Winnipeg Jets win on the ice and in the stands with the team’s first Filipino Heritage Night

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For Alfie Narciso, it meant everything to see his culture represented at the Winnipeg Jets’ first-ever Filipino Heritage Night.

“It’s the recognition of our culture and the fact that we are Filipinos in the community – that we are a voice, that we are visible and that we are recognized. And that’s a good feeling,” Narciso told the Canada Life Center before the city’s NHL. team against the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.

“My cousin is actually a DJ upstairs, which is total Filipino pride right now. I love it. I come to the games all the time, but it’s so much more special.”

Eleven-year-old left winger Lucas Marana said he was delighted to see so many other Filipinos at the game.

“I’m just really happy the Jets did this for us,” Marana said, wearing a shirt with the new Filipino-themed Jets logo on it.

Alfie Narciso said it meant a lot to see his culture represented at the Winnipeg Jets’ first-ever Filipino Heritage Night on Tuesday. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The logo was a collaborative design by Jonato Dalayoan, graphic, logo and mural designer and owner of 4two Design Inc., and Marc Gomez, creative lead for True North Sports and Entertainment’s hockey brand, the Winnipeg Jets. said in a press release.

Its eight-rayed golden sun uses a prominent symbol of the Philippine flag and culture. The three stars in the circle, also found on the Philippine flag, represent the three main island groups of the Philippines: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

The logo also features the colors of the Filipino flag and a traditional Filipino textile design. The new image featured on the team’s warm-up jerseys, which were to be auctioned off after the game to support Filipino youth initiatives in the community.

Neil Pergis said he thought it was time the team did something to connect with Winnipeg’s large Filipino community, which as of the 2021 census made up approximately 11% of the city’s population.

“I am truly honored to be Filipino. And the fact that we’re together in a game setting, especially here in Winnipeg, it really means a lot to the Filipino community,” Pergis said.

Kevin Donnelly, senior vice president of venues and entertainment for True North, said the organization is always looking for ways to embrace and celebrate different parts of its community. On Tuesday, that included releasing Filipino food and drink for fans.

A Filipino woman holds a sign that reads
A woman holds up a sign thanking the Winnipeg Jets for honoring Filipino culture during the team’s game on Tuesday night. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Additional concessions available were a grilled chicken adobo bowl, traditional pork lumpia and a chicken adobo skewer, according to the Jets statement.

“It’s just the reality of the world. We’re such a multicultural center and a multicultural world, that you have to be careful about the makeup of your community and make them all feel welcome,” Donnelly said.

“We want everyone to feel really comfortable when they come, enjoy the space when they’re here, and feel at home.”

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, who was in Winnipeg for an unrelated media availability, echoed that sentiment ahead of Tuesday’s game.

“Above all, we want everyone – no matter who they are, where they come from, what they believe in – to feel comfortable and part of our game,” Bettman told reporters before the game. when asked about the Jets’ Filipino Heritage Night.

“This game…is about bringing people together and especially young people, instilling the right values. And so I think that’s wonderful.”

Tuesday’s game began with a face-off ceremony with guests from the Filipino community.

This included Manny Aranez, commissioner of the Philippine Basketball Association; Aida Champagne, active with Filipino community groups, including the Manitoba Filipino Street Festival; and Rod Cantiveros, editor of the Filipino Journal.

A Filipino choir sings on the ice of the Canada Life Centre.
Filipino Choir Musica, led by artistic director Dante Aviso, performs the national anthems before the Winnipeg Jets game on Tuesday night. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Game-day commentary also included guest host Chester Pangan, who co-hosts “Good Morning Philippines” on CKJS 92.7 FM and also mixed in Tagalog during the show, according to the Jets statement.

In addition to Filipino DJs performing before the game in the atrium and lobby, the Filipino Musica Choir, led by artistic director Dante Aviso, performed national anthems and entertainment during intermissions.

The Filipino content even extended to the on-ice action, where forward Jason Robertson, whose mother is Filipino, gave Dallas a short-lived 1-0 lead with a goal early in the second. period.

The home team ensured home fans went home happy, scoring five unanswered goals to beat the Stars 5-1 and move into first place in the NHL Central Division.

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