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What, exactly, is a Blue Jacket?-News-The Columbus Dispatch-Columbus, OH

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What, exactly, is a Blue Jacket?

 

Is it a bug? A Union soldier in the Civil War? A Shawnee war chief? When officials announced the name of Columbus’ first major-league sports franchise, the Columbus Blue Jackets, in 1997, it wasn’t clear exactly what a Blue Jacket is.

It didn’t help that some of the winners of a Wendy’s-sponsored naming contest had intended their “Blue Jacket” submissions to be an homage to Blue Jacket, a Shawnee war chief in the 1700s.

When the name was first announced, the franchise was keen on describing the mascot as a yellow jacket-like insect “with an attitude.”

However, the name officially refers to Union soldiers of the Civil War. A 1997 Dispatch story about the name’s unveiling noted that Ohio sent more soldiers per capita to the Union Army than any other state did.

The team still maintains a dual identity. Its mascot, Stinger — a goofy, green, teeth-gritting insect — is meant to appeal to young fans. Meanwhile, Civil War-themed touches can be seen on team jerseys and throughout Nationwide Arena, where a cannon fires after every goal scored by Columbus on home ice. (A second mascot, an inflatable cannon named Boomer, debuted in 2010, but he was treated with such immediate derision that he lasted only three days before being benched forever.)

Want to learn more about how the name “Blue Jackets” was chosen? Check out these Dispatch archive stories:

Blue Jackets announced as name of NHL team It’s official: We’re the Blue Jackets How the team’s nickname goes with its image Criticism for team’s name About the seven winners of the naming contest

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