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District: Mascot rights unclear

 

February 28, 2020

The Cloquet school district has a mystery it needs solved: Who really created the school's ubiquitous grizzled lumberjack mascot logo?

The subject came up as part of a discussion over rights to the logo, as a new sporting goods store is opening on Cloquet Avenue and the Lumberjack logo figures large in the Cloquet Sporting Goods' decor and marketing.

"They've essentially done all their branding using the lumberjack logo," superintendent Michael Cary told the Cloquet school board during its meeting Monday. "Our concern is that their using our logo could cut into our own fundraising."

The superintendent also noted that the district has discussed opening its own store, as well as concerns about the use of the school logo on T-shirts and other things that might contain inappropriate slogans that the district wouldn't approve of. He explained that when sporting teams order team apparel, the district gets royalties from those orders too.

Cary asked the board for direction after laying out various options, such as asking the company to cease using the logo completely, or working with the new store to come up with conditions that would allow them to use the logo. Walmart, for example, pays the school district a percentage of sales of Lumberjack apparel.

"In my opinion, that logo is ours, and we need to be able to control it," chairman Ted Lammi said.

That discussion sparked a whole other line of questioning: Who actually created the logo and does the school district even own the rights?

Board member Duane Buytaert read from a 2012 newspaper article written when the Lumberjacks' logo was voted "Best Jersey in Minnesota" in an online contest sponsored by the Minnesota Wild hockey organization. Back then, the lumberjack image beat out the Warroad warrior.

That story said the logo was developed by hockey fan John "Wood Duck" Everson and middle school art teacher Dave Wait.

While some version of that story is likely true, the debate spiraled out even further on the "Cloquet MN 1884 to Present" Facebook page this week, as dozens weighed in. Lynne Hoover said Everson was the artist, and the model was her brother-in-law, Gary Hedin, a former logger.

Someone also named David Wait - who didn't respond to a Pine Knot message - claimed Dave Wait designed the logo as co-owner of Ultimate Screen Printing. Along with designing about 20 other similar logos for T-shirts and jerseys, he wrote that Wait also painted the Lumberjack at center court in the old Cloquet Middle School gym. Someone else threw out Dorothy Johnson's name.

Everson's obituary claims credit for designing the Cloquet Lumberjacks hockey logo. A look at old CHS yearbooks shows the lumberjack in use on varsity hockey jerseys for at least 40 years.

Back to the soon-to-be Cloquet Sporting Goods store.

High school principal Steve Battaglia said he has talked with the store owners and said they are very willing to work with the district, and school board members directed Cary to reach out to both the new store owners and a local law firm.

According to its Facebook page - which is filled with myriad Cloquet Lumberjacks updates, cheers and sports-related posts - Cloquet Sporting Goods will be selling (and buying) new and gently used sporting goods equipment. It will be holding its first "buying event" 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the store at 1111 Cloquet Avenue, Suite 1.

The Cloquet school district is hoping to hear from anyone who knows exactly who created the logo and when, for legal and historic reasons.

 
 

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