Saturday, October 15, 2011

2011 Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo Report

We recently attended the 2011 Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo and saw some amazing jerseys and had some great conversations with fellow hockey jersey fans. Aside from the collector's who came to share their collections, former Minnesota North Star Brad Maxwell was in attendance this year, as was Minnesota Wild television broadcaster Mike Greenlay, as was one of his jerseys from his playing days, a common occurrence for any former players who attend the expo.

Speaking of former players, here is event organizer Dave Frechette with our host and former Minnesota North Star, Tom Reid.

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In an effort to convey the spirit of the event, here are some photos from this year's gathering, which was the 10th annual one at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub.

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Above is Scott Janvrin's impressive Ben Clymer collection. Collecting one player, such as Clymer can be a challenge when they make multiple stops in the NHL and the AHL, but that challenge increases exponentially when a player extends his career by playing in Europe, so this collection was all the more impressive with the addition of game worn jerseys from the German DEL.

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Kyle Oen brought his amazing game worn Minnesota high school jersey collection that rivals the one on display at the Xcel Energy Center. He also has other Minnesota based teams in his collection, such as the Minnesota Moose and Minnesota Gophers. Kyle's love of all things Minnesota hockey related is expressed in his website, VintageMinnesotaHockey.com.

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Above is John Lindberg's take on a Minnesota theme. Where Kyle collects teams from Minnesota, John is more about former Gophers NHL jerseys as well as Minnesota Wild prospects jerseys before they reach the NHL.

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Can't make it to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto? Then having the opportunity to see Jon Bakke's collection of vintage jerseys can save you the trip. This year Jon went with a theme, bringing all his old Quebec Nordiques jerseys, the centerpiece of which are his Stastny brothers!

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Jon can be easily spotted at Minnesota Wild games wearing his rotating collection of gamers, as he doesn't just hang them in a closet, he wears his regularly to Wild games.

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Here is Jon sharing his collection with former North Star Maxwell, who probably had a few intense battles with the Nordiques before becoming one himself at one point in his career.

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Speaking of Hall of Fame worthy collections, Dan Erspamer's Minnesota North Stars collection is highlighted with not only a first year North Stars jersey, but one belonging to the tragic Bill Masterton - a true gem of the expo. If you'd like to talk jerseys with Dan, he's an expert and can be found working at The Hockey Lodge store at Minnesota Wild home games, which take place just up the road from Reid's at the Xcel Energy Center.

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Chris Groth (right) has his own hall of fame collection underway and goes for whatever catches his eye. He brought some real gems, including game worn jerseys from Luc Robitaille, Joe Sakic and Theo Fleury, but his Alexander Ovechkin game worn jersey was certainly an Expo highlight.

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Eric Bodamer, who designed all the jerseys Nike supplied for the 1998 Olympic hockey tournament in Nagano, Japan, brought with his collection of game worn jerseys from his hometown Buffalo Sabres.

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This collection with a Minnesota and Minnesota Wild theme was really impressive, particularly the Mikael Granlund jersey from HIFK Helsinki. Just how do people track these things down?! You have to appreciate dealing with the differences in time zone, language and currency when it comes to obtaining European jerseys!

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Yes, you are seeing that right, it's a Milwaukee Admirals "Bob Uecker Night" jersey modeled after Uecker's infamous plaid sport coats! That jersey, and the rest of the collection on the table belong to Chris Jerina. The Uecker jersey, along with the Masterton jersey, was easily our favorite of the event.

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Here was our contribution to the proceedings, our history of patches worn by the Minnesota Wild in their 10 years of play. We also brought our collection of game worn German National Team jerseys, which date from 1989 to 2009.

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Another great person to meet was certainly Dan Schafer, who was the former equipment manager for the Minnesota Moose of the IHL. His Nordiques jersey from the late Stephane Morin was one of our personal highlights.

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The walls of Tom Reid's are just dripping with hockey memorabilia and create the perfect environment to hold such an event.

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Who says the event is just for guys?

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Finally, the collection of event organizer Frechette, without whom the Expo would not exist. Dave's collection focuses primarily on Minnesota Wild players jerseys, only before they joined the Wild. Examples in his collection are Wild prospects jerseys from their college and junior team as well as European born players jerseys from their European club teams. He is shown with his new pride and joy, Dany Heatley's Ak Bars Kazan game worn jersey from Heatley's time in Russia during the lost NHL season of 2004-05.

How he is consistently able to track down jerseys from such a wide variety of sources is one of the more impressive things to take in at the Expo and his appreciation of hockey history is evidenced by the rare and wonderful Minnesota Fighting Saints WHA jersey seen here as well as his North Stars game worn jersey on display behind him.

Look for an announcement on the gameworn.net forums or this blog or on facebook for details of the the 11th annual expo in early October of 2012. It's a can't miss event, and remember, Chicks Dig the Game Worn Jerseys!

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