Pacific FC sold out of its new Indigenous artist-designed alternate jersey within hours of releasing it.
The team debuted the jerseys April 10 and plan to use them at various times through the season. The design by Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw artist Maynard Johnny Jr. depicts a salmon and a child’s face, in a white-and-black pattern.
Johnny said the club approached him in part because of work he’s done with Hope and Health, an organization promoting health and well-being for Indigenous youth.
“If the salmon can survive predators like orca whales, and people fishing for them, and swim out 3,000 miles away and come back to where they were born and rejuvenate their species – the resilience of that is just amazing,” he said. “I chose the salmon because of that resilience. It kind of reflects the Indigenous people and how resilient we’ve been throughout history of Canada.”
He was happy to see the jersey so well-received by the community and hopes it’s an opportunity for Pacific FC, their fans and other teams and leagues to learn about and further reconciliation efforts.
“In order for us to move forward and heal, there has to be an understanding of what was done. There’s got to be acknowledgment, there has to be responsibility taken for when something happens to anybody in order for you to heal. That has to happen. Being the first organized professional team to do something like this, it’s not a one-off, one-day or one-night special.”
The club sold 258 jerseys on launch, completely selling out, and have 423 on pre-order for when the next shipment arrives.
“We are thrilled with the response to this jersey, as it is an important part of our work with local Indigenous communities and the more we sell, the more money goes to charity. In addition to them selling quickly we saw an overwhelmingly positive response online from here to Europe and beyond,” Pacific FC director of marketing Stephanie Wood said in an email.
From each jersey sale, $20 goes to two different charities chosen by Johnny: Hope and Health and the Indian Residential School Survivor Society.
He hopes more professional teams follow Pacific FC’s lead and help spread awareness of issues facing Indigenous people in Canada.
“Pay it forward and educate the players and other teams that play in other organizations. It’ll keep snowballing and raising the awareness of how reconciliation should be approached and how it should be executed. That’s very important, especially because it’s not Indigenous people that have to reconcile, it’s actually Canada and the church, the Catholic Church has to reconcile what they’ve done.”