WINNIPEG (CP) - True North Sports and Entertainment, owners of Winnipeg’s new National Hockey League (NHL) franchise, has finally ended weeks of speculation regarding the name of the team.
Ladies and gentlemen, here come your Manitoba Civil Servants.
The news comes as a disappointment to many across the province. The overwhelming majority of Manitobans wanted the team, who had played in Atlanta since 1999 where they were known as the Thrashers, to be called the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets, who had been founded in 1972 as members of the rival World Hockey Association, joined the NHL in 1979 and played at the since-demolished Winnipeg Arena until the franchise relocated to Phoenix for the 1996-1997 hockey season.
“Since the Premier has been falling over himself trying to find more ways to throw public money at our feet, we thought it was only appropriate to call the team the Manitoba Civil Servants. We wanted a name that our players could warmly embrace,” said a spokesman for True North.
A spokesman for the Premier’s office said that the government was pleased with the choice.
“Of course, we would rather they were called the Jets, but since we’ve been funding True North with all sorts of freebies and handouts, we think that Civil Servants is a fine name. We’re sure the fans will warm up to it in time.”
The choice of name didn’t come without its share of controversy. The Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers, also wards of the state, said that they had been considering using the moniker before True North purchased the Thrashers last month and that there could be confusion between the two teams.
True North, however, dismissed the Bombers’ claims.
“We considered that the name might create ambiguity with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but since they elected not to use the name, we thought it would make sense for us. We don’t think there will be any issues with our use of the name,” said the spokesman for True North.
The team’s new uniforms will be unveiled at a later date, but the spokesman for True North said that the logo of the Manitoba Government and General Employees Union (MGEU) will be featured prominently.
“When the players come to Winnipeg for the start of training camp, we understand that they’ll be issued MGEU membership cards and be given the same orientation that other new hires into the civil service receive.”
The spokesman for the Premier’s office said that the Premier will be taking more time away from dealing with the worst flooding the province has experienced in decades to make sure True North has enough money for the design work for the new logo and uniforms.
“Absolutely,” said the spokesman. “We understand where our priorities lay. Flooded farms, cottages, and homes across the province can wait. True North will get their money. Go Civil Servants!”