The entire white towel phenomenon in hockey can be traced back directly to Roger Neilson’s towel-waving antics in the 1982 Stanley Cup Playoffs. For a while it was copied by many teams, and I’m glad the Canucks made an effort to reclaim it with the installation of the Roger Neilson statue outside of the Canucks home arena.
My personal attachment to the event is pretty simple: I was there. Not in Chicago, but for the first game back in Vancouver. My uncle somehow got a hold of two tickets for the game, and me and my brother flipped a coin to see who got a chance to go. I won.
My biggest memory of the game was the woman in front of me who kept waving her towel around in circles, hitting me in the head. Whack, whack, whack, whack.
I decided a white towel jersey would be an entirely appropriate project given my Vancouver roots and presence at the game. The idea was simple: a Canucks jersey made of white terry cloth.
I wound up choosing the classic stick/rink design for a few reasons: it’s my favourite; unlike the ’82 jersey, it’s white; and the logo provided a fun opportunity for adaptation to the theme.
The body of the jersey is a thick white cotton terry cloth, similar to what you would find in a luxury bathrobe. The stripes are polyester sports mesh, and the cresting is good quality craft felt. I found a white and green sports braid for the collar trim.
I added the V sleeve design as found on the first-year Canucks jersey. The number 82 is an obvious reference to the year of the incident.
It seemed natural to add Roger Neilson’s name on the back. I really admired Neilson as he was an intelligent man and an original thinker. The captain’s C on the front of the jersey is a reference to Captain Video, Neilson’s nickname due to his early adoption of the use of video to study game tape.
The crest was especially fun, as I adapted it to represent the sticks Neilson and the Canucks players held up with the towels. I used a small piece of the terry cloth, with the edge trim at the bottom. This gave the towel a convincing finished look, it actually looks just like a miniature bath towel. I only attached it at the top onto the stick, so it is actually loose and hanging like the real thing.