Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Fabric Surgeons?

While we had the pleasure of seeing the Buffalo Sabres go through an entire makeover for the third time in the last decade, there are a few teams who have recreated their images a number of times since their starts in the NHL. There are the obvious teams like the Ducks and Kings who have rebranded themselves in completely new looks, but some teams have evolved their logos before completely going in a different direction altogether. One such team is the Vancouver Canucks, and they have certainly had their fair share of wardrobe makeovers over the years. Today, HBIC is proud to bring back Peter Santellan, author of the Pucks and Rocks blog, to discuss the many jerseys worn by his favorite NHL team.

We met Peter last week when he wrote a great piece on the leaked images of the new Buffalo Sabres jerseys, and those photos turned out to be entirely correct. Peter is a die-hard Canucks fan, loves a good rock riff, and is an amateur artist and journalist! Here is Peter with his view on the many changing jerseys of the Vancouver Canucks.

When I tried to come up with a piece, I wanted to do something on the Canucks. However, since I haven't gotten to them yet on my blog's NHL season preview, that pretty much leaves my hands tied. I can talk about who should be captain now that Roberto Luongo relinquished the duties, but trying to fill the space would be a chore, especially since the argument for who would be captain is pretty much down to two people. So, to keep with what I talked about on Thursday, today is about the many appearances of the Vancouver Canucks over the years.

Like the Sabres, the Canucks are celebrating their 40th year in the league and, to celebrate, they are bringing out from the mothballs their original jerseys from the inaugural year (well, the RBK Edge designed version, anyway). This jersey pretty much imitates the look of the Canucks' first year, right down to the "V" that goes across the striping on the sleeves. There will be no nameplate on the back, so unless you know your Canucks, you're out of luck. Now, this is going to be their fourth jersey for the year, as they already have their standard home and away jerseys with the Raging "C" Orca below the VANCOUVER lettering and their third jersey, which features their original stick in a rink logo (which is the shoulder patch on the home and away jerseys) and Johnny Canuck's head connected to the "V" on the shoulders.

I know what you're saying, and yes, four jerseys to be worn in one year can be one big adventure. However, the Canucks have been anything but conventional when it comes to jersey fashion. The original stick-in-rink logo had the blue and green color scheme from birth until the late 70's, when they decided to go with those "Flying V" jerseys.

As weird as those jerseys were, one can argue that they wouldn't be suitable for any team except the Canucks. After all, good fashion sense hasn't always been associated with the Pacific Northwest/Canadian Pacifc area. Remember the Seahawks and their hideous lime green jerseys last season? How about the Grizzlies when they were in Vancouver and those teal jerseys? The "Flying V" jerseys weren't actually too bad when they went with the road blacks. However, when they went with the home yellows, it's time to put on the sunglasses.

Eventually, in the mid to late 80's, the Canucks ditched the "Flying V" jerseys and went with a more conventional look while keeping the home yellows. The logo to be put on the front: the "plate of spaghetti" that was on the shoulders of the "Flying V" jerseys. Soon, the Canucks went with the more conventional white home jerseys and the shade of orange became red.

That lasted until 1997, which coincided with the Canucks' signing of Mark Messier. That introduced the Raging "C" Orca and a completely different color scheme as the Canucks went with ocean blue, red, navy blue, and silver as the colors. For the most part, those jerseys were fairly monochromatic in the sense that they lacked the character of the original jerseys, the color of the "Flying Vs" and the weirdness of the plate of spaghetti years. In fact, this was probably the Canucks at their most serious... until they introduced those third jerseys that had the navy blue fading into the red with the Raging Orca on the front of the jersey.

If you recall, the Canucks did something similar in 1996, with the gradients and subliminal processing. That jersey wasn't too terrible, if only because the Kings, Bruins, and Mighty Ducks all introduced third jerseys at the same time.

As for the "blue and red" era, it gained some of the vintage look when the stick-in-rink logo returned as a shoulder patch until 2007. For a time after the lockout, the Canucks also had a vintage jersey that looked a lot like the team's jerseys from the early years. 2007 was the year that the RBK Edge jerseys came into existence, in which all teams adjusted their jerseys according to the design of the jersey. It was at that time that the Canucks went back to the blue and green color scheme, but kept the Orca as its primary logo.

Yes, the Canucks have had quite the history when it comes to jersey designs and logos, as well as colors schemes. In fact, they have more major makeovers than any other team in the league. One thing is for certain, you know which version of the Canucks is your favorite just by looking at the logo.

Wow! Great job, Peter! There is your visual look at the history of the Canucks' uniforms, brought to you by Mr. Santellan!

Personally, I always liked the jerseys that the Canucks wore in the 1990s before the Messier/Keenan era started. I understand why they went away from that look with the ownership changes, but that colour combination screams "Vancouver Canucks". It is unique to them, and that's entirely what you want when running a team.

Which Canucks jersey is your favorite? Which one do you like the least? Hit the comments with your thoughts, and Peter can check in and discuss as well! Thanks again for the great article, Peter!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Peter Santellan said...

I am partial to the plate of spaghetti jerseys, since that was associated with the Pavel Bure era, and the current home and away jerseys. I actually have the home blue jersey, so there is some bias there.