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Public reaction to the Winnipeg Jets’ newly-unveiled third jersey may have been mixed, but plenty of Jets fans still shelled out for the blue hockey sweaters on Saturday at the team’s annual Fan Fest event.
“I like the colour, and I like the ‘We are True North’ on the inside (of the collar)” said thirteen-year-old Claire Holowachuk as she eyed a new jersey at the Bell MTS Iceplex.
(FactBox)Her father Brock Holowachuk was a bit less enthusiastic. He felt the jersey was missing something: the red from the old Jets colour scheme.
“I had a strong initial reaction to it,” he said. “They’re slowly starting to grow on me, but when you compare it to the other third jerseys that other teams have come up with, I was hoping for a little more. I do like the colours.”
Claire, however, had reached her verdict: the $200 jersey was “awesome.” Maybe for Christmas, Brock suggested.
“It’s not cheap to parent, and it’s especially not cheap to be the parent of a Jets fan… I can only blame myself for any of that.”
“First time I seen this online, I thought it looked horrid,” said Joey Alcock of Kenora, Ont., waiting in line with his wife Heather to purchase her a brand new jersey.
“Honestly, I wanted to go buy a Regina Pats jersey — go take a look how close the logo is! But they look a lot better in person than they did.”
The alternate jersey — coloured “aviator blue,” in Jets marketing parlance — features “a classic look inspired by the 1990-96 Winnipeg Jets uniforms,” according to a team press release. A jet-shaped silhouette crosses the “t” in “Jets,” which jersey-owner-to-be Heather Alcock hadn’t noticed at first.
“I love that!” she exclaimed upon noticing the detail.
Leaked images of the new tunic appeared online on Thursday, and the jersey was officially unveiled to the public Friday night.
“Since that time sales have been brisk,” said Rob Wozny, vice-president of communications and community engagement for the Winnipeg Jets and True North Sports and Entertainment.
“We don’t have any definitive numbers at this point in time, but we had a line-up this morning so that’s always a good sign… The feedback we’ve received, when (fans) saw the jerseys on the players, I think that brought the jersey to life. To see it on Blake Wheeler, Patrik Laine, Mark Scheifele, it’s like, ‘Wow, the jersey’s for real,’ and they got a real perspective (on) what it looks like.”
Winnipeggers Chris Pattern and Joy Medrano had no reservations as they waited in line to pay for two new jerseys — a Wheeler for her and a Scheifele for him.
“I really like them actually,” said Pattern. “I really like the blue colour, and I like how sleek it is. It’s simple, plain but elegant, I find.”
Sixteen-year-old Teagan Ewatski thought the design was too “bland” at first, but said the new jersey was growing on her.
“I was the same thing, when I first saw it I wasn’t very happy about it,” said her father Kevin Ewatski.
“But no, seeing it here, seeing people wearing it — fantastic. Once you dress it up with your number and your name, it really pulls it all together. I think it’s unique, I like it.”
“Once you put it on, it’s a different feel, too. It’s so different than the other ones,” added Teagan as she weighed buying the jersey with her birthday money.
“And I might have to get one too, I don’t know,” said Kevin.
But back in the line for the cash register, Winnipegger Brad Pauls was wishing the Jets had chosen a different alternate jersey.
“I don’t know why they couldn’t have gone with the Heritage Classic jerseys,” he said.
“Those ones are great, I think everyone loved them. It seems kind of unnecessary to change it up.”
The new Jets sweater looks similar to those worn by the Finnish national hockey team, Pauls said.
“The Laine (jersey) looks like it fits, but I don’t know.”
Solomon Israel is the full-time cannabis reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press and its national cannabis news website, TheLeafNews.com. He covers the social, legal, medical and scientific aspects of marijuana legalization in Manitoba and the rest of Canada.