Skip to main content

Canucks enlist local designer with African roots for latest special jersey design


Fashion designer Naa Sheka’s work always comes from the heart and her latest piece is no exception.

“The colours I chose are actually the flag of Ghana,” Sheka said, pointing to the logo on the special jersey she designed for the Vancouver Canucks Black Excellence Night at Rogers Arena later this month.

In an interview with CTV News, she said the design is heavily influenced by her late father who was born in Ghana.

“Unfortunately he passed away from cancer but he’s with me in spirit and I’m able to show my Ghanaian and African heritage for the diaspora through my pops and through my designs, so it means a lot to me,” said Sheka.

The jersey is bright green and features a design based on the team’s popular flying skate logo – but with colours and symbols from her west African roots woven throughout.

For Sheka, a lifelong Canucks fan who also played hockey growing up, working with the Canucks marks a full circle moment.

“When I started playing hockey, it definitely wasn’t as diverse as what it is today, so to be able to see the expansion of hockey diversity to reach out to so many communities means a lot to me,” she said. “This is an opportunity that I’m blessed to have and I want people to see my designs and what I’m about. So, I’m definitely ready.”

The Canucks have been praised for their efforts at diversity and inclusion, and the nights they host to celebrate different communities within the fan base have been largely successful.

As a whole, the National Hockey League hasn’t always been on target with its efforts, and has actually scaled back inclusion nights across the league.

The league even banned teams from wearing any specialty jerseys in pregame activities after a small handful of players refused to don Pride jerseys in warmups last season.

That means fans can no longer see players in jerseys celebrating Lunar New Year, Diwali, Pride and a host of other celebrations – including Black Excellence.

"Really by doing this, what message are you sending as a league?” asks Manpreet Dhillon, founder and principal inclusion officer at Veza Global. “It's really important to consider what doors you are closing and who are you shutting out through this process."

Sheka's jerseys are still available for sale in the team store and online, along with other merchandise featuring her specially designed logo. 

Sheka told CTV News she remains focused on the positives from her collaboration with the Canucks, including a book drive she and the team will host during Black Excellence Night on Feb. 15.

It’s all work she is very proud of.

"To rep my brand in my city with my team?” she said enthusiastically. “Yeah!” Top Stories

Stay Connected