Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo Report

This past Sunday was one of the highlights of the jersey collecting calendar, the 14th Annual Minnesota Hockey Collectors Expo at Tom Reid's Hockey City Pub near the Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild.

It's the largest gathering of game worn jerseys in Minnesota each year and you can count on seeing some amazing and varied collections in a great hockey environment with collectors bringing favorites from their personal collections for some good old "show and tell". While there is naturally an emphasis on jerseys related to the Minnesota Wild, Minnesota North Stars and Minnesota Gophers, there are always many other interesting jerseys from throughout the hockey world and this year was no exception.

It's great opportunity to see some great game worn jerseys up close, meet some new people and perhaps add a new jersey to your collection, as there are always deals to be made plus an annual raffle of great prizes from the collections of many of those in attendance in an effort to raise money for the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association, who will receive 100% of the raffle proceeds. 

Auction - Al Benson photo Auction - Al Benson.jpg
Al Benson showing off the game worn Pierre-Marc Bouchard Minnesota Wild game worn jersey, which highlighted the items available in the charity raffle

Here is a sampling of who was in attendance and some highlights of their collections.

 photo 2 Brian Vesall.jpg

Brian Vesall brought his collection, which features jerseys from former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher hockey players, such as Johnny Pohl, Erik Westrum, Tom Chorske, Lance Pitlick, Erik Rasmussen and Danny Irmen.

 photo 3 Paul Doruska.jpg

Paul Doruska certainly had one of the most unique collections this year, which was focused on southern minor league teams, as he used to live in the south.

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While many of his interesting jerseys had intricate details to the crests of the jerseys from some of hockey's more obscure outposts, a real highlight was a Columbus Cottonmouths jersey where the numbers were comprised of snakes!

 photo 4 Chris Groth.jpg

Chris Groth has a hall of fame worthy collection which focuses on NHL stars. He brought some real gems, including game worn jerseys from Luc Robitaille and Theo Fleury, but his Niklas Lidstrom game worn rookie jersey was certainly an Expo highlight.

 photo 5 Chris Jerina.jpg

Next up is Chris Jerina with his Milwaukee Admirals "Bob Uecker Night" jersey, modeled after Uecker's infamous plaid sport coats and is one of our all-time favorites and a highlight of his Admirals themed collection.

 photo 6 Scotty Janvrin.jpg

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.

 photo 7 Chris amp Riley Meade.jpg

Chris and Riley Meade brought their large collection of jerseys, which has two main themes. Chris is working on a collection of Minnesota state high school jerseys, sometimes driving great lengths to acquire them, as well as a collection of international jerseys, such as the Norway jersey he is displaying from Per-Age Skroder, a frequent member of Norway's World Championships and Olympic teams.

 photo 8 John Lindberg.jpg

We interrupted John Lindberg, who was in the middle of sharing his collection with a couple of young fans in attendance. John, in addition to being a Neal Broten collector, has an interesting collection jerseys from Minnesota Wild first round draft picks from prior to joining the Wild, which means tracking down jerseys from the Canadian juniors or European club teams, which certainly must present some challenges. He also keeps an eye out for jerseys from players from northwest Minnesota, who hail from near his hometown of Kennedy, Minnesota.

 photo 10 Kyle Oen.jpg

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, including some museum quality vintage pieces. Kyle's love of all things Minnesota hockey related is expressed in his website, VintageMinnesotaHockey.com.

 photo 11 Zdenek Kuhn.jpg

Zdenek Kuhn brought his collection of Czech NHLers to to the expo for the first time, and had jerseys on hand from Petr Svoboda, Robert Lang, Jiri Hudler and Marek Zidlicky in addition to the signed Dominik Hasek jersey he is displaying. Our favorite jersey of his was actually the late 1980's Czechoslovakia Tackla jersey he was wearing, one we would love to have in our collection.

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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! Jon went with a theme, bringing all his old Montreal Canadiens jerseys, the centerpiece of which are some vintage wool sweaters, like the Yvan Cournoyer jersey he is holding up.

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.

 photo 9 Dave Freschette.jpg

Finally, the collection of event organizer Dave Frechette, without whom the Expo would not exist. Dave's collection now focuses primarily on game worn Minnesota North Stars jerseys, but he also has some Minnesota Fighting Saints jerseys from the 1970's as well.

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Dave is also able to attract some local hockey players to the event every year, with this year being no exception, as here he is shown with former Minnesota Wild captain Wes Walz and his old Calgary Flames jersey.

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Also in attendance this year was former NHLer, United States Olympic silver medalist and Minnesota high school hockey legend Henry Boucha, who was on hand with a display of his personal memorabilia, including his 1972 Olympic jersey, as well as copies of his book.

We really look forward to the annual hockey expo and hope you will be able to join us for next year's event, wether you have jerseys to share or not. All are certainly welcome to come on down to St. Paul and have a look at all the great jerseys on display, talk with their extremely knowledgeable owners, take in the hockey atmosphere at Tom Reid's and enjoy some of their great menu items while watching games on their endless supply of TV's.

We hope you can make it for the 15th annual event next October!

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