Monday, August 24, 2009

1980-81 Vancouver Canucks Richard Brodeur Jersey

Today's Curious, Weird and Ugly™ Collection jersey sees us return to Vancouver once more with one of the strangest, yet most unforgettable jerseys to ever see the ice in an NHL contest.

From the Canucks inception in 1970-71 to 1977-78 the Canucks wore blue and green jerseys, another one of those lame "blue for water, green for trees" circumstances where a professional sports team feels they must be the leading voice for the local board of tourism. Well, in 1978, all that came to an abrupt end.

Before the 1978-79 season the Canucks hired a professional psychologist to redesign the uniforms. The old colors were determined to be "too bland, too tranquil and did not inspire emotion." The result was the "V" design, suggesting "victory" according to the designer. The bright orange was said to "evoke passion and aggression" while the black road jersey would instill fear in the opposition.

The jerseys featured no main team logo on the front, but instead a giant "V" shape done in bright orange and yellow on a black jersey. The sleeves also featured smaller "V" shapes midway down the arm with a new "Flying Skate" logo for the shoulders and the very unusual placement of the sleeve numbers at the very bottom of the arms on the wrists!

The "V" shape was not limited to just the jerseys either, as the breezers had giant multi-colored "V's" as well. During the first year these jerseys were worn, they even had "V" shaped stripes on the socks.


The Canucks introduced the jerseys, which none of the players had seen prior to the game, at the season opener in Minnesota. As Stan Smyl said, "I've never been ashamed to wear the Canuck's uniform, but that night none of us wanted to leave the dressing room."

They were met with much derision around the NHL and were often referred to as "those Halloween suits". Vancouver nearly got the last laugh however, as they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1982 before running into the New York Islanders dynasty which was in full stride. Time has settled on the nickname of "The Flying V" for these jerseys.

The basic jersey produced in 1978 remained in use until the 1984-85 season, but with a few adjustments along the way, such as a change in color for the names on the back, relocating the very unconventional sleeve numbers from the wrists to the shoulders and eventually evolving from one color names and numbers to two colors for both.

Some feel that the Canucks have never gotten it right, as the original logo was too simplistic, the Flying V was too hideous, the Flying Skate was too busy and the Orca logo too corporate, as the Canucks were owned by Orca Bay Entertainment when the Orca/Killer Whale logo was adopted.

This online exchange seems to sum up the Canucks jersey history quite succinctly.
Q: "Why are the Vancouver Canucks jersey's always ugly?

Seriously, there [sic] always horrible. Do the designers for Vancouver really think they look good? I always get a headache watching them play.

Vancouver fans, please answer! Please explain why you have idiots as designers?"

A: "I thought it was a league rule. Vancouver must always have the ugliest sweaters."
Maxim magazine, which I only read for the articles, rated the Flying V jerseys as "The Worst Sports Uniform" in any sport.

The only patch the Canucks wore on the Flying V jerseys was a "JCM" memorial patch to honor former GM Jake Milford in 1984-85.

I classify this jersey as "Curious" and "Weird". Many consider it ugly, but I'm actually quite a fan of the whole idea of trying to design a jersey in an effort to aid your team in victory. It took some bold thinking and a lot of guts for the designer to create it and then even more for the club to support the concept and stick with it for seven seasons. I can't see anyone in the NHL being bold enough to risk the large amounts of income clubs rely on from the marketing of jerseys by trying something so far outside the norm these days.

Yes, they are weird, when compared to the jerseys of the day, quite weird. One almost wonders why they even bothered to include the tiny sleeve numbers on the cuffs since they are so small and out of the way. The "Flying V" jerseys are also certainly a curiosity, as no other team followed them down the same path, leaving the "Flying V" as a truly unique chapter in NHL history.

This first example is a 1980-81 Vancouver Canucks home Richard Brodeur jersey with the one color names and numbers with the sleeve numbers on the cuffs as worn during their second season of use.

Vancouver Canucks 80-81 F
Vancouver Canucks 80-81 B

This second example is a 1982-83 Vancouver Canucks road Dave "Tiger" Williams jersey showing the evolution of the design, now with two color names and numbers and now having the sleeve numbers relocated to a more traditional shoulder location.

Vancouver Canucks 82-83 F
Vancouver Canucks 82-83 B

Here are some highlights of the Flying V jerseys in action, particularly from the Canucks 1982 Stanley Cup run.

No wonder they banned bench clearing brawls. What a load of nonsense.

Dasherboard: We reached a milestone here at Third String Goalie on Friday, as we received a hit from our 50th different country. This list of countries that have now visited this blog are;

  1. Albania
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Azerbaijan
  5. Belarus
  6. Belgium
  7. Brazil
  8. Canada
  9. Chile
  10. Columbia
  11. Costa Rica
  12. Czech Republic
  13. Denmark
  14. England
  15. Finland
  16. France
  17. Germany
  18. Greece
  19. Holland
  20. Hong Kong
  21. Hungary
  22. India
  23. Ireland
  24. Israel
  25. Italy
  26. Japan
  27. Kazakhstan
  28. Latvia
  29. Lithuania
  30. Malaysia
  31. Mexico
  32. New Zealand
  33. Phillipines
  34. Poland
  35. Portugal
  36. Russia
  37. Saudi Arabia
  38. Serbia
  39. Singapore
  40. Scotland
  41. Slovakia
  42. South Korea
  43. Spain
  44. Sweden
  45. Switzerland
  46. Taiwan
  47. Turkey
  48. Ukraine
  49. United States
  50. Venezuela
Heaven only knows what the poor guys from South America and Saudia Arabia were actually looking for when they stumbled across this blog...

Thanks to everyone who has become a regular reader, especially you in Helsinki, Finland, in Lower Hutt, New Zealand and Taipei, Taiwan. I see your regular visits on my tracking map and appreciate your regular visits. I must also mention the tremendous amounts of hits I've received from the United Kingdom. There's more puckheads there than I ever anticipated. Cheers!

Also thanks to anyone who has added Third String Goalie to your Google or Yahoo home page, signed up to follow us on Twitter, retweeted any of our posts on Twitter, is one of our followers on blogspot, posted about us on a message board you frequent, mentioned us to your friends or clicked on any of the links to the advertisements on this site. Those help more than you know.

Special thanks to those of you who have linked to this blog from your own blog. I can only hope that the traffic I've sent your way is near as much as you have sent to me.

Also many thanks to anyone who has left any comments to any of my entries. Getting a reaction from what I have written is always fun and keeps my batteries charged.

A big, big thanks to those of you who help me acquire any of the jerseys that were previously listed on my wantlist. Finally getting a maroon Latvian jersey and a blue French National Team jersey were highlights of the last several months of working to make this a worthwhile stop in the vast sea of the internet.

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