The Winnipeg Jets and the Manitoba Moose will take to the ice this weekend in jerseys bearing Indigenous-inspired logos designed by a Red River College graduate.
Leticia Spence, who completed RRC’s Graphic Design program last year, created the logos while on a work placement with True North Sports + Entertainment.
They’ll be featured on warm-up jerseys worn by the Jets during their pre-game skate on Friday, Jan. 17, and on game jerseys worn by the Moose on Saturday, Jan. 18. Friday’s game coincides with the second annual Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre (WASAC) Night hosted by the Jets, and Saturday’s game with the Moose’s Follow Your Dreams Day.
“It’s pretty surreal to me,” Spence told CBC News last week, when the teams’ new gear was unveiled at the Neeginan Centre as part of the NHL’s “This Is Hockey” initiative, which aims to promote diversity and inclusiveness in hockey.
When Spence first designed the logos, she wanted to avoid resorting to feathers or circles with four points, symbols she felt were overused in representing Indigenous culture. Instead, she reviewed artifacts, researched the work of modern Indigenous artists, and turned to members of her family and home community — Pimicikamak First Nation — for inspiration.
“Each tribe has a visual language to express their views of the world,” she said at the time. “I wanted to show that we’re united by including motifs, symbols and patterns from many different Indigenous cultures and tribes in the logos.”
Funds raised from last year’s WASAC Night and Follow Your Dream Day went to support WASAC events taking place next month, when 60 students from northern First Nations will take part in a weekend of activities in Winnipeg, including a tour of culturally significant locations and a group skate with Indigenous role models such as Olympian Brigette Lacquette.
When the new logos were first unveiled last year, WASAC co-founder Kevin Chief said his initial response was amazement and pride.
“I felt proud of being Indigenous, proud of the mentorship and support from RRC, proud of the partnership between Leticia and the team at True North, and proud to be able to showcase her work on this scale,” he said.
Inset photo credit: Gary Solilak, CBC News Winnipeg