For outsiders, the moment might have been a bit anticlimactic. True North Sports and Entertainment executive Mark Chipman casually slipped “Jets” into Winnipeg’s team name before the team announced their first pick, confirming the rumors in the least bombastic way possible. Many probably believe that the new Jets were guilty of a “reach” with their first-ever first round draft as well, stunning some by selecting Mark Scheifele.
It was tough to elicit much more than a yawn when Scheifele was handed a ceremonial jersey, too. Instead of taking the opportunity to unveil an expected logo and uniform change, the Jets handed their first pick a generic jersey with the NHL logo. Perhaps it was a matter of red tape, but it left many people wondering about a missed marketing opportunity.
That being said, Jets fans (aka the group of people True North care about the most) probably don’t care that much; they are too busy celebrating the return of the NHL to their hockey-starved market. Many media members remarked that Minnesota felt more like Winnipeg tonight as “Go Jets Go” chants cascaded through the Xcel Energy Center. At times, the 2011 NHL Entry draft was another excuse to celebrate this dream-turned-reality for Winnipeg hockey fans.
True North made the move official, decided to name the team the Jets, added their new general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff, hired their new coach Claude Noel and made Scheifele their first top pick in one break-neck month of activity. Now if they could just unveil those new sweaters …