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The Globe and Mail

Canadian military has final say on Jets' logo

Winnipeg Jets logo - unveiled July 22, 2011

The Defence Department has given the Winnipeg Jets their marching orders when it comes to the hockey club's Air Force-inspired logo.

A nine-page contract signed this summer spells out how Canada's newest NHL team can and cannot use its new, military-themed emblem.

The original Jets franchise moved to Phoenix to become the Coyotes after the 1996 season. When the NHL relocated the struggling Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg earlier this year, the new team ditched its old stylized hockey stick logo for a decidedly military look.

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The new logo is based on that of the Royal Canadian Air Force. It features a silhouetted CF-18 Hornet atop a stylized red maple leaf, surrounded by a navy blue and grey circle known in military terms as a roundel.

When the Jets unveiled their new logo in July, they said the design was developed in partnership with Reebok and the NHL.

"The design cues for the plane were inspired by the military jets flown by the Air Force over the years," the team said in a statement at the time.

"So not only were we able to establish a new identity for our brand, but we were able to maintain a traditional, time honoured look to the logo."

But the team was also consulting with National Defence. The Jets' contract with the department stipulates that Ottawa owns all rights to the Air Force roundel, which the team can adopt as part of its logo as long as it plays by certain rules.

The Golden Rule? Don't do anything to make the Queen and the country look bad.

"The club agrees to use the Winnipeg Jets logos solely in accordance with the terms and conditions of this agreement," the contract states, "and in such manner as to protect and preserve the reputation and integrity of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of National Defence, and the Canadian Forces."

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Exactly what that means isn't clear. No one from the Jets or the Defence Department was available for an interview.

The rules also apply to the club's sponsors, partners and licensees.

The Canadian Press obtained the partially censored document, signed in August, under the Access to Information Act.

The military theme extends beyond the team's logo.

The club revealed its new home and away jerseys before the start of the season at a military base near Winnipeg's airport called 17 Wing.

The sweaters feature two shades associated with the Air Force: Polar Night Blue, found on many of today's aircraft, and the lighter Aviator Blue, a colour used in the past.

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True North Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Jets, has also promised to give $1-million to military charities over the next decade.

Winnipeg currently sits near the bottom of the NHL's Eastern Conference.

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