The Canucks Top 10 Warmup Jerseys

By: Reid Boerma / July 27, 2023  

Is anyone interested in some prime off-season hockey conversation? No? Too bad, it’s almost August and even Dhaliwal is tweeting golf photos. We’re in the middle of the off-season and although some of us may have moved on, others (like myself) are still reeling from the news that broke last month regarding the NHL ban on special event warmup jerseys across the league.

When I heard the news, it brought me back to when I first read Brayden’s article “A Hockey Fan Abroad“. One argument he made was for the NHL to grow the game of hockey through fashion. It was my favourite part of the article and something I think these warmup jerseys were on their way to doing. They were shared on social media, they shed light on a league that has been left behind in American culture and gave everyone (even people who did not care about the NHL) a reason to talk about the league. In my opinion, they were exactly the kind of out-of-the-box thinking needed. Unfortunately, Gary Bettman didn’t agree.

Focus on the Details

I started this article as a ranked top ten list. However, as I researched more into the intricacies of each jersey, not only did ranking become much more challenging, it became apparent that this article could come under heavy scrutiny due to the subjectiveness of the topic. How could I confidently rank one jersey higher than another when they each had their own details to fall in love with? Alas, this has now become a list with no clear ranking or order. I want to focus on what each jersey excels at and why they make my top ten.

All but one of the jerseys on this list were released during or after the 2021-22 season. In my opinion, the Canucks found their stride in the past two seasons with their designs and collaborations. They started incorporating more unique styles and colours, finding tasteful ways to pay homage to each night of celebration. It’s tragic that just as the team was finding their rhythm the league forced them to stop in their tracks, leaving these jerseys in the past, to be appreciated, discussed, and ranked by fans such as myself.

“I Don’t Take Responsibility at All”

Before I begin my list, I need to issue a disclaimer. I am no jersey connoisseur. I have no background in fashion, design or art. My most relevant claim to competency is “Drawing & Painting 10” from high school. To state it plainly, I am not qualified to be writing this. Unfortunately, the other option was leaving it to Trent or Brayden and I could not allow that to happen.

Please also keep in mind that I am in no way ranking the celebration nights themselves. They are all important and each help different groups of people feel included and seen. I would have loved for the continuation and potential expansion of this initiative. Instead, we’ll be lucky to get more than three jerseys next season.

Finally, on to my list.

2020-21 Armed Forces Appreciation Night

We’ll start this list off with the only jersey included from the 2020-21 season. I admire that the Canucks veered away from the standard camo-style jerseys we saw in previous seasons. These jerseys are closer to legitimate uniforms for an elite special ops unit. The dark is a great way to utilize neutral colours and allow the spray paint logo to pop in black and white.

The arm patch-style sleeves, name tags and mesh shoulders all create depth. They added layers without incorporating colours, staying true to the simple style of years past while still being able to add flair. It was a breath of fresh air.

2021-22 Diwali Night

This is the only jersey on my list to utilize the “Stick & Rink” as the front logo. The Canucks did an amazing job filling the white space with fun, vibrant designs while still leaving enough empty space to allow the logo to pop against the bright colour of the jersey.

The names in “Sanscrit” are what bring this jersey to the next level for me. The flow of the lettering is mesmerizing. The green background pulls out the interior green in the “V” on the shoulder. The flame is a great final touch, incorporating the importance of light to the celebration.

2021-22 Black History Month

This jersey combines what the previous two excelled at, bringing a dark base and injecting it with bits of red, yellow and green. The jersey went particularly well with the “Skate” jersey equipment. Fantastic choice from the Canucks to utilize this jersey on a night they were bringing out that equipment.

The black outline of the Orca (again using texture in place of colour) works in contrast with the numbers on the back, which use the same colour scheme as the logo through their outline. The shoulder patch follows suit, with the stick remaining black and the rink utilizing the same design as the rest of the jersey.

2022-23 Lunar New Year

Props to the Canucks for continuously finding fun ways to incorporate the animal of the year into their jersey. This may be the most natural incorporation, using the rabbit in motion to create the same effect as the original “Skate”.

Using different shades of red and gold allows the features to stand out. They even manage to sneak the original Skate logo onto the patch, while not making it a centrepiece. An under-rated detail was the outline around the numbering, surrounding the jersey in touches of gold.

Again, they wore these before donning the “Skate” jersey, and the equipment matched so well.

2022-23 Hockey Fights Cancer

This is the only jersey on my list that is designed as a game jersey (note: the Armed Forces may also pass as one). The Canucks found a way to pack as much pink onto this jersey without completely committing to a coloured base. The extended stripes on the sleeves fill the white space well, and every detail I can find is in some shade of pink.

My favourite touch is the patch at the bottom for players to sign the name of someone close to them who has been impacted by cancer. Unlike most other specialty jersey games, the best part about this night wasn’t the jersey; it was Beoser scoring the tying goal in the third period. Boeser’s jersey read “Dukey” in honour of his father, Duke, who had lost his battle with cancer and Parkinsons shortly after the 2021-22 regular season.

2022-23 Black History Month

Immediately, I need to point out the numbering on the back. Like the Diwali lettering, I appreciate when teams find ways to change up the jerseys in unorthodox ways. This became one of my personal favourites. The pattern is unique and creates an extraordinary contrast with the white in the logo.

An interview with the artist highlights how he incorporated his heritage into the design. My favourite touch is his replacement of the classic stick on the “Stick & Rink” logo with a traditional Genna stick. I highly recommend watching the interview.

2022-23 Diwali Night

I was delighted the Canucks brought back the “Sanscrit” from the previous year. Surprisingly, it wasn’t my favourite element. No, my favourite element was the numbering. The designs only took up the bottom portion of the numbers, with the rest of the space being filled with a deep blue, which hits different. I love the move to the larger, more detailed designs from the previous year, showcased just as well in the Orca logo.

The decision to turn the Orca into an outline opens space for the more intricate details to shine. They roughly follow where the standard features would be, while still creating their own flow. What a pleasant jersey to look at.

2022-23 First Nations Celebration Night

Next up is the most intimidating warmup jersey worn by the Canucks. It’s not surprising given this jersey was created in honour of Canucks legend Gino Odjick’s cousin by his cousin Jay, an Algonquin artist. Jay turned the skate into a thunderbird and added an arrow under the lettering. A stunning take on the Skate logo.

This jersey also introduced a new shoulder patch. As I learned through the CBC, the shoulder patch is a medicine wheel and contains eight feathers, one for each season Odjick played for the Canucks, along with his number. Like other jerseys listed, this one flexes its creativity through the design in the numbering which stems from Gino’s Anishinabe roots.

2021-22 Lunar New Year

Probably the most intricate patch on this list, the design is the Millenium Gate in Vancouver’s Chinatown with specific trees surrounding a symbol in each gate. Please read the artist’s description, explaining his reasoning behind the three gates. The intricacies are layered and beautiful.

The front logo also features the Orca being transformed into a Tiger, with the sharp lines in the Tiger contrasting well with the flowing smoke in the Orca outline. There’s not much more I can add, this design speaks for itself. Please read the short Twitter interview included in the link!

2021-22 Pride Night

If you are still here (or scrolled down looking for this jersey), thank you. This is my personal favourite, hence it being the finale of my list. The colours are both hectic and organized, while the white outline of the Orca ensures all focus goes toward this beautiful landscape of a design.

The story, as told here, showcases the queer experience and more clearly shows how detailed the logo is. I love everything from the sunset in the sky down to the dark sea below filled with Orcas. The patch is just as detailed, showing two Orcass in a yin-yang style formation and incorporating other components from the front logo. When the jersey was announced, we did an interview with Mio, the queer artist responsible for the design.

A Creative Time Capsule

It was important to me that I wrote this article as a celebration of our experience. Although some jerseys did not make this list, I was always excited to witness the creativity showcased and appreciate the efforts made by various artists to break away from the monotony of the standard designs.

I’m going to end this article with wise words from our dear friend Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”. The Canucks haven’t been near the top of the league for a while now, but they were leading the league in this category. I feel lucky to be in a market where these jerseys made such a large impact on the fan base. Hopefully, this list leaves our readers with a touch of gratitude for our trailblazing organization and the city/province it calls home.