Reported by Caitlin O’Flanagan
Twenty-three games in and the Canucks have a losing record, helping the steady decline of jersey sales in Vancouver.
For the second time in three seasons the Vancouver Canucks did not make the playoffs last year and when they did in 2015, they lost to their rivals the Calgary Flames. Vancouver fans, known to waver in tough times, have their frustrations evident by an obvious drop in jersey sales over the past two years.
There have also been requests for Vegas Golden Knights merchandise, the NHL’s newest expansion team. The Las Vegas team will play next season and have the potential of bringing Vancouverites, dejected about the Canucks, onto the Knights bandwagon.
Canucks merchandise sales are at a low point
John Czvelka, owner of Vancity Sports, has been selling jerseys in Vancouver for 21 years and said that this year’s sales are even worse than last year. He also knows other retailers that are marking down Canucks jerseys to the point where they are losing money on them.
“Anytime there was a new player on the team people would flock and want that jersey and we haven’t had that request for a while now,” Cvelka said.
Hope for the Canucks to come back remains
The Manager at Granville Sports Corner, Mike Jackson, has noticed the same trend. Even with the slow sales, however, he has faith that the Canucks will rebuild and bring back their fan base.
“The Canucks in particular has been slow, with the transition the team is going through,” Jackson said. “The teams struggling, they were good for us for many years. Now we’ve got to be patient and wait for some of these young players to develop.”
Both Czvelka and Jackson are still selling NHL jerseys though, with a focus on young stars like McDavid for Edmonton and Marner and Matthews for Toronto. They also have no problem selling original six jerseys, especially Canadian players like Toews for Chicago. Both see high demand for Seahawks jerseys, as the NFL’s popularity grows in B.C., as well as NBA and MLB, with a focus on Toronto Blue Jays gear.