A Winterhawk always was a fictional bird, you know. And so it didn’t have to look like a Chicago “Blackhawk" – just because the original owner of Portland's junior hockey franchise could get a deal on some used Chicago uniforms.
But for decades, that was actually a Chicago Blackhawk, not a Portland “winterhawk,” that served as the Portland trademark.
So when new ownership came onboard this year, the thought was that it was time to move forward with some new branding.
The team, one of the most successful junior hockey franchises in North America, has produced 30 first-round NHL draft choices and has had 142 players drafted overall.
And it has now produced, along with the wildly successful local company, Portland Gear, an entirely new branding identity, based on making the team’s image more, well, “Portland.” It was revealed at a news conference Wednesday morning at Memorial Coliseum.
The logo is a hawk, with white feathers on its head, symbolizing winter and the ice the team plays on. You can also see the outline of Mt. Hood if you look under the bird. And as befitting hockey, that hawk has a tough look to it. There are sleeve patches with a “P” over crossed hockey sticks that serve as an alternate logo.
“We are so proud to finally have our own identity,” said Michael Kramer of Winterhawks Sports Group, owner and managing partner of the franchise. “We feel our new look is fresh and unique, one that we are excited about and believe our community will be as well.”
The Winterhawks have not only put many players in the NHL, vice president, coach and general manager Mike Johnston has sent three native Portlanders off to off-ice careers in the NHL.
Long-time assistant coach Kyle Gustafson has been named assistant coach/special assignment coach under former Winterhawks coach Travis Green, now the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
Matt Bardsley, former player personnel director and hockey operations director under Johnston, is now a scout with the Philadelphia Flyers.
And ex-Winterhawks scout Josh Dye just won his second Stanley Cup ring as a scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The new Winterhawks gear, and pictures of the uniforms are available at winterhawks.com.