Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1990-91 Italy National Team Bob Manno Jersey

July by the Numbers crosses the Atlantic Ocean and heads to Italy for jersey #7.

Bob Manno, a defenseman, began his NHL career with the Vancouver Canucks in 1976-77. He played with the Canucks for five seasons, splitting time between the NHL and CHL with a high of 52 games in 1978-79.

Bob Manno Canucks
Bob Manno while with the Canucks

He signed as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1981-82 and played in 72 games that season, scoring an NHL career high 50 points. He was rewarded by playing in the NHL All-Star Game appearance that season. Following the regular season, Manno made his debut for the Italy National Team at the 1982 World Championships.

This led to him playing a year with HC Merano in the Italian Serie A followed by another World Championship experience with Italy in 1983.

He returned to North America and the NHL for the next two seasons, splitting time between the Red Wings (62 games) and the AHL (12), followed by a full season with Detroit in 1984-85, his last in the NHL.

He returned to Italy and HC Merano for the 1985-86 season, racking up 106 points in 36 games for the high powered Eagles, who were led by one time New York Ranger Mark Morrison's 147 points and former Maple Leaf Frank Nigro's 132 as Merano won the championship for the first time in it's history.

With Italy now down in the B Pool, Manno returned to action in the World Championships for the third time. One more season with Merano followed with another appearance for Italy in the World Championships in 1987 before he moved to HC Fassa for 1987-88 and 1988-89. After missing the 1988 Worlds, he contributed 5 assists in 7 games for Italy in 1989, his best showing in the World Championships to date, recognized by being named Best Defenseman in the tournament.

1989-90 had Manno on the move to HC Milano Saim for three seasons, including a championship in 1991, his second in Serie A. He was also named Best Defenseman in Serie A that year. He also made his final two World Championship appearances in 1990 and 1991, when he raised his personal best to 7 points in 7 games in 1991.

Manno closed out his international career in style, competing in his first Olympics in Albertville, France in 1992, where he scored a goal and 2 assists in 7 games.

He wound up his professional career with two seasons playing for the HC Bolzano Foxes, which included another Serie A Best Defenseman award in 1992.

Following his playing career, he moved into coaching, first in Italy and later in the German DEL.

Today's featured jersey is a 1990-91 Italy National Team Bob Manno jersey, one of the craziest national team jerseys ever produced.

The traditional approach begins at the shoulders with the white yoke and traditional Tackla diamond logos and the classic blue color of Italian National Team jerseys, but once one moves down to the ITALIA crest, tradition gets thrown out the window and the insanity begins with no less than 40 vertical stripes of varying widths and lengths on the body alone, interrupted on the front by five horizontal striping sections which create even more visual noise, bearing in mind that the Italian flag is comprised of vertical stripes!

If that weren't enough, the vertical striping frenzy continues on the sleeves, with 13 more stripes on each arm.

With just one jersey looking so incredibly busy sitting still, one can only imagine what five of them looked like on the ice, all in motion at the same time!

Truly one of the most visually jarring hockey jerseys in the history of the sport, and worn by someone who also had to wear the Canucks controversial "Flying V"!

1990-91 Italian National Team

Here is ERC Ingolstadt coach Bob Manno speaking in front of the press following a win after a game in Germany in early 2009. Fortunately for all involved he's dressed better than his old Italian National Team jersey.

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