Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reader Submission - 2006-07 Montreal Canadiens Andrei Markov Jersey

Our latest reader submitted jersey comes from Michael Engle, and it's a classic Montreal Canadiens red jersey, which he purchased blank and had customized after doing his homework and making some personal connections with his choices to create a very special jersey.

Here is Mike's story about his awesome jersey, made to commemorate a special night:
The story of this jersey takes place in the summer of 2010, when I was enrolled in summer courses at McGill University. The Montreal Canadiens had just completed an improbable playoff run, riding young goalie Jaroslav Halak and special call-up defenseman P.K. Subban to the Eastern Conference finals despite an 8th-seeded ranking. After the season, I was lucky enough to visit the Habs' gift shop during their traditional post-season sale. There, I was able to purchase this authentic jersey (it was blank at the time) at a price below retail EDGE replicas!

Not only is this jersey actually my size (48), but it is relatively rare on a retail level. As any connoisseur can tell you, this was strictly a two-year style: from 2005 to 2007, jerseys bore the Reebok vector logo while maintaining the shape and tailoring of traditional sweaters. (Reebok debuted as the NHL's jersey maker in 2005, replacing CCM and Koho. Reebok has had the sponsorship ever since, going through the 2007 league-wide shift to the EDGE template.) More specifically, a sticker on the "cleaning instructions" label implies that this jersey was made on August 25, 2006, suggesting that my jersey helped mark the beginning of the end of pre-EDGE Habs jerseys.

After storing my new, but still blank, authentic in my closet for days while deciding what to do with it, I decided to pay tribute to my favorite historical Hab: Ken Dryden. Though I never saw him play (I was only born in 1989!), he was always a role model of mine for his goaltending excellence, his status as a Cornell University alumnus (as is my mother), and his post-NHL endeavors (including being a practicing attorney, member of Canadian Parliament, the acclaimed author of The Game, and Al Michaels' broadcast partner for the Miracle on Ice!). As luck would have it, Dryden had his number retired in the 06-07 season. This allowed me to make a perfectly backdated throwback jersey to one particular night from over three years ago with a days-old purchase!

After buying the Ken Dryden patch on eBay, all I had to do was pick my player. I decided that because all after-the-fact customizations are equally expensive, I might as well pick a current Hab who was in that particular game on January 29th, 2007. My only two choices were Tomas Plekanec (who wore #35 for two seasons while Radek Bonk occupied #14) and Andrei Markov. Assuming I'd grow annoyed of people pointing out my "wrong" number, I opted for Markov. Further research affirmed that the hockey gods approved of my choice: Markov hails from Voskresensk, USSR, as does former Colorado Avalanche Valery Kamensky. My first NHL jersey was a gift from my father, and it was a Kamensky jersey. Furthermore, the Habs defeated the Ottawa Senators on Ken Dryden Night by a score of 3-1, and Markov assisted on the game-winning goal while logging 20+ minutes of ice time.

This show-and-tell article would not be complete without thanking IceJerseys. Not only is IJ a TSG-trusted name in customization, they are located in Ville-St.-Laurent, a Montreal suburb that is relatively accessible via public transit. They took my jersey, gave it the customization treatment, and sewed the Dryden patch on too. They even double-checked that I actually meant to refuse the 'A' on my Markov jersey. (When healthy, Markov is currently an alternate captain for the Habs, but on Dryden Night, the assistants to Saku Koivu were actually Craig Rivet and Sheldon Souray.)

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A little highlight reel from the Ken Dryden game can be found here:
Right away, you can see Markov with the patch on the right, but without a letter on the left. And for a bonus YouTube finding, thanks to hockey blogger Dmitry Chesnokov's Twitter feed, here is a clip of Markov scoring the longest non-empty net goal you've ever seen:

Many thanks to Mike for taking the time to photograph his jersey, research the videos and write his detailed story. We really appreciate the efforts involved with sharing our reader's jerseys andit's always fun to hear about the decisions that go into people's choices when customizing their jerseys, especially when each aspect of his jersey has a personal connection.

If you have a jersey in your collection that you'd like to share with us and your fellow readers, please submit your pictures and a story to go with it, no matter how brief or detailed, to spyboy1@gmail.com and we look forward to seeing your favorites.

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