To help celebrate the centennial year of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Winnipeg Jets have announced they will wear a commemorative RCAF-themed uniform for three games in the 2023-24 season. This uniform will be a one-year-only design and will not replace the team’s current heritage-inspired third uniform.
The uniform has a powder blue (or “RCAF Blue”) base with red shoulders, a blue collar, red and blue horizontal stripes across the chest, and the modern-day Winnipeg Jets logo on the chest. Helmets and breezers are navy blue, socks are powder blue to match the sweaters, and the gloves are a vintage faux-leather style – similar in colour to what hockey players in 1948 would have worn. Player numbers are navy blue trimmed in white on both the sleeves and on the back; the player name is plain white and placed on a powder blue nameplate which helps with visibility against the navy blue stripe that runs right through it.
“It is a great honour and privilege for True North and the Jets to be able to take part in celebrating the RCAF’s centennial,” said Mark Chipman, Governor & Executive Chairman of the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club and True North Sports + Entertainment in the press release. “We have been grateful to wear our pride and appreciation for our country’s military, literally over our hearts and on our sleeves, over the past 12 years through the emblem of our Winnipeg Jets. We are humbled to further share our appreciation for the selfless service of the men and women working and fighting for our country through our RCAF Flyers-inspired specialty jersey for the upcoming season.”
Winnipeg will début the new look at Canadian Armed Forces Appreciation Night on December 4, 2023, against the Carolina Hurricanes. They’ll be worn again on January 27, 2024, against the Toronto Maple Leafs and on April 1, 2024 (the actual 100th anniversary of the RCAF) versus the Los Angeles Kings. All three of these games will be played at the Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg.
The new Jets uniform is basically a modern cut of the sweaters worn by the 1948 Ottawa RCAF Flyers, an amateur hockey club which represented Canada during the 1948 Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland. The RCAF Flyers went 7-0-1 during the round-robin tournament, outscoring their opponents 69 to 5. It was enough to take the gold medal home to Canada after edging out Czechoslovakia in a tiebreaker.
The ’48 Flyers uniform was later reincarnated by the AHL’s Manitoba Moose back in 2008 to great acclaim; the success of that throwback led True North Sports to look back to the RCAF for inspiration when they landed the Jets in 2011. The Jets logo is a direct nod to the roundel mark used by the RCAF, the shoulder patches are RCAF themed, and the club unveiled their inaugural team uniforms in partnership with the RCAF at the 17 Wing Winnipeg Canadian Forces base.
As you can see above, the designs are almost identical — differences between the two include the accommodations for the Adidas Adizero jersey style, the updated crest from the RCAF roundel to the Jets logo, the addition of the Canada Life advertisement to the jersey, and the collar changing from red on the original to navy blue on the modern.
This uniform is the eighth different to be worn by the new Jets in their 13 seasons since moving up north from Atlanta — in addition to their standard home navy and road whites, the Jets have worn an alternate light blue design with “Jets” scripted across the front, two Heritage Classic designs based on the original Jets uniforms (the blue one was later adopted as their still-in-use alternate uniform), and two Reverse Retro designs – both of which were blue and silver versions of the previous Jets designs. The original Jets only wore four different uniforms in their 17 NHL seasons from 1979 to 1996.
As mentioned earlier, the throwback-inspired navy blue and red alternate uniforms that the Jets have worn since 2021 will remain here in 2023-24 despite the new RCAF uniform. The team announced they will wear the “Heritage Blue” uniform eleven times throughout the new season.