Grading Vancouver Canucks' New Alternate Sweaters

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2013

Via Vancouver Canucks
Via Vancouver Canucks

The city of Vancouver has one of the richest histories in all of professional hockey, and the Canucks seem to be making a concerted effort to honor that history with the introduction of a new sweater.

The Canucks took to their Twitter and Instagram feed on Friday to introduce their new alternate sweaters, a move that should bring joy to Vancouver residents young and old:

Vancouver Canucks @Canucks

We're making an announcement this morning... http://t.co/qFExhHGePY

Officially announced by the team in early February, the new sweater is an homage to the Vancouver Millionaires. Here is a brief look at the Canucks' statement released along with the sweater announcement last month, via the team's official website:

This season your Vancouver Canucks will wear the Millionaires' "V" on our jersey, to honour those whose spirit laid the path we stand on today. And join us for a very special night on March 16th, to celebrate Vancouver's 100-year hockey legacy, as we proudly wear the historic uniform of the Vancouver Millionaires. 

The Millionaires were active from 1911 to 1926 and were one of the best teams in the world at the time. Vancouver dominated the Pacific Coast Hockey Association, and made the Stanley Cup Final four times, winning it in 1915.

When the Canucks purchased the team's logo and trademark rights in 2010, many fans anxiously awaited seeing the infamous "V" on their sweater. Well, that day has come. How do the sweaters grade out overall? Here is a complete breakdown of the Canucks' new alternate jerseys. 

Wow Factor: 9/10

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As we have seen throughout recent history, bringing back throwbacks is always a risky proposition for teams. For every utterly brilliant flash from the past, there seems to be five cringe-worthy jerseys that were better off being left in their decade.

That makes nearly all throwbacks wow-worthy upon first glance. As for these particular Canucks digs, you'll have a hard time finding something that's more of its era.

The simplicity of design is a throwback to a much simpler time where players likely made more money with their offseason accounting jobs than they did on the ice. Maroon is a color you so rarely see on sweaters these days—for what reason, I'm unsure—so that makes the "classic" look stand out even more.

Sure, Vancouver could have created more mainstream buzz if it threw a bunch of paint buckets at a sweater and called it a day. But there isn't a hockey fan alive who won't sit and appreciate this sweater, for both its history and attention-grabbing ability.

Design: 10/10

Honoring the past is always a tricky proposition for modern-day designers. There is always the temptation to modernize the designs of yesteryear, to add a little bit of flair to the mostly understated look.

Much to their credit, the Canucks bucked that temptation here. They very easily could have used their flashier colorway, slapped the classic "V" logo on there and still honored the millionaires. But when you compare the Canucks' new alternate to the Millionaires' look from the early 1900s, it's apparent that very little, if anything, was changed. 

And that's a good thing. The Millionaires have one of the nicest old-school hockey sweaters you will ever see, with "Vancouver" spelled out inside the "V" logo and large, totally of their era white stripes down the sleeves.

It's a wonderfully understated and classy sweater. Though these releases are usually shameless money grabs for teams, this is one of the cases where fans will be more than proud to shell out their hard-earned money for a new replica sweater.

Overall Grade: 9.5/10

It hasn't been announced how often the Canucks will be wearing these sweaters. They could just simply be worn on the previously announced March 16 date and then thrown in a closet somewhere, only to be worn on extremely rare occasions.

However, something tells me fans wouldn't mind if Vancouver brought back the Millionaires' colors and logo on a weekly basis. The Canucks have a nice, modern sweater as it stands, but this classic look could probably take over without anyone batting an eye.

It's a typically understated sweater that sticks to the script of the previous era and honors the city's rich hockey history. Though it's hard to give a perfect grade to any sweater, this Millionaires look gets darned close. 

In an era where so many "throwbacks" get roundly panned, the Canucks came through with a huge win here. Expect plenty of replicas to be in the stands when the team honors the Millionaires at Rogers Arena later this month. 



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