Tag: Dale Hawerchuk

Dustin Byfuglien, Nik Antropov

Best and worst sweaters of all-time: Winnipeg Jets


So you’re coming here thinking I’ll be talking about how great Dale Hawerchuk and Teemu Selanne looked back in the day, right? Wrong. Instead, this is just going to be really, really awkward as I talk about great and ugly Thrashers sweaters of the past while we wait for the Jets to unleash their new look upon the masses. Consider this the fashion eulogy for the Atlanta Thrashers.

Best: Well this is awkward. The Jets are the ex-Thrashers and they don’t have a sweater identity of their own yet. The Thrashers, sadly, had a mostly forgettable history of sweaters. Sadly that’s how it works out for their hockey team as well. Their original home and road set were simple yet uninspiring.

What really grabbed people by the face were their final home blue sweaters. They did things really different by having “ATLANTA” going vertically down one sleeve with a baby blue sweater. It was striking, it was odd, and it was different. In a city that had a hard time getting noticed for hockey, those sweaters made you take notice of the team.

Worst: Hands down the worst sweater in Thrashers history was their final third sweater. For a team that was billing their home games at Philips Arena as “Blueland” thanks to their full-on adoption of baby blue sweaters, having a burgundy third sweater that eliminated the team logo and had a football-like “THRASHERS” word mark across the front it was a cavalcade of stupid. From a marketing perspective, playing games in a place you called “Blueland” and wearing a deep red color is dumb. Creating a third sweater that is thoroughly unattractive is a terrible way of trying to make a sale. Dumb, stupid, and ugly are three words you could use for this approach. They’re also three words Thrashers fans would use for the Atlanta Spirit Group.

Looking like a bird?: Something you may not have noticed about the Thrashers’ original sweaters is that when you look at them with the arms wide open, the curious sleeve design made it look as if the body of a jersey was a set of wings. I’m either constantly on drugs or it’s one of those sneaky things that’s there as plain as day and you just don’t look at it curious enough to notice.  Please tell me I’m not crazy and that I just discovered a secret gem about these sweaters.

Assessment: We’re going to have to hope the Jets and True North’s designers are going to do something classic looking with their honestly awesome new logo. With the nod to the Canadian Royal Air Force, there’s a lot of reason to have high hopes for what the Jets will do. If they’re taking nods from what the Thrashers were doing, I’m terrified at what might come out. We’re not likely to find out what the Jets sweaters will look like until September so here’s to hoping they do it right.

Bryan Little won’t wear number 10 in Winnipeg because of Dale Hawerchuk

Bryan Little
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When the Winnipeg Jets came to be once again this summer when True North Sports and Entertainment bought the Atlanta Thrashers, one of the tricky things they had to find a way to deal with was the history of the old Jets. After all, those Jets belong to the Phoenix Coyotes and these new Jets have the history of the Thrashers.

True North found a good way to handle the history of the old Jets by saying they’d treat past numbers of Jets history the way the Maple Leafs do and honor those that wore them rather than retire the numbers once again for players who never had a lick of history with the Thrashers. In spite of doing things that way, it’s not going to keep current Jets forward Bryan Little from doing what he calls, “the right thing.”

Little wore number 10 for the Thrashers, a number that Dale Hawerchuk made famous while playing for the original Jets in the 1980s. The Coyotes retired Hawerchuk’s number in 2007 to honor the former franchise great and even though Hawerchuk never played a game for the Coyotes, the team honored his legacy by hanging his number in the rafters. With that recognition made, Little says that’s enough to keep him from donning the number again in Winnipeg.

Little has asked the team to switch his number from 10 to 18 and so at least to start their stay in Winnipeg, it appears the Jets will have nobody wearing former superstar Dale Hawerchuk’s vaunted No. 10.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot since the name came out, that the team was going to be the Jets again,” Little told the Free Press recently. “And even though the team told me what they were thinking and said publicly they wouldn’t retire old numbers, well, I just think this is the right thing to do.”

The new franchise here isn’t forcing decisions on anyone.

It’s a respectful move by Little but one that helps bring more of the focus on the decision on the owners to call the team the Jets. With the awkward intermingling of the team name being the same but the histories being different, these sorts of things have come up. Evander Kane is going to keep his number 9 even though that belonged to Bobby Hull during his Winnipeg days.

As for Little, he understands that the situations with the current Jets and the former Jets are different.

“Me, I think it would be weird wearing 10 and playing for the Winnipeg Jets,” Little said. “Even though we’re not that organization today (the relocated Jets of 1979-1996 are in Phoenix), I think it still would have felt weird.

“And I have seen already how much the fans there have cherished Jets history. So I’m going to be switching to 18.”

You can respect Little’s take on things here and things with the Jets right off the bat like this are going to be a little bit awkward. Besides, it’s nice to see a young guy in the NHL with enough sense of history to want to go out of his way to honor and respect it. When you hear stories in other leagues about how players look into approaching past greats to wear their number again (think of Barry Bonds wanting to ask Willie Mays to wear 24 with the San Francisco Giants and ultimately opting not to) it makes you appreciate what Little is doing… But it really isn’t necessary in this case.

These are different teams with different histories and should be treated as such by everyone, especially the fans. We know that showing up to games in Winnipeg with a retro Jets sweater on is going to happen, but comparing the new Jets to the old ones is foolish for more than a few reasons. At least these Jets should try to do something the old Jets never had good luck with: Winning.

Dan Snyder’s Thrashers legacy to continue being honored in Winnipeg


With the Thrashers on their way to Winnipeg there are some things from Atlanta that will be making their way to Canada. While many of the people who worked for the team in Atlanta won’t be returning, there’s one memory of the team that many hoped would carry over into their future in Winnipeg.

Dan Snyder was a hopeful up and coming rookie in the Thrashers system back in 2003. That September, Snyder was riding in a car with then Thrashers star Dany Heatley when their car crashed after Heatley was speeding and lost control of the car. Snyder died six days later after falling into a coma and dying from septic shock thanks to the accident.

Ever since then, the Thrashers honored Snyder by not giving out his number 37 to another player and giving out the Dan Snyder Memorial Award to the player that best embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work without reward or recognition, so that his team and teammates might succeed. Winnipeg’s director of hockey operations and communications Scott Brown says that Snyder’s memory will continue to be honored when the team moves. Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press finds out that the ties to Snyder from within Winnipeg’s organization run deep as well.

Worth noting is a connection of sorts with the Manitoba Moose: former Moose Dallas Eakins, a good friend of current Winnipeg assistant GM/director of hockey operations Craig Heisinger, was very close to Snyder.

“Craig was in Atlanta and saw all the things they did for Dan Snyder and we are fully prepared and will be honouring everything to do with him,” said director of hockey operations/communications Scott Brown. “Dan Synder’s friends and family should not worry at all about that.”

As far as retiring his number goes or keeping up with the retired numbers of former Winnipeg greats like Bobby Hull and Dale Hawerchuk, Brown says the issue of retiring numbers may not come up in Winnipeg.

“Those are questions we have to ask ourselves. Retired numbers become very tricky going forward. For example, Evander Kane is No. 9. I don’t know this, but I imagine Evander Kane would like to continue wearing No. 9 and we would hope that if we decided to let him continue wearing that number Winnipeg hockey fans would be accepting of that and the step forward in the franchise history rather than focussing on keeping Bobby Hull’s No. 9 retired.

“These are all issues we’ve been discussing, believe me.”

The Maple Leafs are a team that honors numbers but doesn’t retire them. For a team like Winnipeg that has a past fresh in the memory and a legacy of the Thrashers coming north to greet them, honoring the past is the best plan of action for them. The old Jets past belongs to the Phoenix Coyotes and with things like Dan Snyder’s memory joining them in Manitoba courtesy of Atlanta it’s the right move to be able to pay respect to all aspects of the past and present in a new-old locale.

Carrying on Snyder’s memory is a wonderful thing for Winnipeg to do, however, and it helps keep awareness up about how precious life is and how it can be taken at a moment’s notice.