Monday, June 6, 2011

It Won't Be Jets

True North will unveil a new name for the Winnipeg NHL franchise

If we've learned anything during True North's first week as NHL owners, it's that they aren't just the humble and respectful outfit they've been correctly reported to be. They're also very smart, innovative, and even calculating.

For years all we've heard about Mark Chipman and his pursuit of a NHL hockey team for Winnipeg was that he was "going about it the right way". Chipman and company were low-key, tight-lipped, and steadfast in their belief that Winnipeg was more than capable of supporting a NHL franchise. But the job they did capitalizing on the mass hysteria surrounding this story was nothing short of amazing, and it proves they should not be underestimated.

The preparation True North put into the ticket drive was evident from the first minute of last Tuesday's press conference right through to 12:17 on Saturday afternoon, when all 13,000 season tickets were gobbled up in shocking fashion. The level of detail they put in to laying out their plan, the readiness they showed with a clean and user-friendly website, and the sense of urgency they created in the marketplace was astonishing. It was a marketing clinic, and one that certainly made 29 other NHL franchises take notice.

So don't expect this story to come full circle. Sorry to all the romantics out there, but the NHL team that plays its home games in the MTS Centre next year will not be nicknamed the Jets. That would be too easy, and True North doesn't do easy. Just ask Rick Dudley. Many fans will be heartbroken, and yes, they absolutely will continue to wear their Jets jerseys to the MTS Centre, but the opportunity for ownership to start fresh (and sell a ton of merchandise in the process) will not be passed up.

The Jets, as much as Winnipeggers love them, were never a symbol of success on or off the ice. The Jets franchise won a total of only two playoff series in their 17 years, had 11 different head coaches, and full houses were the exception, not the norm. True North can get away with saying this is a new chapter for hockey in Winnipeg and Manitoba, and they want to start it with a clean slate.

So you can throw out Thrashers and Moose too. Neither of those represents a fresh start or a clean slate.

We've heard Polar Bears but that would be idiotic, and thankfully True North doesn't do idiotic either. (Although some people would argue a membership fee and annual dues to be on a waiting list comes awfully close.)

Assuming, all the potential name possibilities have been aired, that leaves us with only one remaining option: Falcons.

It will be painful at first to hear a new and foreign name, but gradually all those Jets jerseys that are sure to paint the home crowds blue for a while will become Falcons jerseys, and eventually we'll all be okay with that.

A good marketing department might even see an opportunity to allow fans to hold onto the Jets for a little while longer. A third jersey or an annual Jets "retro" night would certainly fix a lot of problems.

I wonder what a great marketing department might see?


  1. It's sad that they won't be the Jets, but PLEASE do not go with the Falcons. Wouldn't it be just a bit odd (and bizarre) to name Winnipeg's "new" team after the football team of the city they just left??? That's not really following the clean slate theory if you ask me.

    From a marketing and merchandising angle, I see the value in the name change, but True North should at least rid yourselves of all things Jets and Atlanta if that's the way they have to go.

    Unfortunately, I fall in the category of a romantic . . . GO JETS GO!!!


  2. Interesting observation Sanchez ... haven't thought or heard the Falcons connection.

    I agree with Ev that it probably won't be the Jets; what about Blizzards or Storm?