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NHL Centennial

Greatest NHL Uniform: 1978-1985 Vancouver Canucks

Play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert explains unique jersey he wore growing up

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

To some, it's the ugliest jersey in the NHL's 100-year history. 

That never stopped a young Kenny Albert from wearing it to school on Long Island or to Madison Square Garden when his father, Marv Albert, was calling the play-by-play on the New York Rangers radio broadcasts.

Albert, now 49 and a play-by-play announcer for NBC, FOX, MSG and Rangers radio broadcasts, grew up rooting for the Vancouver Canucks and made sure to buy their new jersey when they switched their design at the start of the 1978-79 season from blue and green with a hockey stick logo on their chest to gold, black and red with a giant V across the chest that went up to the shoulders.

 

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Albert had the home jersey, which had a gold base with the V in black and red, and the road jersey, which had a black base with the V in red and gold. Those jerseys, which the Canucks wore from 1978-79 to 1984-85, are in the field of 100 in the Greatest NHL Uniform showdown.

"People are still talking about it 30 years later, so I guess it made an impact," Albert said. "It's strange in that it was one of the few that didn't have their logo on the front. That's what made it a little bit different. It probably looked a little bit like pajamas almost, but it was unique and people are still talking about it."

Although the jersey's color scheme made some think of Halloween or the Duraflame log, Albert didn't mind it.

"I didn't become a fan because of the jersey," he said. "They had the green and blue one when I first became a fan, so it wasn't actually the jersey. But I remember when they switched to it I had to buy one pretty quickly. I had to make sure to get one to wear to the games whenever they played in the local area."

Albert said he started rooting for the Canucks when he was 5 or 6, but he can't remember why. His childhood bedroom was painted in Vancouver's original white, green and blue colors. When the Canucks changed their colors, his bedroom's paint colors were changed, too.

He remembers "one of the worst days of my life" coming when he was supposed to accompany his father to Vancouver for the 1977 NHL All-Star Game and he couldn't go because he got the chicken pox the night before. His father brought him to Vancouver for a Rangers game two years later.

"It was hard because so many of the games were late," he said of rooting for the Canucks. "The box score wouldn't be in the paper until two days later. I'd have to listen to 1010 WINS (AM radio in New York) to find out the score in the morning, so it wasn't easy to be a Canucks fan in New York."

Albert would wear the jersey to Canucks games against the Rangers at the Garden, against the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum and against the New Jersey Devils at the Meadowlands. Growing up on Long Island, Albert was vastly outnumbered when he wore his jersey to school during the Canucks' run to the 1982 Stanley Cup Final against the Islanders.

Classmates sometimes gave him a hard time for his choice of attire.

"They probably didn't even know what it was," Albert said. "[The Canucks] went from the V and then they had the [jersey] with the logo on the front [beginning in 1985-86]. I had all of them. I had all the different jerseys. But you'd get strange looks everywhere when I wore it."

Now, more than 32 years after the Canucks stopped wearing the giant V jerseys, Albert isn't sure what happened to his.

"The jersey is probably in a box somewhere in storage. I have no idea," he said. "I never throw anything out, so I probably have it somewhere."

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Primary photo: Long before he was calling NHL games on television and radio, Kenny Albert (r.) was showing off his Vancouver Canucks jersey with his sister Denise and New York Rangers forward Ron Duguay.

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