VANCOUVER - When the Vancouver Canucks played in the Stanley Cup final in 1994, Kayle Moreland wasn't even born yet.
Moreland came into this world later that year, but the 17-year-old has always held up the '94 squad as the model by which all future Canucks should be measured.
So as the team competes against the Boston Bruins in this year's Stanley Cup final, Moreland has been wearing a jersey that harkens back to the year of his birth. The uniform is adorned with the instantly recognizable black, yellow and red stylized hockey skate, with the word "Canucks" forming the blade—a logo frequently compared to a plate of spaghetti.
"I feel that it represents Vancouver more than the current jerseys," says Moreland, who is from suburban Langley and has been watching the games on large outdoor screens in downtown Vancouver.
"In 1994, they should have won the cup. It's just really sad that they just couldn't go as far as I think the Canucks can go right now."
Moreland is still fond of the team's current logo, also wearing a toque emblazoned with the modern-day orca design, but, as he puts it: "Nothing beats the yellow, black and red."
The jerseys and logos worn by the Vancouver Canucks—and, consequently, their fans—have seen several drastic changes in the four decades since the team entered the NHL, and pretty much all of those iterations can be spotted in the throngs of people out celebrating the playoffs in recent weeks.
The team's first jerseys in 1970 featured a simple blue ice rink with a white hockey stick on top, the slice of stick splitting the rink into a blue C, at least if one squints. A blue and green version of that logo is currently splashed on the team's third jersey, added to the mix several years ago.
In 1978, the team's uniforms underwent a dramatic change, adopting the so-called flying V design. It was a beaming yellow jersey with black and red stripes forming a V at the front. Even today it continues to divide fans between those who see it as an important icon from the team's history and others who never got over just how ugly it was.
The spaghetti-like skate design was introduced in 1985, and it was what the Canucks wore in 1994 when they lost the Stanley Cup final to the New York Rangers.
The last major change came in 1997, when the team unveiled a logo that featured a Haida-styled orca jumping out of an ice-covered letter C.
When it first debuted, the orca logo and jersey were white, blue and maroon. It was modified four years ago, switching the colours to blues and greens with an updated orca design.
The orca prompted criticism at first, and some fans today say they still won't wear the logo. But judging by the ubiquitous blue jerseys that have dotted Vancouver streets throughout the playoffs, many others appear to have embraced it.
Dan Mason, an expert in the business of hockey at the University of Alberta, says most teams make incremental revisions to their logos and colours from time to time, but few have had made as many complete overhauls as the Canucks.
"I think it's a reflection of the fact that, competitively, the team hasn't been that strong over the years and the owners look for different ways to reinvigorate the brand," says Mason, who grew up in B.C. watching the Canucks.
Mason says for fans, the Canucks' frequently changing logos gives them a chance to connect with the team's history, while showing others that their commitment runs deep.
"They have been around for quite a while now with a big cohort of fans, so when you see people wearing the black and the yellow and the red, they're signalling that they've been around when times weren't so good," he says.
Ray Charlie, a 35-year-old web developer, recently watched a Stanley Cup game wearing one of the Canucks' flying V jerseys.
Sitting in a crowd of royal blue orca jerseys, Charlie stood out—which was exactly the point.
"I just thought I'd be a little bit different, everybody's got the blue jerseys and the white jerseys, I thought I'd like to go a little old school," says Charlie, who says he developed his love of the team back when players were still wearing the flying V.
"I've been following the Canucks now ever since I can remember, so I guess this is the time I was really into them. I'm into it now, but it's nothing like when you're a kid."