Even though their players won’t get to wear them, the National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks are still celebrating Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, with special jerseys.
The Canucks unveiled the jerseys on their social media channels on Thursday, November 2. They were designed by artist Jessie Sohpaul and will be available to purchase at the Canucks’ seventh annual Diwali Night on November 15 against the New York Islanders.
The jerseys have a bright blue base and a take on the team’s classic skate logo on the front in navy blue, bright blue, yellow and orange.
On top of the word “CANUCKS” is what Sohpaul and the team call a “fusion of birds” — a combination of a peacock, which is native to South Asia, and a phoenix to represent renewal, which is a central theme of Diwali.
The logo on the front of the jersey and the stick-in-rink shoulder patches feature paisley elements, each with a flame inside to represent the lighting of diyas (oil lamps). The dark blue background of the front logo is dotted with yellow to represent the night sky before fireworks are set off.
Diwali is not just for South Asians. Its message is universal. Because of this, I wanted the design to be more modern and not lean exclusively into typical Diwali themes.
— Jessie Sohpaul
Prior to the start of the 2023-24 season, the NHL banned specialty gear during warmups, practices or games. They recently backed down and allowed the use of specialty tape on players’ sticks, but the ban remains in place for jerseys, meaning these Diwali jerseys won’t be worn on the ice.
Diwali is a festival that symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.” It’s celebrated during the months of Ashvin and Kartika on the Hindu calendar, which typically fall between mid-September and mid-November on the Gregorian calendar. Celebrations usually last five days.
The Canucks’ Diwali Night on November 15 will also feature a pre-game party outside Rogers Arena with a live DJ and bhangra performances. Inside the arena, there will be a market with local South Asian-led businesses and food samples. Canucks team stores will also have a full line of Diwali merchandise feature Sohpaul’s artwork for sale.