Richmond hockey fans will see Vancouver Canucks players wearing custom jerseys during their warm-up before their fourth annual Lunar New Year Game on Jan. 25.
The special edition Lunar New Year jersey was designed by artist Trevor Lai, a lifelong Canucks fan and the illustrator behind the children’s Richmond Public Library card in 2006.
In recognition that 2022 is the Year of the Tiger in Chinese culture, the jersey features a tiger leaping out of the water instead of the Canucks’ stylized orca. The jersey also showcases the Vancouver Canucks’ name in Chinese characters and Vancouver Chinatown's Millennium Gate on the shoulder patches.
In addition to celebrating the Lunar New Year, Lai told the Richmond News he hopes the redesigned jersey sends a message about integration and inclusivity.
"I wanted to do something for the Chinese community because the anti-Asian activities over the last two years have been so upsetting.
"I was trying to think of how I could use my talent to raise awareness for the Asian community and also stop people from hurting each other. The jersey is a great way to bring everyone together," said Lai.
"The overall message is universal - it doesn't matter if you are a Chinese Canadian or not. When you look at this logo, I hope you will find something in it that appeals to you," added Lai.
On the jersey's shoulder patch, the Vancouver Canucks' Chinese name, 加人队 (jia ren DUI), fits neatly into the image of the Millennium Gate.
"Jia （加）is actually the same character as 'Canada' in Chinese. In the middle, I put ren （人), which means people… The last one is Dui (队). Dui means team, and while the Canucks are a team, I really meant to say we as people are on the same team," said Lai, adding that the design is about being together as a community and making each other stronger.
The players will wear the Lunar New Year jersey for their warm-up only and not the actual game. The special edition jerseys will be available for auction at VanBase.ca on Jan. 23. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Elimin8Hate, a community organization that advocates for equity for Asian Canadians.