Thursday, October 2, 2014

1995-96 Canadian National Team Glenn Anderson Jersey

Born on this date in 1960, Glenn Anderson took a far different path through his career than most players of his era. It started out conventionally enough, as Anderson moved up through the junior ranks, but then took a detour through United States college hockey, playing one year for the Denver Pioneers of the WCHA, where he scored 66 points in just 41 games.

He then joined the Canadian National Team, a program in which a dedicated squad would play a season long schedule of games as well as representing Canada in various tournaments, highlighted by the annual Spengler Cup, in an effort to establish a cohesive Olympic and World Championship squad, as opposed to a temporary rosters thrown together with little time to prepare, as was the norm prior to the full-time Canadian National Team program.

Many players used the Canadian National Team as a stepping stone to gain more seasoning in an effort to make the next step to the NHL. As part of the team, Anderson was a member of the Canadian Olympic Team in 1980 at Lake Placid where Canada went 3-2 in the preliminary round.

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Anderson vs. the Soviets during the 1980 Olympics

He would then embark on his NHL career, joining the Edmonton Oliers for the 1980-81 season. He would play 11 seasons for the Oilers, winning five Stanley Cups as part of their dynasty. Twice Anderson would have 50 goal seasons as part of the high flying Oilers offense, hitting 54 in both 1983-94 and 1985-86. Anderson also had three 100 point seasons, with a career best of 105 in 1981-82 from 38 goals and 67 assists. 1986-87 saw him set personal bests with 14 goals and 27 points during 21 games of  the 1986-87 playoffs.

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Anderson with the Stanley Cup in 1990

Always one to play for Team Canada when given the chance, he would also participate in the Canada Cup in both 1984 and 1987. 1987 would also see him skate for the NHL All-Stars versus the Soviet Union in the two-game Rendez-vous '87 held that season in place of the traditional All-Star game. He would make his first appearance for Canada in the World Championships in 1989.

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Ansderson again battling the Soviets, this time in the 1987 Canada Cup

In 1991, he was involved in a blockbuster trade, along with Grant Fuhr, that would send him to the Toronto Maple Leafs. While with Toronto, he asked for permission to participate in the 1994 Olympics, which the club agreed to in his contract, but the request was denied by Commissioner Gary Bettman.

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Anderson wearing the Maple Leafs Turn Back the Clock jersey in 1991-92

After three seasons with Toronto, Anderson was traded to the New York Rangers at the end of the 1993-94 season, arriving just in time to capture his sixth Stanley Cup.

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Anderson helped the Rangers end their long Stanley Cup drought

At this point, armed with more than a fist full of Stanley Cup rings, Anderson's career now took him on a path that would see him cross the Atlantic and back multiple times. The 1994-95 season would see him play for 4 games for Lukko Rauma in Finland, 5 with the Augsburg Panthers of the German DEL, 26 games for the Canadian National Team and 36 games for the St. Louis Blues!

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Anderson back in the NHL with St. Louis

1995-96 was no different, with 11 more games for the Canadian National Team, 9 more back in Augsburg in Germany, 17 games once more with the Oilers and a second stint in St. Louis to finish the NHL season with 15 regular season and 11 playoff games.

His career would wind down with a pair of games for HC Bolzano in Italy and 23 games for HC La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss league in 1996-97, making for 10 stints with 9 different teams in just three seasons in six different countries.

His final NHL totals would show 1129 games played, a tantalizing 498 goals and 601 assists for 1099 points with 225 more playoff appearances which included 93 goals and 121 assists for 214 career playoff points and six Stanley Cup Championships.

His #9 has was retired by the Edmonton Oilers on January 18, 2009 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.

Today's featured jersey is a 1995-96 Canadian National Team Glenn Anderson jersey. This style jersey was worn only by the Canadian National Team. A similar jersey using the diagonal waist stripes was used by the 1995 Canadian World Junior Team, but was produced by Reebok and featured their large, distinctive logos on the shoulders.

This is one of our favorite jerseys due to it's unique and fairly obscure place in Canadian hockey history, combined with it's how unusual it is to find the CCM version of this jersey style. It was a fun and enjoyable project to research, which paid off handsomely by being worn by such a player of note, whose unique career path matched the unique nature of the jersey.

While we were never able to find any photos of Anderson wearing this particular jersey style, we felt safe in assuming that an NHL player with six Stanley Cups and over 1000 games played would have been named team captain on a club mostly made up young players looking to step up to the NHL.

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This video was made by the Oilers on the occasion of his jersey retirement.


This similar video is part one of the actual retirement ceremony, and features quotes from Anderson not found in the previous video.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2014 Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo

This Sunday, October 5th, is one of the highlights of the jersey collecting calendar, the 13th Annual Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo. Anyone who can make it to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul should stop by Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub near the Xcel Energy Center from 11 AM to 6 PM.


It's the largest gathering of game worn jerseys in Minnesota each year and you can count on seeing some amazing and varied collections in a great hockey environment. This event is free and features collectors bringing favorites from their personal collection for some good old show and tell, with an emphasis on jerseys related to the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota North Stars and Minnesota Gophers, as well as many other interesting jerseys from throughout the hockey world. It's great opportunity to see some great game worn jerseys up close, meet some new people and perhaps add a new jersey to your collection.

To further entice you to attend, here are some photos from one of the previous editions.

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Above is Scott Janvrin's impressive Ben Clymer collection. Collecting one player, such as Clymer can be a challenge when they make multiple stops in the NHL and the AHL, but that challenge increases exponentially when a player extends his career by playing in Europe, so this collection was all the more impressive with the addition of game worn jerseys from the German DEL.


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Kyle Oen brought his amazing game worn Minnesota high school jersey collection that rivals the one on display at the Xcel Energy Center. He also has other Minnesota based teams in his collection, such as the Minnesota Moose and Minnesota Gophers. Kyle's love of all things Minnesota hockey related is expressed in his website, VintageMinnesotaHockey.com.

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Above is John Lindberg's take on a Minnesota theme. Where Kyle collects teams from Minnesota, John is more about former Gophers NHL jerseys as well as Minnesota Wild prospects jerseys before they reach the NHL.

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Can't make it to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto? Then having the opportunity to see Jon Bakke's collection of vintage jerseys can save you the trip! Jon went with a theme, bringing all his old Quebec Nordiques jerseys, the centerpiece of which are his Stastny brothers!

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Jon can be easily spotted at Minnesota Wild games wearing his rotating collection of gamers, as he doesn't just hang them in a closet, he wears his regularly to Wild games.

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Here is Jon sharing his collection with former North Star Maxwell, who probably had a few intense battles with the Nordiques before becoming one himself at one point in his career.

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Speaking of Hall of Fame worthy collections, Dan Erspamer's Minnesota North Stars collection is highlighted with not only a first year North Stars jersey, but one belonging to the tragic Bill Masterton - a true gem of the expo. If you'd like to talk jerseys with Dan, he's an expert and can be found working at The Hockey Lodge store at Minnesota Wild home games, which take place just up the road from Reid's at the Xcel Energy Center.

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Chris Groth (right) has his own hall of fame collection underway and goes for whatever catches his eye. He brought some real gems, including game worn jerseys from Luc RobitailleJoe Sakic and Theo Fleury, but his Alexander Ovechkin game worn jersey was certainly an Expo highlight.

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Eric Bodamer, who designed all the jerseys Nike supplied for the 1998 Olympic hockey tournament in Nagano, Japan, brought with his collection of game worn jerseys from his hometown Buffalo Sabres.

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This collection with a Minnesota and Minnesota Wild theme was really impressive, particularly the Mikael Granlund jersey from HIFK Helsinki. Just how do people track these things down?! You have to appreciate dealing with the differences in time zone, language and currency when it comes to obtaining European jerseys.

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Yes, you are seeing that right, it's a Milwaukee Admirals "Bob Uecker Night" jersey modeled after Uecker's infamous plaid sport coats! That jersey, and the rest of the collection on the table belong to Chris Jerina. The Uecker jersey, along with the Masterton jersey, was easily our favorite of the event.

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Here was our contribution to the proceedings, our history of patches worn by the Minnesota Wild in their 10 years of play. We also brought our collection of game worn German National Team jerseys, which date from 1989 to 2009.

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Another great person to meet was certainly Dan Schafer, who was the former equipment manager for the Minnesota Moose of the IHL. His Nordiques jersey from the late Stephane Morin was one of our personal favorites.

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The walls of Tom Reid's are just dripping with hockey memorabilia and create the perfect environment to hold such an event.

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Who says the event is just for guys?

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Finally, the collection of event organizer Frechette, without whom the Expo would not exist. Dave's collection focuses primarily on Minnesota Wild players jerseys, only before they joined the Wild. Examples in his collection are Wild prospects jerseys from their college and junior team as well as European born players jerseys from their European club teams. He is shown with his new pride and joy, Dany Heatley's Ak Bars Kazan game worn jersey from Heatley's time in Russia during the lost NHL season of 2004-05.

How he is consistently able to track down jerseys from such a wide variety of sources is one of the more impressive things to take in at the Expo and his appreciation of hockey history is evidenced by the rare and wonderful Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA jersey seen here as well as his North Stars game worn jersey on display behind him.

This year's Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo will again feature a raffle, with some great prizes up for grabs from the collections of many of those in attendance in an effort to raise money for the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association, who will receive 100% of the proceeds from the raffle.

For details of the the 13th annual expo, including notable players who plan on attending, check out the event's facebook page. It's a can't miss event and we certainly hope those of you who can, will take the time to come on down to Tom Reid's this Sunday!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2000-01 Chicago Blackhawks Tony Amonte Jersey

On this date in 2000, Tony Amonte became the 30th man to be named team captain in Chicago Blackhawks history. Amonte joined the NHL following two seasons at Boston University when he skated in a pair of playoff games for the New York Rangers following the conclusion of his college career in 1991.

Amonte played three seasons for the Rangers before being dealt to Chicago in the deal that brought Stephane Matteau to New York. After seven seasons with the Blackhawks, in which he scored over 40 goals three times, Amonte rose to the captaincy, joining an elite group of men to wear the "C" for one of the league's historic Original 6 franchises.

The list of men to wear the "C" for Chicago reads like a trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, beginning with Dick Irvin, the original captain from 1926 to 1929. Irvin would later become the Black Hawks head coach.

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Dick Irvin

Goaltender Charlie Gardiner (who sadly passed away at age 29) served as captain from 1933 to 1934. Earl Seibert was captain from 1940-42 and proceeded Doug Bentley, who held the job from 1942-1944. Following Bentley was Clint Smith in 1944-45 and John Mariucci in 1945-46.

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Doug Bentley

Bentley regained the captaincy in 1949-50 prior to giving way to Jack Stewart for 1950 to 1952, followed by Bill Gadsby, who wore the "C" from 1952 to 1954. Defenseman Pierre Pilote was the longest serving team captain in Black Hawks history, serving from 1961 through 1968.

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Pierre Pilote

All-time franchise scoring leader Stan Mikita was one of three captains in the 1976-77 season and Denis Savard served in the 1988-89 season.

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Denis Savard

Of these men, Irvin was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1958, Gardiner in 1945 and Siebert 1963. When he was elected, he became part of the first father/son combination in the Hall of Fame with his father Oliver Siebert.

Doug Bentley was inducted in 1964, Mariucci in 1985, Smith in 1991, Gadsby in 1970 and Stewart joined in 1964. Pilote got the call in 1975 and Savard in 2000.

More recent captains, and certainly some who will receive consideration for the hall, are Dirk Graham (1989-1995), Chris Chelios (1995-1999) and Doug Gilmour (1999-2000) prior to Amonte, who was captain from 2000-2002.

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Dirk Graham

Since the departure of Amonte, the Blackhawks captains have been Russian Alexi Zhamnov (2002-2004), Adrian Aucoin (2005-2007), Martin Lapointe in 2006, and now Stanley Cup winning captain Jonathan Toews, who looks primed to give Pilote a run for his money in the longevity department, having become the third youngest captain in NHL history when he was given the "C" at age 20, and is now the second youngest captain to hoist the Stanley Cup. Toews is currently signed through the 2022-23 season with Chicago.

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Jonathan Toews

Today's featured jersey is a 2000-01 Chicago Blackhawks Tony Amonte jersey. This black alternate jersey was introduced in 1996 and worn through 2006-07 before being retired with the changeover to the new Reebok Edge jerseys. After one season it was revived for a year om 2008-09 before being replaced by the black jersey worn in the Winter Classic held in Chicago's Wrigley Field on January 1st, 2009.

This Amonte jersey features the Blackhawks 75th Anniversary patch to mark their joining the NHL in 1926, one of the more understated team anniversary patches in recent memory befitting an Original 6 franchise.

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Our video selection today is a look back at Chicago Blackhawks history, now spanning over 80 years.

Monday, September 29, 2014

1988-89 Edmonton Oilers Grant Fuhr Jersey

Grant Fuhr, born on this date in 1962, led the Victoria Cougars to the WHL championship with a 48-9-1 record followed by a trip to the Memorial Cup Finals in 1981, which garnered the attention of the Edmonton Oilers, who drafted him 8th overall later that spring.

As a rookie, Fuhr immediately led the Oilers in games played with 48, compared to 29 for Ron Low and 8 for Andy Moog. While Fuhr rarely lost, he racked up a notable amount of ties, finishing the season with a 28-5-14 record, which set a new team mark for wins by a goaltender.

After a personally disappointing second season, in which the Oilers advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals against the New York Islanders, he bounced back in 1983-84 with a 30-10-4 record while splitting time with Moog. Fuhr also registered a remarkable 14 offensive points that season, setting a record for goaltenders which still stands to this day. He would play in 16 of the Oilers 19 playoff games, posting an 11-4 record on the way to the Oilers first Stanley Cup championship.

Before the next NHL season could begin, Fuhr began his international career when he was a member of Team Canada during the 1984 Canada Cup. His record in two games was 1-0-1.

The Oilers would again return to the finals in 1984-85 following a 26-8-7 record for Fuhr during the regular season. Fuhr would start all of Edmonton's playoff games, as they romped to their second consecutive championship with a 15-3 record in four rounds of playoffs.

Another fine regular season of 29-8-0 for Fuhr came in 1985-86, but the Oilers playoff run would fall short. The Oilers would regain their title the following season as things returned to normal for Edmonton. Fuhr was 22-13-3 during the regular season while still splitting time with Moog, and 14-5 in the playoffs.

Fuhr's international career continued when he was the goaltender for the NHL All-Stars in the two game Rendez-Vous '87 series against the Soviet Union during the season and was later the goaltender for Team Canada in the 1987 Canada Cup, in which he played in all nine Canadian games. Fuhr played brilliantly on his way to a 6-1-2 record as Canada won the tournament with a memorable 2 games to 1 defeat of the Soviet Union, with all three games being decided by one goal, two of which went into overtime. Fuhr was named the goaltender on the tournament All-Star Team.

Following Moog's departure after the season, Fuhr now assumed an unprecedented amount of work, appearing in 75 games and winning 40. The increased work load did not adversely affect Fuhr either, as he posted his lowest goals against average since his rookie season, which earned him the only Vezina Trophy of his career and second place in the voting for the Hart Trophy for the league's MVP.

Grant Fuhr

The Oilers dynasty was confirmed as they marched through the playoffs virtually unimpeded, as they eliminated the Winnipeg Jets 4-1, swept the rival Calgary Flames 4-0, downed the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 and crushed the Boston Bruins 4-0 in the finals to win their fourth Stanley Cup in five years.

Fuhr remained with the Oilers for three more seasons as the team began to be dismantled, beginning with the famous trade of Wayne Gretzky in the summer of 1988. Still, the Oilers regrouped and captured their fifth championship in 1990, but did so without Fuhr, as he was limited to just 21 games that season and did not make a playoff appearance. The next season was similar, as Fuhr made just 13 regular season appearances, but was the Oilers goaltender of choice in the post season, but the Oilers fell short in the Conference Finals.

During this time period, Fuhr made his only World Championships appearance for Canada in 1989.

Prior to the start of the 1991-92 season, Fuhr was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a seven player trade. He became a workhorse for Toronto, playing 66 games that season. After playing 29 games of the 1992-93 season, Fuhr was dealt in February of 1993 after a season and a half in Toronto to the Buffalo Sabres. He played as many games in three months in Buffalo as he did in five months in Toronto.

With playing time hard to come by due to the presence of Domink Hasek in Buffalo, Fuhr played 32 games in 1994-95 and just 3 the following season before the Sabres moved Fuhr to the Los Angeles Kings for the remainder of the season after Hasek was able to establish himself as the starter following an injury to Fuhr.

His stay in Los Angeles was brief, as Fuhr would sign with the St. Louis Blues as a free agent for the 1995-96 season. In Fuhr, the Blues found their man and Fuhr was given the reins in goal, seeing action in a personal high 79 games, the same amount he played since being traded to the Sabres 2 1/2 seasons earlier.

He again did the heavy lifting in 1996-97 (73 games) and 1997-98 (58 games). While his workload was reduced to 39 games in 1998-99, in part due to a knee injury he suffered in the 1996 playoffs, Fuhr posted his fourth consecutive winning record while with the Blues. Playoff success eluded St. Louis however, and Fuhr was traded to the Calgary Flames for the 1999-00 season.

It was not a good year for the Flames though, as they were to finish last while Fuhr was used in a backup role to Fred Brathwaite. Fuhr was limited to 23 games, but the second of his five victories that season gave him 400 for his career (only the sixth goaltender in NHL history to reach that mark) in what turned out to be the final season, as he announced his retirement on September 6, 2000.

His final record shows 868 games played with 403 wins, 295 losses and 114 ties. His playoff record was 92-50 in 150 games, which led to his winning the Stanley Cup five times. He also played in six All-Star Games, being named the game's MVP in 1986 in Hartford.

Fuhr was both inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and had his #31 retired by the Oilers in 2003.

Grant Fuhr

Today's featured jersey is a 1988-89 Edmonton Oilers Grant Fuhr jersey. This jersey features the Oilers 10th Anniversary patch - of being in the NHL, as the Oilers franchise dates back to 1972 when they were a founding member of the defunct World Hockey Association.

Oilers 88-89 jersey

Here is footage from Fuhr's number retirement ceremony in Edmonton.


Here is Fuhr in St. Louis showing why he is considered one of the best.


Finally, a recent interview with Fuhr on shootouts and goaltending styles.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Hockey Jersey Training Camp - Day 9 - The Collecting Community

Day 9 of Hockey Jersey Training Camp concludes with our final "drill" about The Collecting Community.

You've located your jersey and perhaps a patch to put on it, decided whose name and number to add to it, sent it in for customizing and your newly lettered jersey has (finally) arrived in the mail.

Now what? Obviously you can wear it to a game or just around town, making certain to NOT tuck it in, or you can show it off to your friend's friend who responds by saying he can get "any jersey you want" for $40 (which you know will be a Chinese knockoff) and has zero appreciation for your authentic jersey.

Or, you can show it off to like minds online who can relate to the scarcity of your new sweater, the accuracy of the customization and the attention to detail that your patch brings to your jersey.

One such place is the forum at IceJerseys.com, who host a hockey jersey only forum for collectors.

Here you can ask questions about the authenticity of potential purchases, learn the finer points of how to spot fakes yourself, where to locate patches, advice on customizers and player choices for your jerseys, buy new jerseys and sell your old ones once you have established yourself as a member of either community and simply show off your new arrival as well as seeing what unique things others have acquired, which will certainly inspire you to try to duplicate one for yourself from time to time.

In addition, the forum has a very active marketplace section and general discussion section.

The depth of knowledge available is quite remarkable as passionate collectors share their insights and knowledge on all things jersey related.

In addition to the traditional online forums, social media is now a place to connect with other collectors, with jersey oriented groups on Facebook. Our particular favorite is the IIHF Jerseys group on Facebook for those who specialize in national team jerseys, many of which are only available as game worn examples. It's a great place to see some very unique items and ask question of a very knowledgeable worldwide membership, which often has members posting jerseys for sale you will not find anywhere else.

Join today!
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Additionally, there are other groups on Facebook you can check out for game worn hockey jerseys, such as the Game Worn Hockey Jersey Collectors and Game Worn Hockey Jerseys, both of which have memberships over 1,000. Once you visit those pages, look on the right hand column for "suggested groups" to find all sorts of specialty sub-categories for collectors of just specific teams as well as equipment and collectables if that appeals to you.

Once you've joined a forum or a group, it's part of the fun to share your collection with others. Photographing your jerseys is an essential part of that and we have a few tips. We recommend a mid-tone background of either a beige carpet, wood flooring or a roll of seamless paper. A mid-tone background will work for both white and dark colored jerseys and look more consistent from shot to shot.

We do not recommend white or black backgrounds or tile surfaces or fabric surfaces, such as a sheet. White backgrounds won't allow white jerseys to separate very well and will fool the camera into thinking the scene is too bright, resulting in underexposed, grey photos, while black will have the opposite results. Black backgrounds will cause light colored jerseys to be overexposed and black jerseys to disappear into the background. The shine on tile surfaces will cause a glare from the flash which may also result in underexposed images. Those with prominent grout will only serve to distract from the jersey, the same of which can be said for a wrinkled sheet.

Once you have chosen your background, lay your jersey down, fold the arms over and get the jersey as flat as possible to reduce as many wrinkles as you can.

We do recommend the use of an on-camera flash. The light hitting the jersey from directly overhead will reduce the appearance of any wrinkles in the jersey, which would be emphasized by any side lighting, such as that coming from a window on one side of the jersey. A flash also has the added benefit of being the same each time, while reliance on sunlight leaves you subject to both sunny and cloudy days, resulting in inconsistent lighting.

To summarize, pick a background, not too light or not too dark, with as little pattern to it as possible and shoot from straight overhead with a flash.

You will need to host your own photos on the internet to be able to post them to any forum. There are many free photo hosting sites from which to choose from, such as Flickr or Photobucket.

As for meeting up with other collectors in person, there are two events that we recommend.

The first is the annual MeiGray Game-Worn Jersey Expo in New Jersey where the largest dealer of NHL game worn jerseys brings together collectors and dealers alike in a festival of jerseys unlike any other.

The other event we recommend is the Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub in St. Paul, Minnesota. The 13th annual Expo takes place Sunday, October 5th from 11 AM to 6 PM. This event is free and features collectors bringing their favorites from their personal collection for some good old show and tell, with an emphasis on jerseys related to the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota North Stars and Minnesota Gophers, as well as many other interesting jerseys from throughout the hockey world. It's great opportunity to see some great game worn jerseys up close, meet some new people and perhaps add a new jersey to your collection and we'll be there as usual.

There are other expos held throughout the country, perhaps one near you, such as the MeiGray Group Game-Worn Jersey Expo. The 2014 event was their 11th and was held in July, so look for news of the 2015 event for those of you in the New Jersey/New York area.

Already planned is the Toledo Detroit Uniform Show on November 8th, 2014. Admission to that event includes a ticket to the Toledo Walleye minor league game. Another event of note is the Game Worn Hockey Jersey Expo in Washington D. C. on February 28th, 2015, where MeiGray will have a presence, which will guarantee some great jerseys to be seen.

Announcements and details for this and other collector meetings can be found on the forums at GameWorn.net.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hockey jersey Training Camp - Day 8 - How to Communicate With Your Customizers

Day 8 of Hockey Jersey Training Camp moves onto our next "drill" on how to communicate with your customizers.

When spending your hard earned money having your rare jersey customized, the last thing you want when you finally get it back is an unwanted surprise, be it the wrong font, the wrong placement for a patch or wrong material for a nameplate. This is a battle we have fought dating back to the first jersey we ever owned.

In order to avoid disappointment, we make a policy of always over-communicating he specifics of what we want and expect on our completed jersey. Too many times we have seen someone send in a jersey expecting that their customizer will know not only exactly what the fonts and colors were for the team's name and numbers, but have those fonts on hand and colors in stock, only to get back something which might look good to the untrained eye, but fails to meet their demanding expectations or worse, just plain wrong in all aspects.

As we referenced on Day 4 of Hockey Jersey Training Camp, our favorite sources for photos is GettyImages.com's editorial sports section. It does take some experience to learn how to do effective searching on Getty Images, and older pictures are often not labelled very accurately with the correct date or even year, but there's more than enough on file there to help document just about any jersey project you'd like done.

For our sample, let's pick an Alexander Ovechkin Washington Capitals rookie home jersey. Start by searching for the team you are interested in, "Washington Capitals". If you search for just the player, you may exclude some excellent sample photos of the style of jersey you want done. Perhaps there's a photo of #18 Matt Pettinger that documents that style of jersey perfectly. Once you get an overwhelming 1488 pages of results, begin to narrow it down by selecting "search within" and entering the year "2005" in the search box. Don't enter "2005-06", as the photos are tagged with the year they were taken in, not the NHL season they are from. If you don't find what you want in "2005", try a new search in 2006 to search the second half of the season. (Tip: the older the pictures, from the last half of 2005-06, will be on the highest number page, as the results displayed will be the newest ones taken, which would make them from the 2006-07 season and not relevant to our project)

Searching for just 2005 will narrow down the results to 41 pages. Now look in the left hand column in the "Refine this search" box to see the various options. Under "specific people", Oveckhin's name appears with the number 206 next to it. Clicking on his name will narrow the photos down to just those 211 photos that contain Ovechkin, which now number a reasonable four pages. To narrow it down to the Capitals black home jersey, return to the "Refine this search" box again and choose either "MCI Center" or "Washington DC" in the location section, which now leaves us with two pages of Ovechkin from his rookie season in his home jersey.

Scrolling through the photos reveals one interesting photo, Ovechkin from his rookie season wearing the NHL Cares Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund patch. Further research elsewhere on the internet about the patch and the date it was worn reveals that the Katrina patch was worn for the first period of each team's first home game of the season, which was Ovechkin's NHL debut in which he scored two goals!

Ovechkin Katrina

That to us is one of the most fun parts of the hobby, doing our research and coming across a rare variation of a jersey which allows us to add a patch to ours, setting it apart from the masses and giving our jersey an interesting story behind it.

Clicking on the thumbnail will open the photo in a larger size in a new window. After looking through the remainder of the thumbnails, we find a few other great examples, especially of the back of the jersey which show the font style for the name and number. Each photo we like is saved to our desktop.

With a player as popular as Ovechkin, photos are easy to come by. On occasion we will use pictures of other players from the same team and year, especially if they have digits in common with what we want on our jersey.

Other sources for photos are Spirit of the Game, a dealer in game worn hockey jerseys who has numerous pictures of jerseys, mainly from 1970 to 2004. Many collectors use photo hosting sites such as Flickr.com and Photobucket.com as well.

Another option is to do a Google Image search for the player in question. Hockey cards can also be of value if all else fails.

Once all our pictures have been chosen, we fire up Photoshop and create a new 8 x 10 document, and then
  1. type exactly what we want added to the jersey across the top
  2. spell out in detail all the colors the name and numbers are
  3. if there is a nameplate (or not) and of what material (as some places will use twill if it is not specified)
  4. place and crop our sample photos of the back, arms and any patches
  5. add any notes about the customizing we feel are relevant
Spelling out the colors the numbers are seems incredibly basic, but we once saw this jersey customized with black trim around the numbers rather than the accurate blue color. Here is the finished sample sheet.

Ovechkin sample

Don't be afraid to make a second sheet for any project with a lot of details or complicated instructions. Too much information is never a bad thing.

After obtaining the needed patch, we then print the info sheet out, nicely fold our jersey, put the jersey in a zip lock bag, slide the info sheet into the bag so it's visible and place any patches to be added on in the bag. Finally, we squeeze as much air out of the bag we can in order to fit as many jerseys as possible in the box when sending a large order.

For the plastic bag, we like to use Hefty 2.5 gallon bags available from Target. They are the perfect size for a folded jersey and will nicely contain the jersey, info sheet and loose patches in one nice bundle, as well as protecting the jersey from any unforeseen shipping disasters.

Hefty bag

We then type out a letter to the customizers, being certain to include our name and address as well as their name and address (in the event our package ever needs to be identified), explaining that the top line of the info sheet is what is to be sewn on all the jerseys. We also make certain to include contact info, such as our email address and phone number, so we can be contacted in case of any questions about a jersey in production as well as being reached for our payment information when the order is completed. This is also an opportunity to further explain anything you feel might be confusing or complicated in your order.

Here is the finished result of the Ovechkin jersey.

Washington Capitals 05-06 jersey photo WashingtonCapitals05-06F.jpg
Washington Capitals 05-06 jersey photo WashingtonCapitals05-06B.jpg

Here is another example of a sample sheet with some important details pointed out, the use of home jersey photos, to show fonts and patch placements for a road jersey, using photos from a game worn jersey, as well as an illustration from NHLUniforms.com, followed by the finished result.

Ferraro sample

 photo NewYorkIslanders1991-92F.jpg
New York Islanders 1991-92 jersey photo NewYorkIslanders1991-92B.jpg

Before doing our research, we never realized that the Islanders had used the Penguins number font and the quirky "A" with the extra serifs. Had we not done our part, we would have been likely given a jersey with a standard block font and a typical "A", rather than our more accurate jersey with it's unique details.

Half the responsibility of getting a jersey accurately customized is yours.

You can't send out a 1992-2007 Tampa Bay Lightning jersey, which as been worn with four different fonts for the numbers, and expect the customizers to know what you have in mind without letting them know!

To avoid getting back a jersey that wasn't done the way you expected it was going to be, never assume the customizers can read your mind. Show them exactly what you are expecting, explaining the details fully with our method, and see if your results don't improve. Yes, it's admittedly over the top, but it's worked well for us and we really enjoy researching the sample photos and we know for a fact the customizers appreciate knowing our expectations and receiving the samples we provide them. It makes for happy customers and happy customizers.

And please be reasonable in your expectations. Many times fans nitpick customized jerseys apart for the smallest details. Quite often jerseys made for retail are different shapes than those made for the team and will have slightly less space in a critical area to duplicate placement and spacing exactly as a game worn jersey. Additionally, game worn jerseys are sometimes the most poorly customized examples you can find! We have game used jerseys with the numbers or patches noticeably rotated when they should be level, things hastily sewn down, if sewn at all! It's hard to demand absolute perfection when the real ones used on the ice can often be so full of flaws and errors, so be fair and reasonable in your expectations and demands.
 

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