The Vancouver Canucks have become synonymous with a lot of things over 40 years in the NHL and one of them is jerseys.
The Canucks remain the butt of many jokes to this day over the carousel of sweaters the team has been through; they haven’t actually changed jerseys every five years, it just seems like it.
Vancouver’s game on November 1st against the New Jersey Devils just happens to fall on jersey night, a celebration of the rainbow of jerseys the Canucks have donned. Wear your favourite all-time Canucks jersey and you could win great prizes during the game.
It’ll be interesting to see which jerseys are sported to Rogers Arena because it seems like every sweater in franchise history has had a love/hate relationship with the fans. Let's not be quick to forget the magical moments and wondrous memories these sweaters have been a part of though.
Here are six things you should know about Canucks jerseys, from the jerseys themselves.
NOTHING BEATS THE ORIGINAL
North Vancouver artist Joe Borovich hit the bullseye in the summer of ’69 with the design of Vancouver’s first logo, fondly known as “Stick-in-Rink”. The logo, which featured a hockey stick inside a rink to form a ‘C’, was the focal point of a clean, royal blue and kelly green jersey, a fan favourite from its inception. The design lasted eight seasons, highlighted by the club's first divisional title in 1974-75. The Canucks have and will continue wearing an updated version of this retro jersey this season.
“Sophisticated and never duplicated, I was the jersey your parents fell in love with in their flower power days and the one you’re rocking today as a “throwback,” said Vancouver’s first jersey. “I’m as classic as jerseys get and as far as logos go, I’m looo-king gooood and always will be. No name bar? No problem. Who needs it. I’m vintage to the core and remind everyone of a simpler time; it’s no coincidence the Canucks are wearing me again this year, I’m caposhi. Can ya dig it?”
FLYING INTO CRITICISM
The votes were split then and it remains that way to this day – you either love or hate Vancouver’s second jersey, the “Flying V”. The Canucks, in search of a more aggressive look in 1978, went with a yellow, orange and black design with a large V predominately on the front. San Francisco design agency Beyl & Boyd said the V stood for Victory; the look lasted only seven seasons and is generally considered the team’s worst uniform.
“There’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said really,” said Vancouver’s second jersey. “I’m surprised I’m not brown considering how much I’ve been dragged through the mud. But ask yourself this: did you really ever give me a chance? I’m truly a lovely design, simple and endearing. I’m yellow like a caution sign warning others the Canucks are coming through. Get it? Good thing for me is that there’s no such thing as bad press as my name is still being sullied as one of the worst sports jerseys of all-time. I mean come on. Am I worse than the New York Islanders “Fisherman” or anything the California Golden Seals ever wore?!? I’m like Ed O'Neill, you love to rag on me, but I’m as cool as ever these days.”
MMM…SKATE & SPAGHETTI
In 1985, for the first time in franchise history, Vancouver added “Canucks” to its logo. The design featured a skate on a diagonal slant with Canucks worked into the blade; the jersey retained the Flying V colours of yellow, orange and black. The “Flying Skate,” as it was known, was also jokingly referred to as the "waffle iron" and the "plate of spaghetti." The Canucks wore this jersey until 1997 and as a result of the run to the Stanley Cup final in 1993-94, it is beloved by most fans.
“What’s got two sleeves and rules? I do,” said Vancouver’s third jersey. “Try and think of an amazing Canucks memory that doesn’t involve me…good luck, because I led the team to their most memorable playoff run ever. Would McLean have made “The Save” without me? Could Pavel Bure have scored “The Goal” without me? Would “Greg Adams, Greg Adams” be a famous moment or call without me? “The Hug” between Trevor Linden and McLean, does that happen without me? You can retire all the Canucks you want but I’m what should really be hanging from the rafters. Skate & spaghetti out.”
THE DURAFLAME LOG
On January 27, 1996, the Vancouver Canucks, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins and Los Angeles Kings introduced special jerseys to be worn on special occasions, which introduced third jerseys to the NHL. What a mistake. Vancouver’s sweaters featured the team’s familiar “Flying Skate,” but it was encased in mottled orangey-red, yellow and black. Think Duraflame log wrapper, think highway construction, thing Halloween costume.
“My ugliness is overblown,” said Vancouver’s first third jersey. “I wasn’t meant for the masses, I’m a niche jersey for those with a real flare for being an original. You haven’t seen anything like me and won’t see anything like me anytime soon, I’m an original, kind of like Vanilla Ice. Not many people will admit to loving “Ice, Ice Baby,” but everyone does. Admit it, it’s your ringtone. And you have me tucked away in a box in the attic, don’t you. Let me breath and help me help you standout.”
I’M BLUE DA BA DEE...
Before the turn of the century Vancouver decided to shake up its jersey design in favour of colours and an emblem more symbolic of Canucks heritage. Navy blue, maroon and a hint of silver were the backdrop of a stylized look punctuated by a killer whale breaking through the ice. Locally designed by Brent Lynch, the orca logo and jersey was Vancouver’s primary uniform for 10 seasons.
“You can’t argue with the new logo, it was a Marilyn Manson to Johnny Depp type upgrade,” said Vancouver’s fourth jersey. “I’ve heard the argument that Canucks aren’t whales, why is there an orca on the jersey, but come on, Vancouver is beside the freakin’ ocean and there are whales galore in there. Get with it. The silver was a nice touch, kind of made us scary like the Oakland Raiders. You own me, you know it, you just don’t wear me enough. FYI - I’m on the verge of being cool again.”
SO HOT RIGHT NOW
Prior to the start of the 2007 season, Vancouver upgraded its jersey design by combining the team’s original colours of royal blue and kelly green with an updated orca logo in royal blue and white. For the first time in team history “Vancouver” was placed on the chest sitting arched above the logo. Paying homage to the original Canucks jersey, Vancouver’s current sweater has a “Stick-in-Rink” patch on each shoulder.
“You know those families you see with way more children than the parents were hoping for? Well mom and dad keep trying because there’s always a chance they get it right someday,” said Vancouver’s fifth jersey. “Mama and papa Canucks finally hit the nail on the head with me. I’m perfect. Just look at me. What more could you want out of a jersey. Solid colours, great logo, the team name. A work of art. Breathtaking, if you will. Cocky? Who, me? Nah, I just know I look amazing.”