Removed from the NHL since 1996, when they moved to Phoenix, the Winnipeg Jets have finally returned. The city of Atlanta could no longer support an NHL team, so the Thrashers were sold to True North Sports and Entertainment.
Originally called the Winnipeg Franchise when the move was announced, nostalgic fans were giddy with excitement when the team readopted the Jets moniker. While it's still exciting to have the Jets back in the league, that excitement dampened a bit today when the team's uniforms were officially revealed.
The logo had been leaked some time ago, so the uniforms weren't a complete shock, but many still held out hope that the Jets' brass would come to their senses. Generally speaking, when it comes to NHL uniforms, older is better. Uniforms are an integral part of a team's identity, and many of these newer and gaudier uniforms make teams look bush league.
Teams like the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens are widely regarded as having the best uniforms in the entire league. Considered traditional, those uniforms have barely changed over the teams' histories.
With that in mind, the most popular choice for the Jets' new uniform was their blue, white and red uni of years past. The look is a classic, but Jets' new ownership is clearly so wrapped up in creating their own identity, they felt the need to mess with a good thing.
If True North was looking to create the most generic brand possible, then they certainly succeeded with their uniform choice. The Uniforms are navy blue rather than the traditional royal blue and feature the primary logo of a jet set in front of a maple leaf on the chest. The jerseys also have two large white stripes on each arm.
The ownership group is saying that the new logo is meant to pay homage to the Canadian Air Force. It's a nice thought, but there are better ways to honor the armed services than putting a plain and uninspiring logo on your jersey.
Simply put, the new uniforms don't measure up to the classics. If the new Jets' franchise wore the old Jets' colors, the team would be taken seriously and could have been a favorite among impartial NHL fans. However, the current uniforms will do nothing to make people forget that the team on the ice is still the same old Atlanta Thrashers.
Once the Jets hit the ice, the Winnipeg faithful likely won't care less if they're wearing potato sacks for uniforms. True North knew that, but they're being far too shortsighted. Winnipeg's following across the league could have been huge, but with bland uniforms like these, the Jets will be little more than just another team.