Wednesday, October 28, 2009


A post over at Hit the Post got me thinking about the Canuck monoculture.

When the Canucks made GM Place their home, they were bad. Although there was a ton of optimism surrounding the team, the potential never came to fruition. The team store had to sell something and no one was going to buy a Lonny Bohonos jersey. Throughout the late 90's one could find obscure replica and authentic jerseys from every team in he NHL.

As the team slogged toward respectability and Trev returned, the store started carrying more and more name and number Canucks sweaters. A fan could saunter in and pick up a Cassels or Baron jersey without waiting 4-6 weeks. Still, the store held the biggest names on the biggest sellers. A Sundin blueleaf or Bondra screaming eagle were still readily available. The orca still ruled though and there were no other Canucks incarnations allowed in corporate sellout place.

Then came the knit, away (blue) retro stick in rink.Killer jersey. I bought one for my buddy for Christmas and was jealous every time he wore it. This retro opened the door for discussion on the Canuck colours (again) and test marketed the eventual change. With the league trying a retro look in some markets (Calgary opted for the 'burning horse head') and Nike's marketing guru Chris Zimmerman coming on board the Canucks threw their marketing juggernaught into full gear. Within a couple of seasons of the lockout and an RBK jersey takeover later, gone was the burgundy and silver.In it's place was a sea of blue and green dotted with islands of "flying V's" and "plates of spagetti". There are few, if any teams in the NHL that have made as many wholesale colour scheme changes as the Canucks. Finally though, they were using this to their advantage, selling the popular blue scheme (including the ever popular stick in rink 3rd) while marketing the others as kitchy, retro alternatives.

All of this seems great for the Canucks. They have a steady revenue stream and successful marketing scheme that is raking it in. Herein lies the problem. Gone are any traces of the rest of the league. Even team Canada is banished from the racks. God forbid you are an out of town (enemy) fan and want to pick up a Cal Clutterbuck or Mark Giordano jersey. No chance. Not only are the Canucks losing out on a valuable source of revenue but the fans are losing out on seeing all those beautiful jerseys (no, not yours cowtown). It creates an insular fanbase that knows nothing of the league, only the Canult (TM).

1 comment:

  1. yeah buddy. i'm linkin' to you today to get some more traffic your way.... x