Canucks season preview: Jerseys – the good, bad, and ugly

In the third installment of their Canucks season preview, NHLHS Vancouver Canucks Correspondents Will & Valerie Wittstruck take a look at the different jerseys worn by the team throughout the years.

Canucks logo

As the Canucks prepare to celebrate 40 years in the NHL, we decided to take a look back at the good, bad, and ugly jerseys worn by the team.

In the beginning
When the team came into the league in 1970 (along with the Buffalo Sabres as 13th and 14th teams) their first jerseys featured the “stick in the rink” logo. The logo, designed by local Joe Borovich for $5000, featured a rink-shaped crest and a hockey stick going through the middle creating a large “C”. The jerseys were blue and white with green trim. The colors were said to reflect the local area with blue representing water, white for snow, and green for the trees.

A new attitude
In the summer leading up to the 1978-79 season, there were some major management and player changes to the Canucks and their uniforms. They hired a design agency that determined “our old colors were bland, too tranquil and did not inspire emotion.”  Out of this was born the now infamous “Flying V” jerseys that featured a large “V” instead of a traditional crest on the front and a small “downward skate” logo on the shoulders. According to the Canucks website, the bright orange would “evoke passion and aggression” while the black road jerseys would instill fear in the opposition. Most fans didn’t like the jerseys either until the team made their first Stanley Cup appearance in 1982.  They were swept by the New York Islanders

The skate logo
In 1985 the team dropped the “Flying V” and move the skate logo from the shoulders to the front of the jersey. Interestingly enough, they continued to wear the yellow/orange home jerseys.

Yellow home jerseys be gone!
Prior to the start of the 1989-90 season GM Pat Quinn had the team switch to the more traditional white jerseys for home games.  The team would make its second Stanley Cup final appearance in 1994 against the New York Rangers, losing for the second time to a New York team although this time they took it to 7 games.

First alternate jersey
The Canucks added their first alternate jersey in 1995. It featured red as the primary color with yellow numbers and lettering, but the same skate logo. This season would mark the beginning of a new era in the NHL as teams would begin designing and wearing alternate jerseys (most speculate money was the motivation, while teams would largely claim it was to pay homage to their past.) The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings, and Pittsburgh Penguins also added alternate jerseys that year.  This was the first season that alternate jerseys weren’t just throwbacks or vintage. As they became more and more popular, the league eventually switched back to wearing dark jerseys (including thirds/alternates) at home so road teams wouldn’t have to carry multiple sets of uniforms in order to not clash with home team’s third jerseys.

Bring on the whale
In 1997 when Orca Bay bought the team, they switched to the navy, silver, and red and featured the orca logo. There was a lot of criticism about the whale, but the West Coast Express was on the horizon.

Red resurfaces
In 2001 they added a third jersey with red as the primary color (one of our favorites and the first season we became dedicated followers.) The letters and numbers were silver, similar to the silver used by the Los Angeles Kings. This is the jersey that represents the West Coast Express era for us.

What’s old is new again
The team brought back the original blue the “stick in the rink”  jerseys in 2006 as third/alternate jerseys, replacing the red third jerseys from 2001. This was a great homage to the past and while we didn’t know it at the time, a sign of things to come.

Remember the past looking forward
In 2007 the team wanted a new attitude and brought back the original colors, but kept the orca logo with Vancouver arching over the logo. There had been a lot of speculation and some interesting rumors floating around about what the newly designed jerseys would look like. We had mixed feelings when these were released but have since become fans of the new design.

Throwbacks get a new look
In 2008 the team added a third jersey that was a variation of their original jersey with the stick in rink logo updated. While it was great that the team brought back the original logo with a twist, we (along with many other Canucks fans) had honestly been hoping for a Johnny Canuck logo on the front.

All the way back
To celebrate their 40th year in the NHL, the team is bringing back their white uniforms from the beginning. These will feature the original “stick in the rink” logo, with the “V” on the sleeves. The team will wear them on opening night as they face the Los Angeles Kings, the same team they faced in their season opener 40 years ago when they joined the NHL. This time we’re hoping for a win! View the gallery featuring Henrik Sedin and Orland Kurtenbach in the 40th Anniversary jerseys.

View the photo gallery of past Canucks jerseys.

So tell us, which is your favorite Canucks jersey and why?

I-5 Canucks – Will & Valerie Wittstruck
NHLHS Vancouver Canucks Correspondents
Twitter: @Hipcheck44 and @WCE71944

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