For years, Saturday mornings have been known as a time for kids cartoons, so playing a hockey game on Saturday morning created a nifty crossover opportunity for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks faced off in Detroit against the Red Wings Saturday — but with the three-hour time zone difference between the Motor City and the West Coast, that mean the game started for most Canucks fans at 10 a.m.
So the Canucks got creative: they recently partnered with artist Trevor Lai to create the latest edition of their Lunar New Year jersey and asked him to create a short video using his popular Super BOOMi character and the Canucks.
A preview clip debuted during the first intermission of the Canucks’ Sportsnet telecast on Saturday, and will live on on the Canucks’ website as well. The clip featured Boomi the bear skating in a game alongside animated avatars of various Canucks, including Quinn Hughes, Brock Boeser, Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller.
It also features the voice of Sportsnet 650 radio’s Canucks play-by-play announcer Brendan Batchelor, PA announcer Al Murdoch and goalie Thatcher Demko.
Show creator Lai was thrilled to see the energetic responses.
“I poured my heart into it and my team really worked hard on every aspect of the animation and rendering,” he said. “My dream is to make a hockey TV series for kids…Canucks were also super supportive, especially since this is their first time doing this.”
Lai has authored more than 30 children’s books on top of being a visual artist. He’s run his animation studio, Up Studios, for 12 years now.
“I wanted to do something special for Year of the Dragon, and I knew the jersey/logo would be huge, so I pitched the idea of creating an animated episode for kids starring BOOMi and his favourite Canucks,” he said.
The idea came together quickly and he only had one month to put everything together. The bulk of the work took place while he was in Vancouver, helping to promote the Canucks’ Lunar New Year campaign by day, then working on the animation and promotional materials at night, often until 5 or 6 a.m.
“I wanted to combine the magical Saturday morning-afternoon cartoon feeling for kids with the love of hockey, and hope that the positive fan response to this first episode will open the doors for us to develop a series for TV or video platforms to grow the game for the next generation,” he said.
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