Indigenous-inspired logos designed for the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets and the AHL’s Manitoba Moose by a member of Pimicikamak Cree Nation were worn during games for the first time Jan. 17-18.
The Jets wore warm-up jerseys with the logo on it for their pre-game skate prior to taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning Jan. 17. The Moose wore their jerseys with the logo designed by Leticia Spence for the entirety of their Jan. 18 game against the Laval Rocket.
The special jerseys were worn to celebrate the Jets’ and Moose’s second-annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre night and Follow Your Dreams Game as part of the NHL’s “This is Hockey” initiative, which promotes diversity and inclusiveness in the sport.
Thirty youth from Shamattawa, Lac Brochet, Pauingassi, Duck Bay and Oxford House were hosted by the Jets at the Jan. 17 game. They attended the morning skate at Bell MTS Place and had to opportunity to skate with Indigenous role models at Camp Manitou’s covered rink the following day, including NHL alumni Jamie Leach and Frazer McLaren, as well as Manitoba’s Brigette Lacquette, the first First Nations woman to be selected for Canada’s national women’s hockey team.
The drumming group Spirit Sands Singers, Métis fiddlers and Inuit throat singers performed before and during the Jan. 17 contest, the first Jets game to feature O Canada sung in Ojibwe.
The next day, more than 200 youth, including some from the communities mentioned above, took part in an exclusive meet-and-greet with Lacquette and McLaren prior to the Moose game, which featured O Canada being sung in Cree.
Red River College graphic design student Spence created special versions of the team’s logos last year for the first WASAC game, when they were printed on t-shirts. All the proceeds from those t-shirts and from the auction of the jerseys worn this year will go towards WASAC and their efforts to create opportunities for Indigenous youth around the province.
Spence said last year that she chose beadwork as the inspiration for her Jets logo
“A lot of my family does beading,” Spence said. “That’s been passed down from my auntie, and so when I was thinking about this design, I was thinking about my Auntie Betsy and the patterns she would make for our moccasins that she would give us every Christmas. I also wanted to keep in mind the medicine wheel because of the circle. I thought it would look really good to include that in a way that is modern and contemporary to reflect Indigenous culture which is constantly evolving.”
The moose logo was inspired by the work of Norval Morrisseau, who created the Woodland School of Art.
“This style uses a lot of organic lines and the idea of certain energies and how us humans or animals relate to the earth and sky,” Spence said.