Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Vancouver Canucks - Part Two: Logo Shuffle

The Vancouver Canucks have gone through several different logo and sweater changes in its history. One of their first sweaters is now worn on the occasional "vintage night"; a blue rink-shaped rectangle with a hockey stick in it designed by Joe Borovich of North Vancouver. A version of this logo is still in use, as a shoulder patch on the team's current jerseys, with the modern team's colours.

In 1978, aiming for a more "aggressive" image, the team switched to one of its more controversial looks. The new sweaters consisted of a huge yellow, orange, and black striped "V" coming down from the shoulders which, depending on whom you ask, is usually considered to be either their best or (more commonly) worst sweater. This theme was abandoned in the mid-1980s to feature the team's emblem on the front rather than the "V" (the emblem had previously been worn only on the arms). The logo consisted of the word "Canucks" in a diagonal slant and is part of the blade of a skate. The logo, with its laser-like design, was sometimes referred to as the "Star Wars" logo, or, more commonly, the "Downhill Skate" or "Plate of Spaghetti". Eventually the yellow home jerseys were scrapped in 1989 in favour of more conventional white ones, and the triangular shoulder stripes which adorned the post-"V" jerseys were discarded at the same time. The new incarnation was worn from 1989-92, when a subtle change was made — and went largely unnoticed for the rest of the jersey's lifespan. The orange was switched to red, and the deep "gold" colour was changed to a much brighter yellow, reportedly because jersey-maker CCM no longer produced the required hues. Actor Martin Lawrence once wore this edition of the Vancouver jersey during an episode of his 1990s sitcom, "Martin". In the early 90's a "third" jersey was used, retaining the "Downward Skate" logo, but using a Salmon colour graduating to black near the bottom.

In 1996 the Canucks unveiled their new logo, in which a Haida-style killer whale (or orca) breaking out of a patch of ice forms a stylized "C". The logo has been much-maligned, accused of being a blatant reference to their parent company, Orca Bay At the time, GM Pat Quinn discussed wanting to have a west-coast colour scheme, and overall west-coast themes in the logo; the new colour scheme includes blue, red and white. Rumours still abound that the jersey was designed for an NHL team soon on the move. Had the Carolina franchise chosen to retain the "Whalers" nickname, the Canucks would today have a different look. In the late 1990s a new "third" jersey was utilized, with contrasting shoulder patches and a blue-to-maroon graduated colour in the body. In 2006 the Canucks officially abandoned their gradient red alternate jerseys and replaced them with the popular retro stick and rink blue uniforms from the 1970s.

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