Here it is- the third and final part to Vancouver Canucks’ Uniform History! This three-part series covers the aesthetic changes of the hockey club throughout the past 47 years. Take a stroll down memory lane by reading Part I and Part II, which covers 1970-1988 and 1989-2007, respectively.
The Wordmark Era
After a year of Reebok-branded CCM jerseys, the NHL made the transition to the Reebok Edge uniform system for the 2007-08 season. Changes included a more tapered cut, new lightweight materials, and for most teams, a new look. For more details about the changes, take a look at my post which covers the last Decade of Reebok Edge.
The Canucks were one of the teams to switch it up with a combination of old and new. While they brought back an earlier design, the Orca survived albeit with a simpler colour scheme of silver, white, and blue. The team also added an arched “VANCOUVER” wordmark above the Orca, which caused some controversy with some believing it was a cheap way to capitalize on the upcoming Olympic Winter Games held in the city. However, the organization has maintained that the wordmark is a homage to the original WHL Canucks who wore a similar wordmark on their jerseys.
The Canucks’ original royal blue and kelly green colour scheme was brought back, replacing the navy blue, maroon, and silver look used since 1997-98. The layout was near-identical to the jerseys used from 1972-78, with the thick green waist and sleeve stripes flanked on both sides by thinner white ones on the home blue jerseys. The white away jerseys were very similar, except swapping the green with blue and white with green and adding a blue below it. The socks had almost identical striping to the jersey, except the thick middle stripe was a little bit thinner.
The only patch the Vancouver Canucks wore on this particular style (with the vector logo) was a small, insignificant patch known as the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals patch. I kid, of course, because it was a big deal being the third time reaching the finals in franchise history, and the first with a dominant team to boot.
Well actually that’s not quite accurate; they would have worn it except for the fact that the NHL cancelled the Finals that year and everyone just went on with their summer because nothing significant happened. Just kidding.
Due to manufacturing restrictions, no teams were able to design alternate jerseys for the first year of Reebok’s Edge uniform system. However, things smoothed out by year two, and the Canucks took advantage by unveiling an alternate uniform that many believe should have been their primary. In this design, the updated stick-in-rink logo used as the primary jersey’s shoulder patch became the main crest, with a Johnny Canuck-inspired patch in its place.
Striping was also slightly altered on these royal blue jerseys, with the centre stripe becoming a bit thinner, leaving a bit of space between it and the two thinner stripes flanking it.
The Vancouver Canucks celebrated their 40th anniversary with retro throwbacks to their original uniform worn from 1970-72. To give the organization credit, they were basically identical complete with the lack of a nameplate. The jersey was white and featured two thick waist stripes of white and blue. The sleeves had the same pattern, except for the white “V” overlayed on top of them. The socks were also faithful to the original design, featuring two thick stripes, again green and blue.
And of course, the Canucks wore a special 40th Anniversary patch on the right chest. The genuine patch was only found on the players’ on-ice jerseys and Premiers sold through the official Team Store, which meant that anyone who bought the jersey from other channels were forced to look for aftermarket replicas.
Another fun fact: Because these alternate jerseys were white, teams visiting Rogers Arena would have to bring their home dark uniforms. The Canucks wore this jersey on opening night against the Kings, who wore their own throwback purple (sorry, forum blue) jerseys- the same ones worn in the Canucks’ first-ever game in the league.
A very minor change was made to all NHL jerseys during the summer of nothing: the Reebok Vector logo used since the 2006-07 season was replaced with the wordmark logo as part of the company’s rebranding. Other than that though, the jerseys were identical to the ones used prior.
The only patch used on this jersey is the silver NHL Centennial ‘100’ patch, which was worn on the right sleeve below the numbers. Weird location, I know.
Fun fact: While the Vector logo was embroidered directly on Reebok’s Premier fan jerseys, the wordmark was a separate patch heat-pressed on. They were both separate patches on Edge authentic jerseys, so this meant that Premiers became a tiny bit more accurate because of this change.
2013, 2014, 2015
The Canucks honoured the Vancouver Millionaires, the first/only Vancouver-based hockey team to win the Stanley Cup, by sporting their colours on three separate occasions. Well, it was a little more than sporting just their colours- they wore a near-identical version of the Millionaires’ sweaters. The burgundy jersey featured a felt V-shaped crest with the word “VANCOUVER” written inside, as well as four cream-coloured arm stripes and a bottom hem of the same colour.
In its first occasion on March 16, 2013, the team wore a name + number kit that was meant to imitate the ones worn in 1915. Only thing is that it was made of tackle twill while the kit sold on fan jerseys were felt and of the standard block font, meaning that almost no one got an exact replica of the on-ice jerseys.
The Canucks wore their Millionaires jersey for the second time (and with the felt lettering kit) during the 2014 Heritage Classic, and what a sight it was! Apart from the roof being closed due to the threat of rain, it was beautiful seeing the burgundy and cream matched up with Ottawa’s own retro design. And of course, the team wore the Heritage Classic patch, which was moved from the shoulder to chest last-minute probably for visibility reasons.
The third and last time the team wore these jerseys was to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their Cup win. They used the felt lettering kit from the Heritage Classic, although the NHL shield was of the older embroidered style.
And just FYI, the Canucks lost all three games, as well as Daniel Sedin to injury during the Heritage Classic so we don’t talk about these cursed jerseys anymore.
The last Canucks specialty jersey of the Reebok/Wordmark Era was worn on February 14, 2016. As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Rogers Arena (then known as GM Place), the Canucks hosted Retro Night against the Leafs, who we beat on our way to the 1994 Cup Finals in these very jerseys.
Striping and colour was identical to the jerseys worn from 1992-97, with a thinner blood-red stripe paired with a thicker one in yellow. However, the Canucks did not wear the Canuck Place patch, which I feel was a huge missed opportunity.
The Adizero Era
The NHL once again made the transition to a different brand of jerseys in 2017- this time to Adidas (who actually owns Reebok, but whatever). Known as Adizero, the system featured Climalite technology which is lighter, stronger, and more durable than its predecessor (Basically, it is X-trafil 2.0). The new jerseys also had a slightly different cut, a new collar design and NHL shield, dotted shoulders, and a few things that the teams could opt for such as perforated numbers and sublimated shoulder patches.
More information about the Adidas system can be found in my post breaking down the Canucks’ Adizero jerseys.
While some teams in the league took the opportunities to update their uniforms, the Canucks’ look stayed mostly the same except for a few minor tweaks. While the colours, striping, logo, wordmark, and patches all remained, the devil was in the details. The collar underwent probably the biggest change, becoming a thick white band that goes about 3/4s of the way around the neck. I prefer this bolder design especially compared to the Reebok’s flimsy tapered V-neck.
Other changes were more minor: the shoulder patches were sublimated instead of embroidered to increase flexibility (and presumably decrease costs), shoulders are now dotted just like the rest of the league, and the middle stripe on the socks became thicker to match the jerseys.
With this jersey being unveiled in 2017, the Centennial ‘100’ patch carried over and stayed on its right sleeve for the rest of the year. The Canucks also wore the NHL China Games patch during the two matches played against the LA Kings in Shanghai and Beijing, China.
While the unveil of the new Canucks jerseys in 2007 was a disappointment for many, the organization wanted to create a long-lasting team identity around these jerseys and colours. The result is many great memories attached to the Orca v2, including the rise of Sedinery, rock-solid goaltending with Luongo and Schneider, dragon slayers, and the 2011 Stanley Cup Run.
So it looks like their plan worked; as much as I think the aesthetics of this designs could be improved, I wouldn’t want an overhaul because the Canucks have played some of their best hockey ever wearing the blue and green.
And that concludes this three part series! Again, make sure you take a look at Part I and Part II as well if you haven’t already, or if you’re interesting in learning more about jerseys take a look at my Mail Day posts as well as my breakdown of the Reebok Edge and Adidas Adizero jersey systems.