The Vancouver Canucks have a colourful jersey history, which isn’t exactly a good thing. Recently, over at Puck Daddy, we talked about the Philadelphia Flyers narrowly avoiding a run-in with 90s-era teal that would have been a black mark — well, a teal mark — on the franchise’s relatively pure colour palette. For them, it’s always been orange and black. Nothing else.
Not so for the Canucks, whose colours throughout history are almost enough to fill one of those giant Prismacolor coloured pencil sets: blue, navy blue, green, white, silver, yellow, gold, orange, red, maroon, burgundy, and probably some others I’ve forgotten. As Sean McIndoe observed, perhaps the most embarrassing line on the Canucks’ Wikipedia page is this one:
“The team has gone through thirteen different logo and jersey changes in its history.”
All that in mind, you can understand why people might balk at yet another makeover, but Tuesday, during his appearance on the Team 1040 with Matt Sekeres, Trevor Linden suggested the team was indeed considering another change: a swap from the orca to Johnny Canuck as the primary logo.
I pressed for details on which Johnny Canuck logo he meant. There are two, after all. Johnny Canuck in stride, and Johnny Canuck in the trash, as people often describe it:
But I was told that Linden didn’t specify.
I can only hope that he meant the one on the left. If so, yes please. I love this logo. It’s that perfect mix of complex and simple. In terms of complexity, there’s history in the Canucks sporting the V, and Johnny Canuck himself. But it’s also simple enough for kids to sketch, whereas Johnny Canuck in stride is a little too intricate, I think. Sure, he’s a cartoon character, but so are the Ottawa Senator, Chicago Blackhawk, and Pittsburgh Penguin. It works, as long as it’s not too infantile, and I don’t think this one is. (Heck, if anything, he has a touch of Vancouver hipster, for that Commercial Drive crowd).
I love the Johnny Canuck V logo, and I think it, more than any other logo the Canucks have had, represents the city. (Let’s not talk about the HF boards logo that tries to blend the two Johnny Canuck images — it’s cool right up until you consider that a man skating out of a giant V is pretty easy to make fun of.)
And let’s be honest: the orca’s connection to the Canucks is tenuous at best. It was the logo unveiled when the team was taken over by Orca Bay. Its ties are to an ownership group, not the city, not to mention one that a) wasn’t even based in the city, and b) is no longer here.
It seems to me the strongest argument for keeping the orca is that the Canucks change their logo too much, and while that’s true, I think we should embrace our history as the most fashion-conscious team in hockey. After all, the worst thing you can be is an outfit-repeater. I learned that from Lizzie McGuire:
If the Canucks swapped this logo with the orca, it’d be the first time I can remember where I was 100% onboard with their primary jersey.
But that’s just my opinion. Heaven knows that Vancouverites have varied opinions on what the Canucks should and shouldn’t be wearing, so I’ll turn the floor over to a few others — Daniel Wagner, who you know from this blog right here, the one you’re reading, Rob Williams of Vancity Buzz, and John Van Der Woude of Hockey By Design, and this excellent PITB guest post detailing the best and worst Canuck jerseys throughout history.
Should the Canucks go to the Johnny Canuck “V” logo as their primary?
ROB: No! I’m done with changing the logo or colour scheme drastically. I have been a fan for 25 years and in that time they’ve had three drastically different colour schemes and two drastically different logos, not to mention numerous small tweaks here and there.
Their current look isn’t perfect, but it has some semblance of history and I would like the team to keep some kind of consistency. I don’t like the fact that a group of five Canucks fans can look like they’re cheering for five different teams when they’re wearing their stick/rink, flying V, skate, old orca and new orca jerseys.
JOHN: Definitely not. The Johnny Canuck logo works great as an alternate or secondary logo, but it’s way too cartoon-like to work as the primary logo in the NHL. Minor league logo, sure, it would work great, but the best hockey league in the world has to keep a sense of professionalism in their logos.
That’s not to say that aren’t some awful logos in the league, because there definitely are, but Johnny Canuck looking like he’s wearing a toque and a v-neck t-shirt (or worse, decapitated) just isn’t good enough. Think the Ottawa Senators logo, because that’s where I’d place Johnny Canuck as a primary logo. The orca logo isn’t the greatest logo in the league either and could use some major refinements, but it has a great structure and concept at its core: the C, First Nations elements, an orca…it represents Vancouver well.
DANIEL: Harrison, you ignorant slut. The Johnny Canuck logo works great on the shoulder of a jersey. I even recognize the history of Johnny Canuck and its importance to the history of the Canucks themselves. But there’s no getting around it: he’s a cartoon character.
What are the best and worst Canuck jerseys of all-time?
ROB: I think the current ones are the best they have ever had. It certainly has the best colour scheme, although I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of the logo. The third jersey and their original jerseys are great too, but I think the stick in rink logo is a little boring as a primary logo.
JOHN: The greatest Canucks jersey of all time are one of the current ones. I’ll give the slight nod to the road whites over the home blues because they look incredibly slick on the ice, with lots of blue and green included in the design to make it stand out – having the large blue cuffs was a great decision.
But both are classy, consistent, perfectly balance the blue and green and are relatively unique to the league in terms of the colour combination being used. It’s one of the most under-rated jerseys in the league right now. It takes time to create and develop a brand and identity, and the Canucks have never given any of their visual identities the time to really become classic. The foundation is good with this one, and with some refinement (again, especially to the logo), it could be a really classic visual identity.
DANIEL: The worst logo in Canucks history? I have to go off the board to all the re-designs people have made that try to re-do the skate logo in current blue and green colours. It just doesn’t work, people. Let it go.