If you’re not scoring points in the game, you might as well score some points with the fans, and the Vancouver Canucks are doing exactly that. For the upcoming 2019-20 season, the British Columbia team is bringing back its storied “Black Stake” jersey for three games.
The origins of “Black Skate” jersey go back further than its debut to the inaugural season of the “Flying V” sweater.A gruesome car-wreck of a design featured a large V across the front of the jersey. This jersey also shifted the color palette of the Canucks from blue-and-green to a provocative red-and-gold approach.
Designer Bill Boyd relayed to Global News in 2018 that “With the Canuck uniforms, we are going from the coolest of colors, blue-green, to the hottest, red-orange. The cool color is passive, the hot one aggressive. Plus the black. It’s the contrast of colors that creates emotion. White produces no response at all, so we went with yellow, which is warm, pleasant, happy. What we are attempting to create is an atmosphere that will help create the happy, upbeat, aggressive player.”
This jersey was discontinued in 1985 but parts of the ill-fated design remained. The Flying V was still present on the shoulders and pants and that smoldering yellow was the sweater’s primary color while the “Flying Skate” maintained some orange highlights.
Brian Burke, the Canucks’ assistant general manager at the time, called their home jersey color “puke yellow.”
At this monumental moment in history, in steps Jeremie White, a local designer, only 20 years old. After a sufficient amount of begging he got a meeting with the team and earned a chance to redesign the Canucks uniforms. His first attempt had a color scheme (teal, white and black) that would essentially be adopted by the San Jose Sharks only a few years later in 1991.
“The uniforms I originally proposed to Brian Burke were really a way to get in the door with the Canucks,” White told Daily Hive. “In hindsight they remind me of the San Jose Sharks west coast look they adopted a few years later.”
White claims that Burke really liked the look but ownership had already paid a San Francisco design firm $100,000. Working within their restrictive guidelines, he did make a few subtle changes by removing the V from their shoulder and pants and using white as the jersey’s primary color at home.
The “Flying Skate” switched from orange to red in 1992 but otherwise stayed the same until the Orca jersey arrived in 1997. With any luck, the return of this historic jersey won’t just herald additional sales, but also another trip to the Stanley Cup. ■
Kyle Scully is a lifelong Sharks fan whose secret dream is to attend the Sloan Analytics Conference. Loves Zebra from Popcornopolis but only eats it at hockey games. Follow him on Twitter @socal_scully