Top Shelf

Two deceptively simple hockey logos prove the adage that less can definitely be more.

Very few sports logos make it to my “I want to wear it” category. Mainly because if I wasn’t so discriminating, my closet would be crammed full of apparel that would never see the light of day. I’ll also admit that I’m partial to hockey logos. This great sport seems to be a deep pond of terrific solutions and attracts some of the most talented designers to its frozen arenas.

Ice Gold 

The latest hockey logo that will probably find space in my shirt drawer in the near future was leaked this week and reported by It’s the 50thanniversary logo of the NHL Vancouver Canucks and looks to be released as part of a larger branding tweak for their upcoming golden anniversary celebration. The Canucks have had a diverse and, shall we say, interesting history of logo and jersey designs over the past half-century. From their original “C-stick” to the bizarre “flying skate” and the cringe-worthy “Big V,” Vancouver has introduced some of the wildest designs in pro sports.

Maybe that’s partially why their new 50thAnniversary Logo is top shelf. It’s a huge contrast to previous brand executions and might be one of the simplest and most successful hockey logo designs in recent history.

Canucks 50 Logo White



Why do I love it so much? Stare at it for a while and you’ll find out for yourself. The bold, perfectly proportioned block numbers 5 and 0 are subtle hockey rink shapes, and the negative spaces within the numbers are nicely excavated. But the single visual element that takes the logo to a rare level of success is the white shape that slices into the number 5 with perfect form and uses the negative space between the numbers to create a beautifully simple hockey stick. The large numbers are perched on top of the smaller 1970 and 2020 year elements, as well as the more well known, Northwest-style “orca and C” logo. And although I might have bumped those elements up in size a bit, that’s being picky.

But how does this 50 symbol represent the Canucks you ask? And couldn’t this be used by any of the other 30 NHL teams? Sure. But hey, Vancouver came up with it first, and it just oozes pure hockey. That’s something SBJ would argue is very descriptive of the NHL Vancouver Canucks.

So kudos Canucks. Let me know when your 50thanniversary logo apparel goes on sale.

Euro Right With Me (say it fast)

The second hockey logo that really hits top shelf (and shirt drawer) for SBJ is the Team Europe logo that was created for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey tournament.

Team Europe Logo

It’s noticeably similar to the Canucks 50th logo with a hockey stick created in negative space, but it uses a simple shield with a split color graphic that creates a dark blue E letterform. The blue and aqua colors work well together and are surrounded by a perfect light warm gray border in some executions. This logo is so good it almost had me rooting for Team Europe in the tournament over the American teams.

Team Europe jerseys-headline


The team uniforms were just as cool, both in the white and dark jerseys and although I already own a t-shirt I’m tempted to add a puck to my collection. Which only proves that being a sports branding enthusiast is both a blessing and a curse…

Team Europe Puck

Image: Collectible Supplies

Since the Colorado Avalanche and the USA are my home teams, I can’t overtly root for Vancouver nor could I root for Team Europe in the World Cup. But I’ll secretly be watching for an exciting Canucks 50th season, especially if it means having a chance to see their anniversary logo in action here in Colorado. Does that make Vancouver and Team Europe guilty of attempting to steal opposing fans with great logos? In the Sports Brand Jury courtroom, it just might. And I hope to see more cases like this.


Sports Brand Jury welcomes your opinions, comments, and suggestions for future cases. If we use your ideas for a future post, we’ll send you some SBJ swag as a thank you.


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