Even as the series moved to the Soviet Union, 3,000 Canadians made the trip to Moscow, and while they packed a few flags, only one child in the lower right can be spotted with a t-shirt with a red maple leaf on it. Again, no jerseys or caps anywhere to be found, as even the capitalist North Americans had yet to discover sports merchandising or even simply treating your country as a brand.
The fans look as if they dressed for dinner and a movie, not the meeting of "us" against "them" with our nation's pride and Olympic gold on the line. In amongst the winter sweaters and plaid flannel shirts, we're hard pressed to even find anyone who seems to have purposely dressed in either blue or red in support of the Americans, although we wouldn't recommend red for a game against the Soviet Union.
was even held in the United States by looking at the fans
The CCM replicas of the late 1980's and early 1990's were light weight, see through efforts that benefitted from having nothing else to compare to. Our 1991-92 NHL 75th anniversary season Turn Back the Clock Detroit, Chicago, Toronto, Boston and New York Rangers jerseys were prime examples of these undersized, semi-transparent replicas - that at the time we were thrilled to own.
It was the later arrival of the CCM 550 line of jerseys brought the quality of those formerly tissue paper thin jerseys up to an entirely new level. Soon, sales really began to take off with the rise in quality and acceptance of team jerseys being worn to games by fans to show their support for their favorite club - and things would never look the same in an NHL arena.
spot the Penguins fans in attendance.
Nassau County Colosseum in December, 2010
"gotta support the team" opt for body paint instead
opt for the "body paint jersey" approach
Apparently gone are the days when Nike at least made the colored road jerseys from each team for retail with the more popular nations occasionally in the home white, such as in the 1998 and 2002 Olympics when even a Belarus jersey was yours for the asking. The supply began to tighten up in 2006 with the introduction of the new Nike Swift styles and by 2010 if you didn't have your jersey ordered by the time the games started, you considered yourself extremely fortunate to find anything other than a Canada or US jersey, and if by chance you were actually able to track down something as obscure as Norway, that was quite an accomplishment. It appears that this time around, Nike has all but turned it's back on the international jersey market, leaving fans admire their new favorite style on TV, but not in their closet. Any die-hard Los Angeles Kings fan hoping to stand out from the crowd by wearing an Anze Kopitar Slovenia jersey is going to be disappointed.
Today's featured jersey is a 1969-70 Boston Bruins Bobby Orr jersey, the style worn while he was flying through the air like Superman in 1970, which shows how much things have changed in the world of sports merchandising.
At the time Orr scored his famous overtime Stanley Cup winning goal, no such thing existed for fans and collectors to buy, as if there even was such a thing as a memorabilia collector back then.
While jerseys had become available for sale to fans by the late 1980's, things changed in a dramatic way with the arrival of the auction site ebay in 1995. Fans could now list their old jerseys they no longer needed, giving fans and collectors a chance to buy things no longer commercially available.
One trend in particular was the prices being paid for some of the early, lower quality jerseys from defunct clubs such as the Minnesota North Stars, Hartford Whalers and Quebec Nordiques. These original jerseys often reached triple digits for the scarce examples, particularly in the larger sizes, as the older ones ran a size smaller than the current CCM 550's of the day and more of the smallest ones were originally unsold and more readily available now that there was a chance to market them.
Eventually, sensing an opportunity was at hand, CCM introduced "The Vintage Line", reprising long out of production styles which were now up to modern quality standards, as well as making some pre-1980 jersey styles available for the first time ever, such as today's featured Orr Bruins style.
The idea was a hit, as a brand new, available on demand CCM Vintage Line replica jersey was around $80, some 20% less than some of the prices being paid for the semi-transparent, quasi-accurate original releases with the often undersized main crests. There were also authentic model CCM 6100 jerseys, the same as worn on the ice by current NHLers, complete with fight straps for those seeking the most authentic jersey possible, something never before available for the vintage styles.
With the first group of a dozen or so Vintage Line jerseys selling very well, the following year saw a new selection made available, again reprising old styles that were ebay favorites or past jerseys of highly collected players of the day, such as All-Star jerseys worn by Wayne Gretzky and Pittsburgh Penguins Mario Lemieux jerseys from the Penguins back to back Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992. For several years CCM continued to produce a new group of jerseys each year, which were quickly snapped up by those hungry for the older styles which brought back so many great memories, such as your favorite player flying through the air in celebration of winning a Stanley Cup 30 years ago.