackets first unleashed their newest third sweater on the world, I wrote about it here proclaiming it to be too old fashioned, uninspired, and just blah. Just like many things I don’t think about before mouthing off on, I was wrong. The Jackets’ third is an old time lookalike that makes sense for a team that’s trying to pay homage to the Union Army in the Civil War. There are no over-the-top green bugs in a Civil War getup, the Ohio flag isn’t the logo, and the cuffs on the sweater don’t have stars. It’s just a cannon and the team name and a great look.
Worst: Let’s dial it back to the Jackets’ inaugural season. Their team name is all about paying homage to the Civil War and to do that they introduce… A green insect as the mascot. But that’s OK, he’s wearing the Union Army uniform and they made the sweater have a ribbon-like logo on the crest with stars on the cuffs. Whether it was their home or away sweater it was just a confusing look. Good lord, talk about trying too hard to hammer home a theme. Fast forward to the RBK Edge re-design and the bug and the star cuffs are gone. Lots of teams got their look down the right way right off the bat. The Blue Jackets cannot be considered among those teams.
Americana gone wrong: The Winnipeg Jets took some grief for introducing a team logo that was deemed by critics to be “too militaristic” and even “too Canadian,” but the Blue Jackets took the hometown American thing just about as far, just without the modern military influences. With a red, white, and blue color scheme it’s tough to avoid being so seemingly jingoistic, but given the references to the Civil War and the fact they shoot off a cannon at the games, you could say that the Blue Jackets are the most American-themed hockey team since… Well, the New York Americans. Hopefully the Jets’ management takes note what can happen when you get the whole look of the team wrong when it comes to sweater designs by looking at how the Blue Jackets did it when they started in 2000.
Assessment: The Jackets current home and away uniforms are bland by comparison to their third sweater. The Ohio flag-themed logo with the rather dull design of the sweaters when compared to the simple goodness of the third leaves us feeling empty. After all, when your team is named the way it is it can be tough to find a great look. Here’s to hoping they’ll take the third sweater inspiration and run with it for a future re-design.