Sunday, May 17, 2009

Syttende Mai

Norwegian Constitution Day, commonly known as Syttende Mai ("17th of May") is a celebration of the 1814 signing of Norway's constitution in the town of Eidsvoil, declaring Norway as an independent nation. In Oslo, children parade past the Royal Palace as the Royal Family looks on as part of the celebrations.

Norway has been a member of the IIHF since 1935 and currently participates at the top level of the World Championships, and have done so since being promoted by winning Division 1 in 1995 with their best finish being a 4th place in 1951.

Today's jersey is a 1992-93 Norway National Team jersey. This is one of the most striking designs of any jersey we have ever seen and we were thrilled to add it to our collection years after first seeing it in action at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.

We really love the Tackla jerseys made in Finland from this time period, as will become apparent over time as you get used to seeing the diamond shapes on the shoulders again and again, along with the distinctive drop shadow font Tackla favored for their numbers.

One thing that makes high quality European-made jerseys different from what we are used to in North America is that the jerseys are dye-sublimated. This is a process where the full design of the jersey, including the main body color, is made by injecting dye into the fabric of the jersey, a process very different from silk screening. If you turn a dye-sublimated jersey inside out, you will see that they all start life as a blank white "canvas". This allows for some wild designs not possible by weaving or sewing color together. Another benefit is long-lasting vibrant colors, as you see in this jersey that is now over 15 years old.

1992-93 Game Worn Norway National Team jersey
1992-93 Game Worn Norway National Team jersey

Perhaps the most familiar name to North American fans is Espen Knutsen, a veteran of 5 NHL seasons and the only Norwegian to have played in the NHL All-Star Game.

Currently there are two Norwegians in the NHL, left winger Patrick Thoresen of the Philadelphia Flyers and defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As for the following video featuring the 1989 Norway National Team, you just can't make this stuff up.

Dasherboard: The Western Conference Finals kick off today at 3:00 PM EST on NBC as the Detroit Red Wings host division rivals the Chicago Blackhawks. The defending Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings won the season series between the two teams 4-2. This is Chicago's first time this deep into the playoffs since 1995 where they lost to the same Detroit Red Wings.

This will be the 15th time the two Original Six teams have met in the playoffs dating back to 1934, with Chicago holding an 8-6 edge. One interesting fact to consider is long-time Red Wings coach Scotty Bowman is now Senior Advisor of Hockey Operations for the Blackhawks.

Will this series be seen as a passing of the torch to the young Blackhawks or the Red Wings asserting their position as defending champions? Our personal feeling is that "old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill" and the Red Wings will advance. However, this could very well be one of those series where people look back as the one where the Blackhawks learns the lessons and gains the hunger needed to achieve greater things in the future.

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