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The Flying Skate

by Alfred De Vera / Vancouver Canucks
There have been 18 iterations of the Vancouver Canucks jersey since the team first entered the league back in 1970.

Just as polarizing as the multitude of answers to the question, “Who is the greatest Canuck of all-time?” fans are just as passionate when discussing their all-time favourite jersey. For a large contingent of Canuck nation however, the answer to this “greatest ever” question starts and stops with the flying skate jersey.

First a quick history lesson on this particular logo:

According to an article in the Financial Post, the flying skate logo, along with a new colour scheme of yellow and orange, was redesigned by a communications firm called Beyl & Boyd in 1978 “to add some punch to the Canucks’ attack.” The new colour scheme was said to invoke excitement and aggression while the new logo was set to change a static “motionless hockey stick centred in a rink” into a dynamic “skate whizzing diagonally downward across the word ‘Canucks’”. The flying skate would subsequently be situated on the sleeves of those new ‘Flying V’ jerseys starting in the 1978.79 season.

After seven seasons on the sleeve, the flying skate would make its move to the chest of the jersey. For the next 12 years, the flying skate jersey would go through five iterations of its own and would be the jersey the team donned at Rogers Arena when the building first opened in 1995.

For many Canucks fans in the flying-skate-jersey-is-the-best-of-all-time camp, memories of the team’s historical run to the 1994 Stanley Cup final immediately come to mind when that jersey is mentioned. Ditto for memories of the hundreds of Trevor Linden and Pavel Bure goals scored or the thousands of Kirk McLean saves made with the flying skate logo front and centre.

“I have tremendous memories playing in that skate jersey,” said former Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean. “In fact, I played the majority of my career in the flying skate. I remember how the black [road] jersey made us feel bigger than we were and even intimidated opponents. It’ll be great to see those back on Rogers Arena ice.”

In addition to the memories of the infamous 1994 Cup run and flurry of Linden/Bure goals and McLean saves, the flying skate jersey is also lauded by fans for its bold, unique, and aesthetically-pleasing look. The jersey that was donned during Rogers Arena’s inaugural season also featured a patch in support of Canuck Place, North America’s first free-standing hospice for terminally ill children. The patch reminded both players and fans of the importance of playing for your community, also known as the “Canuck Way”.

In the famous words of a Trooper song, the flying skate jersey “was here for a good time, but not a long time”. While it might not be everyone’s favourite, its classic look has undoubtedly stood the test of time. Saturday night with flying skate jerseys in tow, Rogers Arena is going to party like its 1995…

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