The Canucks: A Photo History Of Vancouver's Team

The Polygon Gallery presents The Canucks: A Photo History of Vancouver's Team, an exhibition of photographs looking back on the history of the Vancouver Canucks. The rare photos on view span decades, beginning in the 1950s and ’60s when the Canucks played in the Western Hockey League, through the team’s franchising with the National Hockey League from 1970 onward. Long-time Vancouver Sun photographer Ralph Bower captured many of the images on view, which include never-before-seen photos from his personal collection alongside photographs generously on loan from the Vancouver Sun Archives and related ephemera.

Ralph Bower documented the Vancouver Canucks longer than any other photographer. He was an innovator of new techniques in sports photography, being the first to mount a camera inside the goalie’s net and operate it remotely. Bower’s photos capture action-packed plays and landmark moments, including the Canucks' first-ever goal as an NHL team. Key figures recur throughout the images, such as Pat Quinn playing for the Canucks in 1970, and later working as the team’s Coach, President and General Manager. This exhibition joyfully celebrates the game, the history, and the people of hockey in Vancouver.


Please review the safety measures we have implemented before visiting The Gallery


Vancouver Sun: The history of the Vancouver Canucks, through a photographer's lens

Vancouver is Awesome: A photo history of the Vancouver Canucks will be hosted by the Polygon Gallery in March

Montecristo Magazine: Rare Archival Photos of the Vancouver Canucks in Action

Photo credit: Ralph Bower, Camera reveals the snowy aftermath of a goal against Dunc Wilson. Ralph Bower was the first photographer to mount a camera with a 20mm lens in the net. Dec. 13 1971



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Brian Kent
On Friday, Oct. 9, 1970 the Vancouver Canucks played their first NHL game at the Pacific Coliseum. This photo of the opening ceremonies featured the Stanley Cup. Brian Kent / PNG Files
Pat Quinn
No. 3 Defenseman Pat Quinn vs LA Kings. 1970. (He played 2 seasons for the Canucks.) Ralph Bower/Vancouver Sun
Orland Kurtenbach
The first captain of the Canucks, Orland Kurtenbach, pictured in 1970, retired from playing in 1974 and was the team’s head coach, 1976–78. Deni Eagland/Vancouver Sun
First goal
Celebrating the first goal by the new NHL 1970 Vancouver Canucks team. The goal was scored by #4 Barry Wilkins, seen celebrating with #2 Gary Doak, #7 Andre Boudrias, and #19 Dale Tallon. October 9, 1970. Ralph Bower/Vancouver Sun
George Gardner
WHL Canucks goalie George Gardner in practise in the mid 1960's, taken with a Speedgraphic camera by Vancouver Sun photographer Ralph Bower. George was the first goalie for the new 1970 NHL Canucks.
George Gardner Mask
Nov. 1, 1968. WHL Vancouver Canucks goalie George Gardner found the temperature cold at Canucks practices, so donned a hockey sock as a toque. Gardner is also wearing an old-school goalie mask. Gardner played for the WHL Canucks in 1968-70, then spent two seasons with the NHL Canucks in 1970-72. Bill Cunningham/Province.
1972 file photo of Rosaire Paiement of the Vancouver Canucks being hypnotized by Peter Reveen. Caption reads "Paiement scored 34 last season and has scored only one so far this year. At a Hotel Georgia luncheon today, Reveen worked to break the jinx." Ran Feb. 1, 1972. Dan Scott/Vancouver Sun
Doug Hepburn
Oct. 2, 1954. Legendary Vancouver weightlifter and professional wrestler. Doug Hepburn performs a feat of strength - lifting up a platform with six Vancouver Canuck hockey players up using his back. Roy LeBlanc/Vancouver Sun.
Wayne Gretzky
Edmonton Oiler Wayne Gretzky battling with Vancouver Canuck Harold Snepsts in the 1982 season. Ralph Bower/Vancouver Sun

Connections, meanings, and challenges.

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101 Carrie Cates Court
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Situated on the unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh, and xwməθkwəýəm Nations.

The Polygon Gallery continues the forty-year reputation of Presentation House Gallery in engaging the public with the most visionary artists of our time. A new waterfront landmark on Vancouver's North Shore, The Polygon offers a one-of-a-kind space to encounter contemporary visual art with a focus on photography.

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