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Designer of original Canucks logo writes spicy letter to Francesco Aquilini

West Vancouver’s Joseph Borovich, who designed the original 'stick in the rink' logo, says the Canucks should stop switching uniforms and start winning games.
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The Vancouver Canucks sport the original 'stick in rink' logo, designed by West Vancouver's Joseph Borovich, during their first NHL season in 1970. | NHL Network

The West Vancouver graphic designer who created the logo worn in the first-ever NHL game for the Vancouver Canucks has a message for the team now: you should have stuck with the original.

Joseph Borovich designed the Canucks "stick in the rink" logo, which employed the blue and green colour scheme and cleverly formed the letter “C” for Canucks, that the team wore for their first-ever game, played Oct. 9, 1970. Over the years, however, the Canucks have cycled through jersey designs as proficiently as the Sedins cycled the puck along the boards. There was the V neck, and the flying skate, and the Orca, and Johnny Canuck, and the colour purple was somehow involved at one point.

This week Borovich, still a West Vancouver resident, said enough is enough. In a letter to team chairman Francesco Aquilini, copied to the North Shore News, Borovich emphatically asked the club to stop messing around with the jerseys and instead focus on winning hockey games.

“What are you selling – hockey or jerseys?” Borovich wrote. “Johnny Canuck didn’t help you last night against the expansion Las Vegas team when you blew a two-goal lead with 10 minutes left in the game. It didn’t help you against Boston, Toronto or Montreal either. What are you trying to establish here? All the different jerseys didn’t help when Bure was here or the Sedins – OK, they came close, but no cup. It’s only been 52 years, Mr. Aquilini.”

Borovich reasons that the original logo didn’t need replacing at all.

“Blue and green is the West Coast look. ‘Stick in the rink’ is hockey. What are you trying to do with the image of the team? The smart look of a consistent logo and jersey creates a tradition and history and gives team players pride when they put it on, e.g. Montreal, Toronto, Boston and Detroit.”

Sticking with one logo might translate into more success on the ice, wrote Borovich.

“The players must feel they are in a fashion show, and that is why they blow a two-goal lead with 10 minutes to go!” he wrote. “I imagine the ‘stick in the rink’ would look good beside the Stanley Cup. Maybe our grandchildren will enjoy it, right Francesco?”

So far, Borovich has not received a reply from Aquilini. Here is the letter in its entirety:


Dear Sir,

What are you selling – hockey or jerseys? Johnny Canuck didn’t help you last night against the expansion Las Vegas team when you blew a two-goal lead with 10 minutes left in the game. It didn’t help you against Boston, Toronto or Montreal either. What are you trying to establish here? All the different jerseys didn’t help when Bure was here or the Sedins. OK, they came close, but no cup. It’s only been 52 years, Mr. Aquilini.

Tradition and pride in uniforms are a bit of a stretch with your teams. I am prejudiced, as I designed the "stick in the rink" logo in 1970, along with the blue and green uniforms.

Blue and green is the West Coast look, "stick in the rink" is hockey. What are you trying to do with the image of the team? The smart look of a consistent logo and jersey creates a tradition and history and gives team players pride when they put it on, e.g. Montreal, Toronto, Boston and Detroit.

Arthur Griffiths could not stand the money he was losing with poor attendance, so he went to California to get a new look. Coach Harry Neal said when they played in New York on Halloween, they won best costume.

My logo is already established with the shoulder look and the history, but the players must feel they are in a fashion show and that is why they blow a two-goal lead with 10 minutes to go!

I guess the sweater business is doing OK for you – it’s Christmas.

I imagine the "stick in the rink" would look good beside the Stanley Cup.

Maybe our grandchildren will enjoy it, right Francesco?

Yours truly,

Joseph Borovich
West Vancouver

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