Thursday, August 13, 2009
Today the Curious, Weird and Ugly™ Collection hits the high seas with the Tampa Bay Lightning's first alternate jersey.
The 1997-98 Tampa Bay Lighting Alternate jersey is also sometimes known as "The Seasickness Jersey". While the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys that kicked off the Curious, Weird and Ugly™ Collection did not have nicknames, this Tampa Bay Alternate has risen to the level of the named jersey. Once a jersey receives a nickname, it is a sign that it has risen to a new level of notoriety among both fans and collectors alike.
This jersey was first introduced for the 1996-97 season and depicts a raging storm at sea, with angry, tossing waves across the bottom and streaks of subtle black and grey pelting rain across the main body of the jersey. The black sleeves are adorned with violent streaks of lightning down each arm, creating a scene so well executed you can almost hear the crashing of the thunder and feel the sting of the spray against your face. This jersey was only made possible by the use of dye-sublimation to create the rain, waves and lighting bolts on the sleeves.
The jersey is completed with the fantastic "electric" numbers and bold, vertically arched names on the back, which are both highly visible and only add to the visual excitement of the complete package. A very clever and unique jersey that was well executed and whose life span was all too short. Yes, as you may have sensed by now, we really love this jersey here at Third String Goalie.
During it's first year of use, this jersey was worn without any additional patching, but the 1997-98 season would see them wear the #12 shamrock patch as a tribute to teammate John Cullen, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1997 and would miss the season fighting the disease, before returning briefly the following season. Tampa Bay would host the 1999 NHL All-Star Game and therefore wore the 1999 All-Star Game patch on all their jerseys during the 1998-99 season, the last for this alternate jersey style.
For some unexplained reason, the Lighting would begin the season wearing their "paintbrush" font from their standard home and away jerseys on the "Stormy Weather" jersey, a font that adds nothing to the theme of the jersey and looks very out of place when compared to the "electric" numbers. The team did change back to the jerseys original "electric" numbers after the first two months of the season, making the "paintbrush" numbered alternates a rarity.
While this jersey style only lasted three seasons, it is still quite sought after by collectors and never fails to attract a lot of attention when they become available.
I definitely classify this one as "Curious" since I don't find it weird nor ugly and it's curious that it only lasted three seasons and the odd choice of the "paintbrush" font for the start of the 1998-99 season.
I couldn't come up with any video clips of this jersey in action myself, so feel free to send any youtube links via the comments function and I'll post the best ones.