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The Identity of the Jets and their Legacy

The Jets are without a doubt the best name for the team.

The majority of the fan base is definitely behind the name. Polls in June were preferring the Jets name by 50% or more, with the remainder going to various other names. But with rebirth of the old name came a few questions, as highlighted in our featured Fan Post on June 30th, 2011 "Who owns the Jets history?"

I plan on doing several historical or retro articles in the future on Arctic Ice and the first question I need to address is what is the proper historical perspective of the team? "Owning" history is an absolute way of looking at the issue, it has an absolute answer as well, but it is important to consider what Jets fans want to read about.

I have an article forthcoming on the top ten moments in Jets history but do you as fans want this to be the old Atlanta Thrashers history or should it be the pre-Phoenix Coyotes history or a combination of both? Does it matter? What do you want as readers?

Vote in the poll and feel free to chime in on the comments with what you think are the top moments in Jets history, given your preferred historical perspective naturally. I have my own perspective on the issue which I will make after the jump.

The answer to our featured fan post of "Who owns the Jets history?" has an absolute answer and it is in every media guide that hockey journalists get and hockey bloggers like myself look for.

The Phoenix Coyote 2010/11 media guide has several historical references to the Jets at the end of it. For example on page 241, which highlights the individual franchise scoring records, you see the names of former Jets, who never even wore the desert dog logo, all over the place.

This is not unique to Phoenix. Colorado does the same thing and the individual franchise records have several former Nordiques, Peter Stastny and so forth referenced.

So who owns the history, or perhaps better put, lays legitimate official claim to it? The Phoenix Coyotes, there is not much doubt about that, at least not at this point.

Now I already sense that Gabe and Ben's hands are moving over to the Presidential Veto button on this line of thought.

No way Jets fans are going to shrug off the legacy of the 1979 Jets.

The first media guide for the new Jets has not been released yet, but if the previous pattern is followed it will hold similar references to IIya Kovalchuk as the franchise leader for points, just as the Coyotes references Dale Hawerchuk as their franchise leader but it may not.

It may hold nothing at all. The Thrashers may simply be wiped from history the way conquering Kings in ancient times used to chisel the names of previous Kings from the walls and temples of their lost cities to the lament of their women.

Little Conan reference here just for fun.

Conan, what is best in life? (via meathook3000) has been quietly making little changes in the background of all the team sites. Now when you click on the "All-time Leaders" choice under the Stats button of a team, you no longer get a nice clean list of franchise leaders, you get a menu to pick from.


It has led to a massive expansion of data with ancient teams like the Brooklyn Americans, St. Louis Eagles, Pittsburgh Pirates (bet you didn't know the Pirates were a hockey team in Pittsburgh once) and a lot of other NHL teams most people probably haven't heard of. It is a vast expansion of historical data that was never there before on the NHL's official site.

Along with that we see the NHL has denoted classifications for Winnipeg by year. The Winnipeg Jets (1979) and the Winnipeg Jets today and they did the same thing with the old Ottawa Senators (1917) and that notation works for me for clarity in discussion. It is also an indication to me that location of a franchise is becoming a more dominant way of defining the identity of a team and ordering the classification of historical franchise data.

So we may infer that the NHL may be mandating that historical franchise records will only include the time the franchise was in a particular city. This is a move that will change how the legacy of a team is viewed by putting more emphasis on the city the NHL team was in. It may be changing the traditional view of the franchise from that of the players and their accomplishments to location of the team.

Personally, I think the Jets have a dual history.

It is worth noting that the Atlanta Thrashers did not just have a quick cup of coffee in Atlanta. This was no Cleveland Barons or Kansas City Scouts who spent two years in their cities before packing up to relocate or to merge into another franchise. It is easy to forget about those teams, because a couple of years is not significant enough to warrant much historical reflection.

Atlanta is another matter however because they have had a significant tenure of 12 years. Should we exclude all their history from the current Jets legacy? Especially when the new team that will be suiting up obviously has many players with extensive ties to them?

What do you think?

Personally, I think we can do both. The Jets (1979) are probably of greater interest to hockey fans in Winnipeg than they are to Coyotes fans, even if they technically own the history.

Thrashers history may not provoke much interest at first blush but it is a part of the Jets today. Players pulling on those newly minted Jets jersey's came from Atlanta.

I don't think we can deny or should ignore their past in Atlanta.

My two cents but vote as you see fit...

And don't forget to drop in your comments on top moments in Jets history, no matter how you see the historical legacy.