Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Today's featured jersey is a departure from the usual array of jerseys on Third String Goalie, as this jersey never actually existed.
While surfing IceJerseys.com, our favorite source for uncrested jerseys, we came across a blank green Hartford Whalers style jersey with a tie-neck collar and the inclusion of the silver trim color only used on Whalers jerseys from 1992-93 to 1996-97. The first thing that stood out about this jersey was the inclusion of the silver trim, which was never used by the Hartford Whalers on a green jersey. The other thing that really stood out about this jersey was the tie-neck collar, never used by the Hartford Whalers.
Despite those questions, the jersey did seem like a perfect match for the white home and blue road jerseys the Whalers used without an alternate during those years and our goal became to create an alternate jersey for that set that never existed.
Our first stop was, of course, ebay to search for a crest to put on the jersey. Whalers crests are easily found on ebay in a choice of sizes and construction. We chose this one based on it's size and quality of construction, as this particular one is made of six separate pieces of twill, all sewn together, including the outer trim being kiss-cut twill. Others were very nicely embroidered versions and a few looked good on ebay, but proved to be too small for a proper look.
We were also lucky enough to find a matching pair of nicely embroidered "Pucky the Whale" secondary shoulder logo patches, last seen on a Whalers jersey back in 1983 (along with Cooperalls!), at a time when they were quite scarce, to complete the look of the basic jersey before customizing.
Next was the choice of player and, even though he was playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Whalers were wearing their final jersey set that this sweater was meant to be an alternate for, I chose Ron Francis, who scored his 1000th career point on this date in 1993.
Francis was starring for the Carolina Hurricanes at the time I was putting this jersey together, and the Hurricanes don't forget were originally the Hartford Whalers.
Other historically accurate options were Geoff Sanderson, Andrew Cassels, Pat Verbeek, the wonderfully named Zarley Zalapski, Sean Burke, Frank Pietrangelo, Chris Pronger, Brendan Shanahan, Jeff O'Neill, Sami Kapanen, Kevin Dineen, Keith Primeau, Jean-Sebastien Giguere and even Paul Coffey, who skated for "The Whale" for 20 games in their final season in Hartford, but our choice of Francis won out under the circumstances of creating a fantasy jersey. If shooting for "accuracy" with our fantasy jersey project, we would have added a 1992-93 Stanley Cup Centennial patch and gone with either Sanderson, Cassels or Verbeek, most likely whomever wore a "C" or an "A".
Once the choice of player was decided on, it came time to decide on the customizing. We opted for a one color name in white and white numbers with blue trim and a silver outline, replicating the pattern on the sleeve and waist stripes. The sequence of lightest color for the numbers, darkest color trim and medium toned outlines seemed to be the best option and replicated the sequence chosen for the Whalers blue road jerseys at the time.
While researching this project, we did discover the origins of our blank jersey, the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, who used this jersey as an alternate, shown below, with two color numbers, white outlined in blue, which we only discovered as we were researching this entry.
The jersey was then sent in for customizing in the font used by the Whalers on the actual home and road jerseys of the time period to complete the look. Here is the finished project, complete with our "throwback" Pucky the Whale shoulder logos, our favorite touch on this unique jersey.
Our first video is a montage of Ron Francis highlights from his time with the Whalers.
Usually we try to avoid posting slideshows in favor of actual videos, but this collection of shots of a young Francis, including the previously mentioned Cooperalls, is rather well done and we heartily approve of the choice of the Whalers theme song "Brass Bonanza" as the soundtrack.
Dasherboard: In jersey collecting news, after years and years off the market, the stumbling blocks over the licensing of Hartford Whalers merchandise have finally been removed and Hartford Whalers jerseys are now available for purchase, made with modern materials and construction in the CCM 550 specification for the first time ever, including Pucky the Whale shoulder patches!
Just click on the IceJerseys.com ad, the top ad in the right side column of this page. Then simply type "CCM Hartford 1979" in the search box in the upper right.