PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Winterhawks have unveiled the team’s new logo after removing its Native American image logo.
Team officials made the formal announcement on Wednesday morning after tweeting a teaser on Monday.
The team was one of many across the country that had been under pressure to remove Native American imagery. It also stops the confusion of the Winterhawks with the NHL team Chicago Blackhawks, which had similar logos, despite having no affiliation.
In its inaugural season in 1976, the club said it didn’t have enough money to buy its own jersey. That’s when the Blackhawks sent the Winterhawks its extra jerseys, and the logo had remained since, until now.
Winterhawks majority owner Michael Kramer said the move to drop the Native American logo factored in the confusion.
“I appreciate them letting us use their logo,” he said. “Chicago is a great organization, but we’re not Chicago. That’s the key.”
However, he said the move to drop the Native American mascot is not a political or social justice statement from the organization.
“We are an apolitical organization, we’re not trying to take a side,” he said. “We’re not trying to make a political statement one way or the other, we’re just trying to say, ‘Here’s who we are.’ And we think this is representative of who we are.”
Paul Lumley, the executive director of the Native American Youth and Family Center, said despite the Winterhawks missing an opportunity to make that social justice statement, he’s thankful the logo is still being changed.
“I think that’s a lost opportunity to develop a relationship with the Native American community and give both sides an opportunity for healing,” he said. “I think they’re really missing an opportunity here. But I’m really glad they changed their logo though.”