December 23, 2011

A Canucks Jersey For Christmas

All I ever wanted for Christmas was a Vancouver Canucks jersey.

Now many of you kids out there today can relate to that idea. All ye faithful Canucks fans proudly wear the colours these days, but when I was a kid nobody else wanted a Canucks jersey. The Canucks were cellar dwellers in a league dominated by Edmonton and Calgary. And their jerseys were, well, downright ugly. The only thing scarier than the defense pairing of Doug Halward and Neil Belland were those dreadful jerseys.

I’m not even talking about those infamous “V” jerseys. I wanted one of those golden specials with the skate going downhill faster than the team in the old Smythe Division standings.

The kids nowadays have no idea how hard it was to wear the colours of Canucks Nation back then. This is a franchise better known for - sing it with me now - 4 logo changes, 3 lost decades, 2 Stanley Cup riots and a mugging by Todd Bertuzzi.

That and the colours were awful back then: Darth Vader black with ketchup red and way too much mustard yellow. Back then you were far more likely to see eight maids-a-milking than a kid wearing a yellow Trevor Linden #16 jersey.

But that is exactly what I wanted for Christmas. Linden was my hero. The Canucks were my team. I did not care if they only had 59 points the season before. I would wear the jersey with pride!
After years of nagging Santa Claus and just about everybody else I knew, I finally got that jersey. The only thing was it was too small. I was a tall, lanky kid, and this jersey was a little too short and it was tighter than Scrooge during the holidays.

I did not mind that so much. But I never liked the ironed on numbers and name plate. I guess I forgot to specify I wanted the authentic replica, complete with stitched on numbers and letters. Those plasticy, ironed-on numbers were almost as embarrassing as the Canucks play back then. But I wore it to school all the time. I even got a school photo done in it once.

When I got older I bought my own Trevor Linden jersey. Complete replica, with stitched on numbers and letters even. I spent over $300 at General Motors Place for it. I didn’t even like those dark blue orca jerseys, but I wore it with elation. Finally, a truly authentic Trevor Linden Canucks jersey! It was a Christmas present to myself.

Three weeks later the Canucks traded Trevor Linden to New York. Mike Keenan and Mark Messier played the role of Grinch, and I was so upset that I never wore that jersey again for five years. Not until the day the Canucks traded to get Linden back. Christmas came early that year – I could wear my jersey again!

Of course the Canucks soon thereafter changed their color scheme to the current beauties. So I took my out-of-date Linden jersey out of circulation.

When Trevor Linden retired soon thereafter, I adopted the Sedin twins as my new favourite Canucks, with Henrik getting an edge in my books because he played centre. Yet I still did not have his jersey, or any new Canucks jersey at all. My girlfriend did not understand it, but I had been haunted too often by the ghosts of Canucks jerseys past.

So imagine my surprise two Christmases ago when I opened my gift from my girlfriend – a Henrik Sedin authentic Canucks jersey! Thanks to a Hart Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and Olympic gold medal in his trophy case, and a no-trade clause in his contract I can finally wear my Vancouver Canucks jersey with great pride. Talk about joy to the world!

Here’s hoping all Canucks fans have a blue – and green with white trim – Christmas. May you wear your jerseys with pride this holiday and in the playoffs – the most wonderful time of the year.

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