We received some surprising news last Friday when the Vancouver Canucks revealed how they'll be honoring the old Vancouver Millionaires on their uniforms this season. Since this is actual jersey news in a season where we weren't expecting any, you can bet this will be a frequent topic of discussion.
On Friday, the Canucks' alternate jersey made its season debut with a new addition — the blue Vancouver Millionaires patch on the chest. It only improves upon a jersey that's already outfitted with some pretty awesome logos. (That Johnny Canuck V mark needs to become the primary logo. What are they waiting for?)
By the way, I'm not ignoring that Hockey Talks logo. All seven Canadian teams will have a version that they'll wear as a helmet decal at various points during the month of February. I'll have a post on that later this week.
But back to the Millionaires. If you're looking to deck yourself out in that classic logo, clearly gear is not in short supply. This photo was posted to the Canucks Team Store Twitter account on Friday. They're even selling the five-year-old third jersey with a new patch. Pardon the pun, but millionaires indeed.
Of course we can't leave out the new sweater that's at the center of all this exciting news. As modeled by Ryan Kesler in photos released by the team last week, this is the Vancouver Millionaires jersey the team will wear at least once during this shortened season. All indications point to March 16 when the Red Wings are in town.
Believe it or not, the Red Wings as an opponent for this game isn't as random as it seems. This requires a bit of a history lesson to understand why.
In 1912 came the formation of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association (PCHA), of which the Millionaires were a founding member along with the New Westminster Royals and Victoria Senators. In 1913, Senators became the Victoria Aristocrats. (Honestly, after four lockouts in 20 years, can you imagine any NHL team today being named the Millionaires or Aristocrats and still having fans? Yeah, the naming thing gets worse...)
Before the 1916-17 season, the Aristocrats left Victoria for Spokane, Wash. where they were renamed the Canaries. (Told ya.) But no one in eastern Washington cared to attend games and the club folded before the season even ended.
Victoria, B.C. returned to the PCHA scene in 1918 with a brand new team — also called the Aristocrats. (Think Winnipeg Jets, except with fewer relocations.) In 1922, the club was renamed once again to the Victoria Cougars. That might actually be a name you recognize if you're at all familiar with Stanley Cup history. (Also, the Millionaires became the Maroons.)
Two years later in 1924, the Seattle Metropolitans folded, leaving just two teams in the PCHA. The Cougars and Maroons moved to the Western Canada Hockey League where the Cougars promptly won their first and only Stanley Cup championship against the Montreal Canadiens!
The Cougars played one more season in the newly renamed Western Hockey League where this time they lost the Stanley Cup Final. It also spelled the end of the team as the WHL was unable to compete financially with the NHL. The teams were disbanded and players' rights were sold to NHL clubs.
Guess who bought the rights to the Victoria Cougars in 1926. Yep, a group from Detroit, who named their new team the Detroit Cougars. The Cougars became the Falcons in 1930. And ultimately, in 1932, they became the Detroit Red Wings we know today.
So you see, the Canucks are really trying to stir up a century-old rivalry. Can't wait to see it. Now if only someone could convince them to wear their 2009 Winter Classic jerseys — which were in fact Cougars jerseys!
Then we'd have ourselves a hockey game.