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.
Every now and then, there’s a silent majority. Significant amounts of people provided boisterous criticisms of the Winnipeg Jets’ new logo designs – some from the comments section, some from their own blogs. If you were to follow a lot of the snarky comments from Twitter and other sections of the Internet, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that True North unleashed a sequel to the Buffalo Sabres’ disastrous Buffaslug.
Even the people who did like (or at least tolerate) the design made a rather important qualifying statement: they thought the classic design still reigns supreme. Some would get mad at the new Winnipeg Jets for jettisoning an icon that brings about waves of nostalgia.
For hours, days and weeks, we heard the passionate reactions of many people, yet the feelings of the masses weren’t put into numbers. Once the logo was unveiled, we asked readers for a bit more insight than just a simple “Yay or Nay?” question. With the undeniable nostalgiagic ties in mind, we polled PHT readers with three choices about the new logo: 1) Did you like it even more than the old logo? 2) Did you like it, but not as much as the original? or 3) Did you dislike it altogether?
Here are the results from polling that began on July 22.
(click image to enlarge)
As you can see, almost half of all responders (47.51 percent) liked the new logo even more than the previous model. When you combine that group with the 29.14 percent who liked it – but not as much as the old design – that reveals about 76.65 percent of voters who were happy about the new logo to at least some degree. Meanwhile, 577 of the 2,471 voters (23.35 percent) didn’t like it.
Considering how well the Jets merchandise is selling, it makes sense that a lot of people enjoy the new look. Personally, I’d probably fall somewhere between “Like it, but not as much as the old Jets logo” and sheer indifference – the concept is clean and nice, but a bit on the bland side.
My thought process doesn’t fall in line with most responders, though. Still have some things to say about the new logos? Feel free to share your seasoned feedback in the comments. Surely we’ll have a lot of fun examining the jerseys once the Jets finally roll those out, too.
There are a wide variety of ways to describe the Atlanta Thrashers’ metamorphosis into the Winnipeg Jets (scorned Thrashers fans would probably share the most colorful descriptions). Yet amid all the discussions about the team’s new logo, front office moves and other changes, people often overlook just how sudden this change really has been – maybe because the city has been waiting so long for the NHL’s return.
Then again, it’s not as if hockey is totally new to True North Sports and Entertainment, the company that runs the new Winnipeg Jets. They probably put together a preliminary plan or two when their flirtations with the Phoenix Coyotes reached its greatest heights. True North also ran hockey teams at the IHL and AHL levels during the NHL’s absence.
In a way, their two month scramble could probably compare to the NFL’s lockout-shortened training camp challenges. On one hand, many of the pieces of a team were already in place and much of the Jets’ front office would carry over from the Manitoba Moose. That being said, the organization dealt with quite a “to do list” that probably keeps them from soaking in the significance of bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg, something Jets chairman Mike Chipman discussed with Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press.
“I’ll be honest, we’ve missed a lot of the reaction and we really haven’t had a lot of time to daydream,” Chipman admitted. “But every now and again the reality hits you that we’re playing the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 9th and you picture how that’s going to look and feel. It’s fun to contemplate on those things but we don’t get the chance to dwell on them for a long period of time because we’ve got everybody going flat-out right now.
“But I don’t want to give you the impression that we’re so overwhelmed here that people are frantic. It’s not that way at all. I mean, it’s very busy, but it’s also very controlled or measured. Everybody’s going real hard, but it’s work that people like to do. When we first got into the business 15 years ago there was really no chance to exhale. Paint was drying on the walls when we opened up.
“Our people enjoy the process,” Chipman added.
“This is what we’ve been living for and working towards for a long time.”
The Jets and Winnipeg will probably be in honeymoon mode through a big chunk of the multi-year commitments that fans made by snatching up season ticket plans. That being said, every move True North makes will be scrutinized because it would be devastating for that small market to lose the NHL again. They will probably be too busy preparing for the team’s season opener against the Montreal Canadiens on October 9 to really follow the criticisms anyway, though.