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NHL’s Vancouver Canucks Unveil Chinese New Year Jersey

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When the NHL‘s Vancouver Canucks face off against the Edmonton Oilers on January 25, they won’t step on the ice wearing their usual blue and green.

Instead, the franchise is revealing a brand-new jersey to commemorate the upcoming Year of the Tiger, swapping blue and green for red and gold, with the team’s orca logo reimagined as a tiger breaching the water.

Players will don the new getup for warmup at the fourth-annual Lunar New Year Game at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.

According to CBC, the jersey was designed by Chinese-Canadian Trevor Lai, a Vancouver-born artist who is now based in Shanghai. While Lunar New Year jerseys are not new for the Canucks, Lai claims to be the first person ever to redesign the team’s 25-year-old orca logo.

“I came up with the idea of a tiger jumping out of water because normally the orca is breaking through ice,” Lai told CBC, adding, “I thought what we are trying to push as a message is change.”

The news comes amid a backdrop of rising violence and anti-Asian sentiments in Canada and worldwide since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Greater Vancouver has among the highest proportion of Asian residents anywhere in Canada, and Vancouver earned the unfortunate title of anti-Asian hate crime capital of North America in 2020. While there is some debate about the assertion, it is based on Vancouver Police Department data that noted a 717% increase from the previous year.

The Canucks for Kids Fund said that some of the proceeds from jersey sales would go to Elimin8Hate, a nonprofit advocating for racial equity for Asian Canadians.

In addition to the new logo design, the shoulder patches feature the famous “Millennium Gate” that sits at the entrance of historic Chinatown east of Downtown Vancouver.

The Chinese name for the Canucks is Jiaren dui (加人队), and Lai placed the characters between the gate’s pillars in his design.

Lai shared his thoughts on the jersey in a series of tweets posted to the Canucks’ team page: “The words at the top of the Millennium Gate say ‘remember the past & look forward to the future’ & I really wanted to include that in the patch.”

“We all want to look forward to the future, but we have to learn from our past so we can get better together,” he added.

Cover image via Twitter

Jesse Pottinger
    Jesse is a Vancouver-based journalist who spent four back-to-back summers living in Guangzhou and working with That’s magazines. He currently serves as a remotely-based junior editor with RADII. Jesse has spent considerable time traveling around China over the past half-decade and has something of a passion for dumplings. You can follow his adventures on Instagram at @messy_jesse.
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