The Columbus Blue Jackets, founded in 2000, held a contest to name the team in partnership with locally founded restaurant Wendy’s to name the team. After narrowing down the list to two (Blue Jackets and Justice), the name Blue Jackets was selected:
because the name pays homage to Ohio’s contributions to American history and the great pride and patriotism exhibited by its citizens, especially during the Civil War as both the state of Ohio and the city of Columbus were significantly influential on the Union Army. Ohio contributed more of its population to the Union Army than any other state, while many of the Blue Coats worn by the Union soldiers were manufactured in Columbus.
From NHL.com on the founding of the team, selection of a name and a mascot:
The primary Blue Jackets logo that was selected features a star-studded red ribbon unfurled in the shape of the team’s initials, CBJ, with an electric green hockey stick cutting through the center to represent the “J.” The 13 stars represent each of the original 13 U.S. Colonies and signify patriotism. The star on top of the stick signifies Columbus as the state capital.
Shortly thereafter, Stinger was introduced as the mascot, the “Bug with an Attitude.” Stinger is a symbol to characterize the citizens of Columbus known for their hard work and pride for their team.
A “bug with an attitude.” Are you kidding me? In no universe is that acceptable rationale for a mascot, much less a shoulder emblem on a professional sports jersey.
Fire every marketing person from 1997 to 2003, and fire them again for good measure.
As a result, the team unveiled these
abominations jerseys for opening night and wore them for their first season.
Long story short, these things suck eggs. But if you want the long story, buckle up, rant incoming.
First of all, why in the world did ANYONE in charge of this team think putting a stupid made up cartoon self described “bug with an attitude” ON THE FIRST PROFESSIONAL JERSEY OF THIS HOCKEY TEAM was a good idea? Like. From the word go, that was an absolutely horrific idea. The team logo ... fine, whatever, it wasn’t great. The silly CBJ logo was emblematic of an expansion franchise around the year 2000. It wasn’t perfect, but it could have been worse.
The bug ... that’s something fans shouldn’t and couldn’t abide. Putting a “bug with an attitude” on the jersey reflected poorly on the new franchise in a way that made them seem unserious, made them seem unprofessional and minor league.
Sadly, it took until the 2004 season for the team to remove the stupid bug from the jersey. The Jackets did eventually realize the error of their ways, introducing the alternate logo that would eventually become the primary logo we all know and love today.
Having the terrible bug on the sweater for three years made no sense. It was a cartoon bug, made up to have “an attitude” and yet was prominently featured for too much of this franchise’s history. Now, at least, Stinger has been relegated to the Gatling gun t shirt cannon.
Let’s hear from what the rest of the Cannon staff has to say.
When I think back on the original Blue Jackets uniforms, spelling out CBJ (which I didn’t even fully realize initially) and a hockey stick as the primary logo, I liked them as a kid, I guess. A neon bug on the shoulder, ‘Stinger’ never made sense on the uniform, or otherwise.
I never owned one of those jersey iterations. But now when I think of those uniforms, I think of the likes of Geoff Sanderson, Jody Shelley, David Vyborny, and so many other ‘first Blue Jackets.’
The team sucked. But as an 11 year old when the team hit the ice for the first time in 2000, I was just thrilled for having the NHL in our city. So when I think of a jersey that might not have been the greatest first attempt, I think of so much more.
As the years went, I liked the newer threads better. But now, I don’t really mind any part of those first ‘bug on the uniforms’ at all, call me crazy.
I liked the original logo, the way it spelled out CBJ with a ribbon and hockey stick. BUT the current logo is much better because it has the Ohio flag. The Stinger logo was terrible because Stinger has never made sense. Has any other team put a cartoon mascot on the jersey that didn’t also depict the team name?
“So he’s a yellow jacket? But the team is the BLUE Jackets, but he’s green and not yellow...”
These are conversations I’ve had within the past year when talking about Stinger with other teams’ bloggers.
When I see the white/blue jersey with Stinger on the sleeves and the weird logo on the front that spells CJB from left to right, I am overwhelmed with nostalgia. It reminds me of simpler times for the team. It was the beginning of an era, everyone still had high hopes, and Rick Nash was a lovable, chubby kid with hockey skills. Some of the most loved Jackets who helped paved the way, brick by brick, for Columbus hockey players wore this jersey. Guys like Jean-Luc Gran Pierre, Jody Shelley, Andrew Cassels and Martin Spanhel donned this sweater with pride. Today, they are still a huge part of the hockey community in Columbus.
Plus, when I think of this Jersey, I think of the love and dedication John H McConnell and John Christie put into bringing a NHL team back to the great state of Ohio. Seeing this jersey makes me happy every time I look at it. So, despite some of it’s design flaws, it is my favorite Jackets jersey in the history of the organization.
Stinger is trash. I never liked the original CBJ logo. Looked and felt bush league. Of course, so did the team’s play back then.
What do you think is the worst jersey in CBJ history? Sound off in the comments below!