Thursday, July 30, 2009
July by the Numbers treks up to the Great White North for jersey #30 today.
Nike first started making international jerseys in 1996 for the first World Cup of Hockey when they supplied five of the eight teams, the United States, Russia, Finland, Germany and Slovakia. These attractive jerseys had bold graphics on the bottom of the jersey in a "waving flag" style and pronounced Nike swoosh logos on the shoulders, one visible from the front and the other from the back, in the boldest manufacturer logo placement since the Reebok shoulder logos of the 1994 Olympics.
Nike then outfitted the entire field at the 1998 Nagano Olympics and the yoke collar made it's first appearance. The use of the template also arrived, as Canada and the Czech Republic wore identical jerseys with arched striping on the chest done in their respective colors, while Kazakhstan, Germany and Finland all wore similar looks to each other.
For 2002 Nike was again the sole supplier in Salt Lake City, as the United States joined the Czech Republic and the others in adopting the same templated look as the majority of the teams kept the same look that they wore in 2002.
But there was one development not seen before, as Canada introduced the alternate jersey to the international hockey scene. The jerseys featured the retro Canadian Maple Leaf logo orginally used by Canada's national team at the first Winter Olympics in Chamonix, France in 1924 when Canada captured the gold medal.
The jersey we am featuring today is a 2002 Team Canada alternate Martin Brodeur jersey. It features the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) patch on the back.
This jersey was worn in Canada's opening game of the Salt Lake City Olympics on February 15th, 2002 versus Sweden, a disappointing 5-2 loss for the Canadians. It was quickly deemed that the attractive throwback alternates were now "bad luck" and they were sadly never worn again.
Brodeur did not play in the game versus Sweden, as Curtis Joseph was the starter that night. On the heels of the loss, Brodeur got the start in game two of the Qualifying Round, defeating Germany 3-2. Following a tie with the Czechs, Brodeur and Canada defeated Finland in the Quarter Finals 2-1 before drawing Belarus, fresh off their shocking upset of Sweden. Canada would easily defeat Belarus 7-1 and advance to take on the Americans on their home ice where they had twice before taken gold, in 1960 and again in 1980.
An inspired Canada defeat the USA 5-2 to capture the Olympic gold for the first time since 1952. Brodeur would finish the tournament with a 4-0-1 record and a goals against average of 1.80.