VANCOUVER – Last weekend was time to set the clocks forward, but this Saturday, the Vancouver Canucks plan to move the clock back … way back.
As a way to help celebrate a 100-years of hockey on the continent’s west coast, Canucks’ players will wear full replicas of the uniforms worn by the Vancouver Millionaires a century ago. The special maroon jerseys with the “V” crest and tan pants honors Vancouver’s original hockey club and follows the launch of a commemorative third sweater adorned with a Millionaires “V” on the chest earlier this season.
The Millionaires played 13 seasons in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1911-22. The Millionaires swept a best-of-five interleague series to win the Stanley Cup in 1915 against the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey Association, which later became the NHL.
It’s ironic that the Red Wings are the team that the Canucks chose to break-out the commemorative uniforms for. That’s because the Millionaires’ chief rivals have ties to the Red Wings’ organization.
Back in the day, the PCHA’s Victoria Cougars later sold their roster to an upstart NHL club in Detroit. That was in 1926, and as a tribute to the former west coast franchise, the Detroit team retained Cougars as its nickname. Centers Frank Fredrickson and Frank Foyston, wingers Harold Hart, Harry Meeking, Jack Walker, defenseman Clem Loughlin, and goalie Hap Holmes all arrived from Victoria to help put NHL hockey on the Detroit map.
In its inaugural NHL season, Detroit finished in last place of the American Division with a 12-28-4 record. In four seasons as the Cougars, the Detroit franchise produced a 64-87-25 record with one Stanley Cup playoff appearance. They lost to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1929 quarterfinals. Two years later, the Detroit club changed its name to the Falcons, before they became the Red Wings in 1932.
The Canucks donned the new uniforms for Saturday's morning skate, which at first sight, threw off Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.
“I didn't know who anybody was when I saw those uniforms out there," he said. "It doesn't much matter. But I always believe when you're an Original Six team that tradition is something you embrace big-time. So this is part of the tradition of Vancouver and what's gone on here and I think it's a special thing and good for them that they're doing it.''
Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose
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