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Who Owns the History of the Winnipeg Jets?

While it was clear that a huge number of Winnipeg fans wanted their team’s original name back, I really didn’t think it was going to happen.  But it seems it just might.  As Elliotte Friedman said earlier today, “the power of public pressure” apparently rules the day.

But how logical is this decision?  For instance, you have to wonder: Do the “new” Winnipeg Jets (Jets 2.0?) now re-hang their old retired jerseys—Bobby Hull and Thomas Steen—from the rafters? Whatever people might think of it, Phoenix claims those players as their own, and the jerseys are hanging in Arizona these days. 

Do both teams get to claim this history, even though neither player was ever part of this new Jets team?

And how about historical stats:  When Winnipeg fans figure out their team’s records in the coming seasons, do they incorporate their team’s pre-Phoenix history? But the Coyotes are already doing that, are they not?

Perhaps none of this is that big a deal, but off the top of my head, it seems like Winnipeg’s new NHL team has a confusing time ahead of it, sorting out the domino effect of their new/old name.

Is there any precedence for this situation in any of the pro sports leagues in North America?

Filed in: | Canucks and Beyond | Permalink
  Tags: winnipeg+jets


Bosephus's avatar

With all those above questions, it makes more sense to avoid the nostalgic route and star fresh IMO.

Posted by Bosephus from Behind enemy lines, Denver, CO on 06/24/11 at 02:59 PM ET


Believe the Colorado Rockies records came east to New Jersey, not that there were any records worth paying attention to from the days of the Rockies. So, the Avalanche did not inherit them.

The Ottawa Senators incorporated the history of the much earlier franchise when the Sens returned to the NHL, but there was no active competition.

The NFL went through a similar problem when the Browns returned to Cleveland. In that case Jim Brown and the like remained as Cleveland Browns and did not make the move to Baltimore.

IMHO, the old Winnipeg records and history are much more important to Winnipeg than Phoenix, so perhaps an arrangement can be made between the two teams.

—Phil Coffey

Posted by pcoffey on 06/24/11 at 03:07 PM ET


Yes..there is a sitaution like that in the NFL.  See the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.  Browns got all the history back when they became a new expansion team including the name.  The Ravens gave all the history back to the “new” Browns team.  What I’m suprised about is the lack of recognition from the new owners, Peg fans and media about the Thrashers history.  Although it was treadful… there are some records, history, and people (Dan Snyder especially) that should be honored by the new team

Posted by doughboy on 06/24/11 at 03:07 PM ET


I believe the new Jets have indicated they will continue to honor Dan Snyder, which was a classy move. I would imagine the Thrashers records will continue to be listed in the team’s record books akin to what New Jersey did with the Rockies’ history.

—Phil Coffey

Posted by pcoffey on 06/24/11 at 03:11 PM ET


When the Sonics were stolen relocated to Oklahoma City, there was a pre-arranged deal that Seattle would hold on to the history if they ever got another NBA team.  I admit I wasn’t following the NHL when the Jets were originally moved so I don’t know the dynamics of that move.  I’d like to see Phoenix relinquish that history as if requested by Winnipeg just to be classy.

Posted by Birrell on 06/24/11 at 03:11 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

IMHO, the old Winnipeg records and history are much more important to Winnipeg than Phoenix, so perhaps an arrangement can be made between the two teams.

—Phil Coffey

That’s an interesting thought. But it’s hard to imagine the Thrashers history can also be incorporated into that scenario. I mean, if you think about it, to do so would basically mean the Jets 2.0 (sorry, can’t think of an easier way to distinguish who I’m referring to!) have the history of THREE franchises going into their books: The original Jets, the Thrashers, and then their future achievements. 

That’s a pretty convoluted team history they’ll be creating there. smile

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 06/24/11 at 03:18 PM ET

GZ Expat's avatar

Maybe they could call the team the Props, Stealth, Eagles or something that resembles a fast plane…instead of Jets.  That way it would be similar, but different.

Posted by GZ Expat on 06/24/11 at 03:38 PM ET


Just an FYI, while the Jets retired numbers hang at Jobing.com Arena, they’re in the Jets’ white, red and blue rather than Coyotes colors. Just so people know smile

Posted by Travis Hair on 06/24/11 at 03:39 PM ET

GZ Expat's avatar

When the NFL Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore, they took with them the history of Cleveland.  But, when Cleveland was granted a new expansion franchise a couple years later, the Ravens coughed up the Cleveland history back to the new expansion franchise….(but, Baltimore never got their Colts history back)...there is precedence for it.

Posted by GZ Expat on 06/24/11 at 03:39 PM ET

Alanah McGinley's avatar

Travis— Thanks for mentioning that. I’ll change the wording. smile

GZ - I think Manitoba Jets might have even worked, keeping the old and new teams differentiated at least a bit.

Posted by Alanah McGinley from British Columbia on 06/24/11 at 03:44 PM ET

GZ Expat's avatar

My guess is…most people in Phoenix aren’t quite sure where Winnipeg is, but they know its cold there.

Posted by GZ Expat on 06/24/11 at 03:48 PM ET


The memories and records were set in Winnipeg, so send them back home. Do the Coyotes have the Avco Cup banners from 76, 78 and 79 up? It was nice of Phoenix to honor the Jets players, but they could even have a banner transfer ceremony in a home-in-home series to return the heritage of the Jets back to Winnipeg. Sort of like Bourque giving up his 7 to Esposito.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 06/24/11 at 04:17 PM ET


The NHL has already said that Phoenix still hold the rights to the original Winnipeg Jets franchise records and that the new Winnipeg Jets hold the rights to the old Thrashers records.


Perhaps none of this is that big a deal, but off the top of my head, it seems like Winnipeg’s new NHL team has a confusing time ahead of it, sorting out the domino effect of their new/old name.

When I first read that TSNE is sticking with the old Jets name, that was my first thought.  They may be making things easier for now, but I think by keeping the old name they’re setting themselves up for a ****storm in the future.

Case in point, if Byfuglien gets 55 points next season, technically he’ll be setting a franchise record for points for a defenseman, but there’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll be Jets fans saying that record still belongs to Housley.

Posted by Susan on 06/24/11 at 05:35 PM ET


The funny thing is that the NHL owns the Coyotes now, and the NHL also owns the Winnipeg Jets name and trademark.  Since the NHL has already agreed to give the Jets name to the former Atlanta team for free, it is not hard to imagine that the Coyotes franchise would “voluntarily” transfer the history to the new WInnipeg team.

Posted by Kel on 06/24/11 at 06:05 PM ET

Lindas1st's avatar

I think a franchise is a franchise no matter city or name. I remember when Cleveland got an expansion in the NFL and recieved the Ravens (old Browns) history, vey weird. Although on the other hand I can see how a city of people can feel a kinship to a certain team name.

So much for that fresh new start by the ownership, hah Alanah.

BTW, are they going to claim some sort of link to the WHA now?

Posted by Lindas1st from New England on 06/24/11 at 06:30 PM ET

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About Canucks and Beyond

Alanah McGinley has been blogging hockey since 2003 (with a notable gap in time through 2010, kicking it with new baby Lucy while living knee-deep in chaos while reading "parenting for complete idiots" during every spare minute) sharing opinions, rants and not-so-deep thoughts with anyone who will listen.

In addition to writing Canucks & Beyond and helping manage Kukla's Korner, Alanah was one of the founders and co-hosts of The Crazy Canucks Podcast. She has contributed pieces to FoxSports.com and the New York Times Slapshot blog, as well as other stray destinations in cyberspace.

So that's me. Who the hell are you? smile

Email: am@kuklaskorner.com

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