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Inked Up

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
During the course of an NHL season, the Vancouver Canucks put their bodies through agonizing pain. Cuts, bumps and bruises are the norm, but that’s nothing compared to the soreness Russ Lusk experienced to show his appreciation for the team he loves.

Lusk, a Yeoman Second Class Petty Officer in the US Navy, recently strapped himself into the chair of tattoo artist Justin Hate, who permanently inked him with a distinct, one-of-a-kind Canucks logo.

A combination stick-in-rink/Johnny Canuck/flying skate/orca whale logo now covers a major chunk of Lusk’s inner-left arm, which he is more than willing to show off.

“It’s the design that a member by the name of Pfizer had created when the Canucks were unveiling their new uniforms,” said Lusk, who is stationed at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth, Texas. “Although it was meant as a joke in regards to Vancouver’s ever-changing logos, I really liked it. I wanted to get something that showed my love for the team, but I wanted it to be somewhat different. I remembered how cool I thought his creation was and decided to go with it.”

The body art was chiseled at Cartel Ink and Skateboard Shop in Lake Worth, Texas, and in total it took a mere three hours. The lines in the skate logos took a while to do and the black ink needed some time to fill in, not to mention the tenderness he felt afterwards, but it was all worth it for Lusk.

“I have always loved tattoos and seen them as a great form of art. People always talk about getting something that means something to them and this is my way of doing that. I already have my wife and my children’s names on me, so now to my other passions.

“My friends think I am crazy, but they know my love for hockey and the Canucks, so they are not surprised.”

Showing unwavering support for the Canucks really isn’t out of the ordinary for people in and around Vancouver, even to this degree of dedication. Lusk, who hails from California, has lived in the US his entire life though, and you know as well as I do that Canucks fans are as common as toonies in the United States.

Turns out Lusk came down with a hard case of Canuckitis in 1993-94, which altered his life forever.

“I learned how to play ice hockey in the early 90s from my friend’s little brother who was a big Kings fan. I remember watching games with him on TV and every time they played the Canucks I was in awe of Pavel Bure, Trevor Linden and Kirk McLean. Watching Gino Odjick pound heads in didn’t hurt either.”

The 32-year-old was hooked instantly and he has been a staple at American Airlines Center when the Canucks are in town ever since. You can’t miss him, he’s the Canucks fan that is geared up from head to toe, who is displaying team pride that puts Stars fans to shame.

“Last game my wife and I were three rows behind the bench and there were mostly Canucks fans so that was awesome,” said Lusk. “With the exception of a few rowdy fans, most people at the games are cool, but sometimes I hear ‘go back to Canada,’ or ‘why the heck do you like the Canucks?’”

If they’re willing to hear him out, Lusk can more than justify his love for the West Coast Wonders.

“I have always loved the fan base of the Canucks and how passionate we are as fans,” explained Lusk, who hasn’t missed a game in over two years. “As a team we always seem to put ourselves in exciting and winning situations no matter what the scenario. Now that we have Luongo and young guys like Raymond, Kesler, Burrows and Edler, I feel the foundation for success has been laid for the foreseeable future.”

With a convincing explanation like that, Lusk will have the rest of Texas cheering for the Canucks in no time. That would make Vancouver’s visits to Dallas a lot more hospitable, but it still wouldn’t compare to watching a game at GM Place, an experience Lusk and his wife have yet to take in.

With a passion for the Canucks that few fans can match, Lusk would blend right in at a Vancouver home game. After all, he wears his colours on his sleeve and his arm.

2 - Lusk hasn't missed one Canuck game in two years
3 - Took three hours to apply the Canuck inspired tattoo

4 - Canuck logo's that are represented in Lusk's intricate tattoo

1993 / 1994 - Year when Lusk was captivated by the Canucks and has been a die hard ever since

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