Winnipeg Jets unveil jerseys with Indigenous-styled logo for upcoming campaign
Proceeds from Indigenous-themed merchandise will go toward Indigenous youth programming
Representatives from the Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose hockey teams unveiled special jerseys bearing Indigenous-styled logos on Friday that the players will wear next week.
The jerseys are part of the second annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) Night hosted by the Jets and the Follow Your Dreams Day hosted by the Moose.
The Jets jerseys are warm-up jerseys and they will be worn by the players on Jan. 17 during the pre-game skate, while the Manitoba Moose will wear their special jerseys for the full game on Jan. 18.
"It's pretty surreal to me," said Leticia Spence, the woman who designed the logos.
Spence, who is from Pimicikamak Cree Nation, has been doing graphic design for close to four years and made the design last year for True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Jets and the American Hockey League's Moose.
The Indigenous appreciation campaign is a part of the NHL's "This is Hockey" initiative which aims to promote diversity and inclusiveness in hockey.
The jersey unveiling at the Neeginan Centre in Winnipeg was attended by Indigenous students and WASAC participants. During the announcement, WASAC co-founder Kevin Chief urged the students to be proud of their Indigenous ancestry.
He said the proceeds of all Indigenous-themed merchandise sales go toward Indigenous youth activities.
Funds raised from the first WASAC Night and Follow Your Dreams Day last year went to WASAC to support this year's events for youth surrounding the campaign.
According to Chief, the campaign is expected to bring close to 60 students from northern Manitoba First Nations to attend a weekend of activities in February. The events will include getting a chance to visit cultural locations throughout Winnipeg, as well as giving youth the chance to skate with Indigenous hockey role models like Olympian Brigette Lacquette.
"It's [going to be] a weekend of learning and celebrating Indigenous culture and pride," said Chief.
He said there are hopes to have an official Indigenous-themed NHL Jets jersey by next year, but said that it will be up to the NHL.