As had been rumoured for some time, the Vancouver Canucks officially announced that they will be wearing throwback Vancouver Millionaires jerseys on March 16th against the Detroit Red Wings. It’s a great move for the team, as they further connect with the history of hockey in Vancouver.
The Millionaires were founded back in 1912, so the Canucks will be wearing the retro jerseys as part of celebrating the 100th anniversary of the team. The Canucks have already been wearing a Millionaires patch on their regular jerseys and have begun selling merchandise in the Canucks store with the logo, albeit in Canucks colours.
Since the actual 100th anniversary of the Millionaires would have come in 2012, I wonder if the Canucks had actually intended to debut the jerseys and wear them earlier in the season, but were prevented from doing so by the lockout. Taking a look at the Canucks’ original schedule, the perfect date to wear the jerseys would have been December 8th, when the Ottawa Senators were going to be in town.
Wearing the Millionaires jerseys on December 8th would have been the perfect opportunity to honour the history of hockey in Vancouver and simultaneously celebrate the city’s only Stanley Cup victory.
Yes, Vancouver has won the Stanley Cup; it’s just that the Cup was won way back in 1915 by a team that has no causal connection to the Canucks. The Millionaires, as champions of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, faced the Ottawa Senators, champions of the National Hockey Association, for the right to hoist the Stanley Cup. The Millionaires dominated the Senators, sweeping them in three games by a combined score of 26-8.
Hockey Hall of Fame legend (and purveyor of fine sports equipment and apparel), Fred “Cyclone” Taylor led the way with six goals, as the Millionaires won on home ice in Denman Arena.
The only issue is that the Millionaires bear no relation to the Canucks beyond playing in the same city. That said, unless the Canucks actually try to raise a Stanley Cup banner on March 16th, there’s nothing wrong with them claiming the history of the Millionaires as their own, as the Canucks do represent the continuation of professional hockey in the city of Vancouver.
Thus, wearing the Millionaires colours against the Ottawa Senators on December 8th would have been ideal. The Senators could have even worn their current third jerseys, which bear a strong resemblance to the ones they wore in 1915.
Wearing them against the Detroit Red Wings, an Original Six franchise, is an acceptable substitute, but having that extra connection to the history of the Millionaires franchise would have been even better. The Canucks have tried to emphasize the connection between the Red Wings and the Millionaires, as the Red Wings started their existence as the Victoria Cougars in the PCHA, with both teams started by the Patrick brothers, Frank and Lester, but the Stanley Cup victory over the original Senators franchise seems like a much stronger connection.
It’s entirely possible that their original plan was to wear the jerseys against the Senators, one that had to be changed when the lockout wiped out the first hald of the season. We have reached out to the Canucks for comment and will update if we hear from them.
Update: Director of Media Relations and Team Operations Ben Brown confirmed that there were no plans to introduce and wear the jerseys any earlier in the season, so the lockout did not change their plans. Since this March 16th game against the Red Wings was part of the original schedule, it was essentially the plan all along to introduce the jerseys at this time. Oh well, it was a fun theory while it lasted.
On the plus side, he also confirmed that the Canucks will have helmets that match the colour-scheme of the jerseys, avoiding the awkwardness of white helmets with cream pants that the Vancouver Giants encountered when they wore the retro throwbacks.
It will still be a special night on March 16th, particularly since the retro Millionaires jersey is gorgeous. The maroon and cream colour combination is fantastic and the design doesn’t stray too far from the originals, merely streamlining the logo itself.
Graphic designer and hockey jersey aficionado, John Van Der Woude, who previously appeared on PITB to rank the Canucks jerseys throughout their history, had some smart things to say about the new Millionaires design on his blog:
Yes, the logo is weird in the sense that nobody except for some Asian countries reads up to down, and absolutely nobody then reads down to up. And the font’s in Helvetica, which is a great font for readability, but has no character at all when placed on a hockey jersey. But the simplicity and ballsy bizarreness of it – as well as understanding that it was designed in a total different era where you could get away with weird things like this – makes me totally okay with it.
Aside from that, I love the simplicity of the uniform in general. One colour and white, which is what the Maple Leafs have been thriving on and succeeding with for decades. The stripes on the sleeves is a common aesthetic for the early days of hockey and it’s actually done quite well in this case.
The Canucks acquired the Millionaires trademarks on October 1, 2010 from Vancouver businessman and body building champion David Jon Mikl, better known as Jon Mikl Thor, seen here dancing around half-naked on the Merv Griffin Show in 1976.Tags: Canucks, Red Wings, Senators, Vancouver Millionaires