Jeremie White blames his former naiveté for landing a deal with the Canucks to design their jerseys in 1989.
At the time, White was a 20-year-old design student at Capilano College in North Vancouver who heard the then assistant general manager, Brian Burke, complain about the “puke yellow” home jerseys on a radio show.
So, White called Burke’s office again, and again and again saying he had some designs.
“I was still living at home going to college, and heard my mom call down ‘Brian Burke is on the phone,’” White recalls. “It’s one of the more odd experiences in my life.”
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White had designed hockey masks and team jerseys for fun since he was a kid, but never thought he’d get a chance to take it to the big leagues. But, he found himself in an office with Burke, who liked the designs and, after making a few suggestions, set him up with the Canucks general manager, Pat Quinn.
“As a 20-year-old I was pinching myself, because, seriously– the super boss of the Canucks!” White says.
After working together, Quinn and White came up with the famous black, red, white and gold design that represented the team for eight years, from 1989 to 1997. The design became fondly known as “the flying skate” or “the plate of spaghetti,” and was sported by the team in the 1994 Stanley Cup finals.
|Jeremie White designed the jerseys the Canucks wore from 1989-1997. They've now been nominated as the "retro jersey" the Canucks will wear sporadically in their 50th anniversary season, from 2019-2020. File contributed.
“That’s the primary reason I think that people are so fond of the jersey,” White says. “They’re aggressive colours and just fond memories of a good team making a good run.”
The design was such a fan favourite that it was recently voted to be the Canucks’ retro jersey in their 50th anniversary year, coming up in the 2019-2020 season. It was up against two other designs, but won an overwhelming majority with over 16,000 votes.
“It’s incredible, it’s really cool to see how a design can resonate after so many years and transcend so many different things,” White says.
White continues to work in design, acting as the design director for a studio in Greater Victoria, and freelancing sports-themed art from his home.
When asked how he feels about his approach to the Canucks almost 30 years ago, White laughs.
“I always tell my kids now, the beauty is to be bold,” he says. “Go out and try to pursue whatever you’re interested in. Don’t fear rejection.”
To see more of White’s work, you can head to sportsart.ca