Manitoba and the Military
Am I the only one who feels a little uncomfortable with the new logo of the Winnipeg Jets?
I can understand why the Canadian military wants to partner with the NHL – it gets the same benefits of any corporate sponsor and the television advertising on a hockey game is very nearly perfectly targetted. They gets lots of free publicity along the way, too, what with player (and Don Cherry) trips to Afghanistan, colour guards and soldiers rappelling down from ceilings in arenas. I can also understand why the NHL loves the partnership. They’ve already learned that wrapping hockey in the flag makes the cash register ring. The sports entertainment business and the military is a marriage made in heaven.
Understanding it doesn’t make me like it very much. I’m a fairly determined pacifist who has been strongly opposed to the Afghanistan adventure from the beginning. I’ve long been uncomfortable with the HNiC decision to let Don Cherry express his political opinions between periods of a hockey game. For quite a while I was okay with his emotional tributes to the casualties because I think the emotion is genuine – mine, too – and I think it is a good thing to remind us all of the personal human tragedies war unfailingly delivers.
But I am becoming less okay with any of it. The line between supporting the troops and supporting the miltary mission is becoming too fine for me. Nationalism and hockey have always been impossible to separate in Canada, but that has not necessarily been a good thing for the game (or the country, for that matter.) Xenophobia held hockey back for a long time and international competitions seldom bring out the best in the Canadian fans.
The new Jets logo is a weapons system superimposed on a flag inside a military insignia. Cool, eh? Who couldn’t support that?