Friday, October 20, 2006

Hockey 101: What the Heck is a Blue Jacket

Seeing as this is pretty much the first time the Leafs have ever played the Blue Jackets, I was curious... which of course led me to Wikipedia ^:

The team's nickname was selected from suggestions by fans. There are at least four possible factors that may have contributed to the selection of the name:

  • At the time the name was first announced, some media reports speculated that because team owner John H. McConnell's favorite color is blue, he had directed that any name selected for the team must contain the word blue.
  • The initial logo for the team featured "an insect with an attitude," suggesting that the name is a play on the term yellowjacket. It may also be a reference to Ohio's hockey teams of the past, including the Toledo Hornets and the Cincinnati Stingers. The insect logo was reduced to secondary status before the team began play and was eliminated entirely during the 2003-04 season. The only remnant of the insect theme remains with the team mascot, a big green bug affectionately known as "Stinger".
  • The term "Blue Jacket" is a reference to the uniform of the Union army in the American Civil War to which the state of Ohio provided a large number of soldiers (in fact, more than any other state). A third team logo featuring a Union soldier hat and custom Union soldier paintings on goalie Pascal Leclaire's helmet supports this as the team's official explanation of the name.
  • The name may also have been intended to honor the Shawnee leader Blue Jacket, who lived in the region, but the team has not used any Native American references in its marketing, as have the Jackets' Central Division rivals Chicago Blackhawks.

So, it looks like the team was initially named and marketed after a wasp, which was changed to an imaginary insect, a 'bluejacket', because the teams owner is partial to blue. These references to the non-existent insect, which appears to still be used as the team mascot, were later dropped in favour of the much more logical (and more historically significant) reference to the Union soldier... right.

You see how badly marketing and corporate types can sh!t the bed on even the simplest of tasks? This is just one of many reasons MLSE shouldn't even have a whiff of day-to-day operations.

Good on Columbus for having the genius or dumb-luck to be able to fall back onto a worthy mascot. If only we could find a secondary meaning for 'Ducks'...

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