Today's featured jersey is a 1978-79 Indianapolis Racers Wayne Gretzky jersey. The Racers joined the WHA for the 1974-75 season. Their basic jerseys remained unchanged throughout their five seasons of existence with only a change from two color names used through 1976-77 to one color names for 1977-78 and for 25 games of the 1978-79 season before folding on December 15, 1978.
K1 makes many unusual jerseys that are nice to be able to obtain, such as their many WHA jerseys, however, they do have the annoying habit of making their jerseys "to be worn with pads", meaning they consistently run a size larger than just about every other manufacturer under the sun. A family of four could comfortably live in the large, billowy arms of their jerseys. We generally make a habit of taking any K1 jersey our local tailor shop and have the width of the arms reduced to a more human proportion.
We at Third String Goalie prefer a size large in CCM, Starter or ProPlayer and can live with an extra large quite well, but when it comes to K1 jerseys, a medium is our first choice. A large is passable if the extra yard of material is removed from the arms, but an extra large is more suited for use as a circus tent.
In a frankly shocking and unexpected discover today, we found video of Wayne Gretzky scoring his first two goals as a professional for the Indianapolis Racers. It was a rare occurrence for any WHA games to be shown on TV in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area during our youth, and no one had a VCR in their home at the time, so to find video of a Racers game that has been posted on youtube was certainly a welcome and surprising treat.
I'm not sure how much hype there would have been for Gretzky to have joined the Racers in Indianapolis in 1978, but we were also frankly shocked at the size of the crowd at the game and their thunderous enthusiasm.
Here is another video, profiling Gretzky's career during his transition from junior hockey to the WHA with the Racers and his quick move to the Edmonton Oilers.