“V” For Variety: Canucks Garb Runs The Gamut

GUEST POST from “Pro Stock Hockey”.

“V” For Variety: Canucks Garb Runs The Gamut

Those Vancouver hockey guys, what a bunch of Canuckleheads.

The franchise is 0-for-3 in the Stanley Cup Final, but is widely credited with inflicting the ugliest sweater in hockey history upon the NHL. Additionally, among a garish group that launched the third jersey craze, the Canucks’ alternate might have committed the greatest sartorial sin.

Yet, when Vancouver joined the league in 1970, it did so with one of the most sublime logos ever rendered, and after draping a couple of crummy crests over some putrid palettes, are again among the sharpest dressers on ice.

In the Beginning…

Joe Borovich was a young graphic designer living in a basement apartment down the street from the Pacific Coliseum when he entered a contest to design the uniform for the stadium’s new tenants. Other tenants from Europe, the United States and Canada failed to top his design.

He chose blue for the Pacific Ocean, green for the forests of British Columbia and white for its mountain peaks. The color palette, freshly abandoned by the Oakland Seals (who under new owner Charles Finley transitioned to the green and gold of his baseball team), was otherwise unused in the league — but that wasn’t the best part.

Borovich’s logo, a hockey stick laid horizontally into a rink and overlapping the boards on the right to create a “C”, was simple perfection. It lasted eight seasons, and gave way to …

Halloween Horror

How to describe it? A V-neck smock from a forgotten fast food franchise? An inverted traffic cone trimmed in baby-puke yellow and black? A Duraflame log?

Whatever. A San Francisco-based design firm coughed up this orange, yellow and black cacophony, the striping creating “Vs” on the chest, neck and sleeves (and socks, and pants). Supposedly, some people like it. But then, some people like candy corn.

For seven seasons, Canucks players got heckled with “Trick or treat!”

The Road Back to Borovich

In ensuing seasons, the Canucks have made changes large and small to their look, eventually arriving back at blue, green and white. Here are some of the more notable looks along the way:

1985: The “spaghetti bowl” or “flying skate” logo introduced as a sleeve patch on the “V” jersey is moved front and center. The logo is pretty busy, with more than a dozen parallel stripes forming a skate, above a blade spelling “Canucks.” Otherwise, this retains most of the unfortunate elements of the “V” design.

1989: The home jersey goes from yellow to white, and the last “V” elements — on the shoulders and pants — disappear.

1995: Five teams (Anaheim, Boston, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh in addition to Vancouver) launch the third jersey program. The Canucks drop their spaghetti plate into an off-center, yellow “V” that starts at the right cuff and fades into a field of marroon. There’s a lot going on here, not much of it good.

1997: New colors – navy blue, sky blue, maroon and silver — arrive along with a new logo. That crest creates a “C” from a killer whale — a nod to the Canucks’ parent company at the time, Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment — emerging from the sea.

2001: A new alternate ditches any white trim and features a torso that starts blue at the shoulders and fades into maroon at the chest.

2003: The “stick-in-rink” original logo returns as a shoulder patch.

2006: The 2001 alternate goes away in favor of a throwback to the original blue road jersey.

2007: Reebok takes over as the NHL’s jersey supplier, returns the Canucks to their original colors but uses a new variation on the orca logo.

2008: A modern take on the original logo — the stick is more pronounced, the “C” more obvious — is featured on the new blue alternate.

2017: With Adidas in its first season as jersey suppliers, the alternate goes away. But the guess is here, not for long.

Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3, and hasn’t put it down yet.

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