Monday, June 29, 2009

1998-99 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Alternate John Pohl Jersey

I'm surprised it took this long, but regular readers of Third String Goalie will quickly learn that I am located in the hockey hotbed that is Minnesota, and as such, with the passing of time you will undoubtedly be subjected to a disproportionately large number of University of Minnesota Golden Gophers jerseys. I can promise you that they will possess quite a wide ranging variety of styles and eras, but if you do happen to be a die-hard University of North Dakota or University of Wisconsin fan, I won't apologize, but I will ask for your patience.

Minnesota's 1998 "Mr. Hockey", John Pohl was born on this date in 1979 and until recently held the Minnesota State High School career scoring record, with 378 points. In the world of career 1000 point scorers in the NHL, 378 points doesn't exactly sound like a big deal, but when you factor in a high school career is only four years long and just a mere 28 games season, suddenly averaging 95 points per year makes you sit up and take notice. Pohl's best season was his junior year when he racked up 111 points in 28 games for an average of 3.96 points per game. For comparison, fully admitting it really is apples and oranges, Wayne Gretzky averaged 1.92 points per game during his NHL career.

Pohl went onto play four years at the University of Minnesota, cumulating in a national championship for the Golden Gophers in 2001-02, a season when he was one of the team leaders and an assistant captain. He had his best collegiate season with 27 goals and 52 assists for 79 points and was named a First Team All-American in 2001-02, earning himself a spot on one of the murals at the Gopher's home rink, Mariucci Arena.

Pohl was drafted in 1998 by the St. Louis Blues, but only made one appearance for St. Louis in the NHL before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He would play 114 games over three seasons for Toronto, scoring 17 goals and 21 assists for 38 points. For the 2008-09 season, Pohl would continue his professional career first in Swizterland for HC Lugano, and most recently Frölunda HC of the Swedish Elite League.

The jersey I am featuring today is a Gemini 1998-99 University of Minnesota Alternate John Pohl jersey. This controversial jersey was worn for a limited number of games, as the players complained that the jersey was too hot to play comfortably in.

At the time this jersey was worn, the head coach of the Gophers, Doug Woog in his final season, had a policy of only recruiting players from the state of Minnesota. Each players jersey was decorated with a diamond shaped patch on the back of the jersey with a silhouette of Minnesota and the players home town embroidered in it. My jersey is from a batch not used by the team with a generic "Gophers" in place of "Red Wing" that would have been worn on Pohl's game worn example.

Minnesota Gophers 98-99 Alt F
Minnesota Gophers 98-99 Alt B
Minnesota Gophers 98-99 Alt P

The unconventional, decidedly "Star Trek" font chosen for the numbers and vertically arched name with continuous black outline was a dramatic departure for the Gophers, as well as the woven pinstripe effect dazzle cloth material. Gemini has an "interesting" aesthetic approach to jerseys at times, favoring the dazzle cloth in particular like no others. Not surprisingly, this jersey was only used for one season.

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