Saturday, February 6, 2016

"Miracle" Movie Jersey Collection

Released on this date in 2004, "Miracle" chronicles the story of Herb Brooks and the 1980 United States Olympic Hockey Team from Brooks' hiring to his formation of his squad followed by his rigorous training methods and efforts to instill in his players an unfamiliar style of play in an effort to combat the dominant team from the Soviet Union, a team made up of battle hardened veterans who had already proven capable of defeating the best the National Hockey League had to offer just one year earlier and who through any route to a gold medal would inevitably have to pass through.

 photo Miracle poster.jpg

Brooks, played by veteran actor Kurt Russell, has to overcome resistance to his methods by his bosses and the division amongst his team, who carry their East vs. West rivalries from their college teams into their training camp. Brooks, a master psychologist, presents himself as disciplinarian and taskmaster in order to unite his players against a common foe - himself as indicated by the lines "I'll be your coach. I won't be your friend."

 photo Brooks Russell.jpg
Herb Brooks (left) and Kurt Russell (right)

Still upset with one of his new teammates over a past incident during the college hockey playoffs, Jack O'Callahan from Boston University instigates a fight during practice with Rob McClanahan from the University of Minnesota. Following the fight, Brooks tells the players his team is all about "flow and creativity, not old rivalries", and has each player introduce themselves. They all respond with their name and what school they played for.

Later, in one of the movie's defining scenes, the distracted team sleepwalks through a 3-3 tie against Norway, which incenses Brooks, who famously punishes his team with an exhausting workout following the game, as he skates his players to exhaustion, even after the arena staff has turned out the lights in the rink, commanding his team to over and over skate "Again!" to the point of vomiting.

Finally, when team captain Mike Eruzione states his name and that the team he plays for is not Boston University, but The United States of America, Brooks has driven home his point of the required hard work and team unity he demands from his team, and the practice mercifully ends.



The team suffers an embarrassing and eye opening 10-3 loss to the Soviets in an exhibition game just prior to the Olympics, followed by an opening game tie against Sweden, where the Americans are saved by a final minute goal by Bill Baker following a trademark Brooks motivational tactic to fire his players up.



The team then goes on a roll, defeating the favored Czechoslovakians 7-3 and then posting wins over Norway, Romania and West Germany to earn a spot in the medal round and their date with destiny against the Soviets.

During their showdown, the Americans fall behind no less than three times, but keep fighting back to tie the game. Finally, Eruzione scores to give the US a 4-3 lead, but with ten agonizing minutes left to play. The US holds on thanks to the goaltending of Jim Craig, setting off an emotional celebration.

Despite the win against the heavily favored Soviets, the United States still has not even assured themselves the gold medal, as they must defeat Finland in their final game. As they have many times in the tournament, the Americans must come from behind to win, and Brooks warns the team that they will take a failure "to their graves" if they lose. Properly motivated once again by their coach, the team comes out flying to win the game 4-2 and secure the gold medal, setting off another round of celebrations.

With so many hockey scenes needing to be shot, the filmmakers needed an enormous amount of wardrobe for the movie and contacted AIS to produce all the jerseys used in the making of the film. All told, they made 11 different team uniform sets, plus additional items such as practice jerseys for the tryout scenes and team jackets.

The most interesting thing to note about the jerseys used in the filming of the movie was the choice of colors for the jerseys used in the pre-Miracle on Ice scenes, as all the colors for the jerseys are three shades darker than than they were originally, such as the use of navy blue rather than royal blue or brick red instead of a vibrant primary red. This is particularly noticeable when looking at anything that was originally white, as it was all now rendered in a grey/silver tone.

It took us a decade of patience and searching, but we were finally able to complete an entire set of each team used in the filming of the movie, and we now present them in the order they appear in the film.

The first appearance of any to the team jerseys is in the first half of the film during the exhibition game held in Norway, which earns the team the full brunt of Brooks' wrath in the "Again!" scene has the team is forced to do repeated "Herbies" (an exhausting skate from the end goal line to the near blue line, back to the end line, to the center red line, back to the end line, to the far blue line, back to the end line, then to the far end line and finally back to the end line) and immediately illustrates the use of the altered colors for the jerseys that appear in the early part of the film as evidenced by the "white" Norway home jerseys.

1980 Norway National Team Jersey1980 Norway Home photo Norway 1980 H F.jpg
1980 Norway Home photo Norway 1980 H B.jpg

Next from that scene is the first appearance of the jerseys worn by the United States in the pre-Olympic scenes, which has "USA" diagonally across the front rather than arched, as it would later appear in the Olympic Games. Again, this jersey is made from a muted Navy Blue, Brick Red and Grey color palette.

1980 United States National Team Jersey
1980 USA photo USA 1980 Pre-Olympic F.jpg
1980 USA photo USA 1980 Pre-Olympic 5 B.jpg

After the navy blue jerseys appear again in a game versus the IHL All-Stars, the next jerseys to appear in the movie are the brightly colored jerseys of the United States and the Soviet Union during their exhibition game at Madison Square Garden just three days prior to the Olympics. The Soviet blood red jerseys and the Americans snow white jerseys give the game the desired visual excitement the filmmakers were looking for.

1980 Soviet Union National Team Jersey1980 Soviet Union photo Soviet Union 1980 25 F.jpg
1980 Soviet Union photo Soviet Union 1980 25 B.jpg

1980 United States National Team Jersey
1980 USA photo USA 1980 27 H F.jpg
1980 USA photo USA 1980 27 H B.jpg

With that thrashing of the United States over with, the scenes featuring the actual Olympics then dominate the second half of the movie with the first American game being against Sweden, where Baker saves the day with his last minute goal with goaltender Craig pulled to spare the United States an opening game defeat. Being a non-Soviet opponent, the filmmakers are back to using the muted colors for the Swedish jerseys, although the yellow still appears relatively vibrant on screen. This is also the first use of the royal blue Olympic jerseys for the United States, giving the game the desired visual excitement.

1980 Sweden National Team
1980 Sweden photo Sweden 1980 F.jpg
1980 Sweden photo Sweden 1980 B.jpg

1980 United States National Team
1980 USA photo USA 1980 5 R F.jpg
1980 USA photo USA 1980 5 R B.jpg

The next opponent for the United States was favored Czechoslovakia, who appeared in their brick red jerseys during the movie for all of ten seconds.

1980 Czechoslovakia National Team
 1980 Czechoslovakia photo Czechoslovakia 1980 F.jpg
1980 Czechoslovakia photo Czechoslovakia 1980 B.jpg

The scene following the USA versus Czechoslovakia game sees Brooks walking on the streets of Lake Placid with Walter Bush. Team jackets are seen from East Germany (DDR) and Italy before they encounter the Soviets, led by head coach Viktor Tikhonov, who is followed by several team members wearing CCCP jackets to keep them warm against the snow flurries.

1980 Soviet Union National Team Winter Jacket
1980 Soviet Union jacket photo Soviet Union 1980 winter jacket XL F.jpg
1980 Soviet Union jacket photo Soviet Union 1980 winter jacket XL B.jpg

Norway appears as the next US opponent, only this time wearing their red road jerseys against the Americans. The Norwegians are dispatched in a mere 13 seconds of screen time.

1980 Norway National Team
1980 Norway Road photo Norway 1980 R F.jpg
1980 Norway Road photo Norway 1980 R B.jpg

The next game is against Romania, who are wearing yellow jerseys similar to Sweden. The shade of yellow used by the Romanian jerseys is slightly darker than Sweden's and again has the muted navy blue and brick red secondary colors. Of all of our "lesser" country jerseys, the #15 of Alexandru Halauca appears on screen the longest while he breaks down the ice as part of the Romanian attack.

Unusually, we also acquired another Romania jersey, this one with a lace-up collar, rather than the v-neck of the Halauca jersey, a style which does not appear on screen during the movie. It has been suggested to us that this may have been a goaltender jersey, but in reality, Sandor Gal (spelled with just one "L") was a defenseman. This jersey arrived without laces.

1980 Romania National Team
1980 Romania #1 photo Romania 1980 V F.jpg
1980 Romania #1 photo Romania 1980 V B.jpg

1980 Romania #2 photo Romania 1980 L F.jpg
1980 Romania #2 photo Romania 1980 L B.jpg

West Germany received a generous 35 seconds of screen time and was the last and most difficult jersey for us to obtain to complete our collection. Having passed on an easy opportunity to get one when they first appeared on ebay when the jerseys first began to be made available to the public prior to setting our sights on having a complete set, it would take another ten years for one to resurface after their initial availability.

While the jerseys for the United States and Soviet Union were made in multiple sets in case of physical damage due to their amount of use in the filming, jerseys from the remaining nations were only made in a single set and can be much harder to obtain due to their limited numbers.

Unlike the other jerseys, the West Germany jerseys use an elastic material for the waist stripes, which results in it's clinched appearance at the bottom. Again, note the use of the brick red and grey for the West German jersey.

1980 West Germany National Team
1980 West Germany photo Germany 1980 F.jpg
1980 West Germany photo Germany 1980 B.jpg

We finally arrive at the Miracle on Ice game between the United States and the Soviet Union for which the entire movie has been building up to. Both teams are outfitted with their brightly colored jerseys, which virtually leap off the screen compared to the muted colors of the other nations' jerseys, especially under the bright lighting of those scenes. The game takes 30 minutes of screen time to complete.

1980 Soviet Union National Team
1980 Soviet Union photo Soviet Union 1980 12 F.jpg
1980 Soviet Union photo Soviet Union 1980 12 B.jpg

1980 United States National Team Jersey
1980 USA photo USA 1980 27 H F.jpg
1980 USA photo USA 1980 27 H B.jpg

There is still one more game left to play however, that being the United States versus Finland, which the US must win to cement the gold medal. Finland, wearing "white" is back to being depicted in the muted color palette. The game action is all of three seconds, as the producers chose not to dramatize the come from behind American victory to clinch the gold, with the majority of the scene being the post-game US celebration in their blue jerseys.

1980 Finland National Team
1980 Finland photo Finland 1980 H F.jpg
1980 Finland photo Finland 1980 H B.jpg

1980 United States National Team
1980 USA photo USA 1980 23 R F.jpg
1980 USA photo USA 1980 23 R B.jpg

Following the Finland game, the movie concludes with the medal ceremony, during which the Soviets are seen wearing track suits, while the Swedes are still wearing their yellow game jerseys.

1980 Soviet National Team Track Jacket
1980 Soviet Union track jacket photo Soviet Union 1980 track jacket F.jpg
1980 Soviet Union track jacket photo Soviet Union 1980 track jacket B.jpg

We also have one particularly special jersey from the filming of the movie "Miracle" in our collection, that worn in the pre-Olympic scenes by actor Eddie Cahill, who played starring goaltender Craig. After obtaining the jersey we had the opportunity to have the jersey signed by Craig in person with the inscription "Jim Craig #30 - 1980 Gold Medal".

1980 United States National Team
1980 USA photo USA 1980 30 FB.jpg
1980 USA photo USA 1980 30 B.jpg

 photo Jim Craig Miracle Jersey Autograph.jpg

The movie ranks as one of the best hockey movies ever made and gave new life to many great lines, particularly those of head coach Brooks, whose players actually kept a diary of his most memorable "Brooksisms". His speech to his team prior to the Miracle on Ice game is one of the most memorable scenes of the film and is often quoted today.


Friday, February 5, 2016

1993-94 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra Jersey

On this date in 1994, the Washington Capitals hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Capital Centre. Don Beaupre got the start in goal for Washington while Tampa Bay countered with Daren Puppa.

Puppa Lightning photo Puppa Lightning.jpg
Darren Puppa

Shawn Chambers opened the scoring for the Lightning with assists from Brian Bradley and Darcy Tucker.

Captials v Lightning photo Capitals v Lightning.jpg
Tampa Bay scored first against Washington

Just 27 seconds later, the Capitals responded with a goal from Peter Bondra who picked up a loose rebound and fired it home over Puppa at 14:44 from Dale Hunter and Sylvain Cote to even the score at 1-1.

Bondra Capitals photo Bondra Capitals 1.jpg
Peter Bondra versus the Tampa Bay Lightning

Bondra struck again on his next shot just 15 seconds later at 14:59 using his speed to gather up a loose puck and rush in on Puppa, who was caught off balance. That allowed Bondra, who had a full head of steam, to swing around and shoot the puck in behind the goaltender just 1:15 after his first goal to give the Capitals their first lead of the night. Dimitri Khristich was credited with the lone assist.

Bondra then wasted little time, completing his hat trick just 1:51 later at 16:50 on the power play just 7 seconds after Roman Hamrlik went into the box for Tampa Bay for hauling down, who else, Bondra. Bondra scored from a sharp angle following a nice pass across the crease by Hunter that left Puppa diving in a futile attempt to cover the far side of the net. Khristich got the second assist on the goal which gave the Capitals a 3-1 lead. Bondra's natural hat trick was completed in an impressive 2 minutes and 6 seconds to set a Washington team record.

Bondra was not finished however, as he scored again just 2:06 later with each team a man down. After a nice give-and-go by Hunter and Derian Hatcher, Hunter sent Bondra in alone on Puppa in full flight. Bondra then deked Puppa and slammed on the brakes, which put Puppa flat on his back, allowing Bondra to easily fire the puck over him for his fourth goal of the period in the span of 4:12 to set an NHL record for the Fastest Four Goals in league history, which he accomplished on four consecutive shots.

Hunter Capitals photo Hunter Capitals.jpg
Hunter had three assists in the first period

The four goals by Bondra had given the Capitals a 4-1 lead and chased Puppa from the net, as Pat Jablonski was in goal for the Lightning to start the second.

While Jablonski held off the Capitals for most of the period, Steve Konowalchuk extended the Washington lead to 5-1 at 17:49 with assists from Randy Burridge and Mike Ridley.

Amazingly, Bondra scored yet again at the 19:30 mark of the second period as Khristich passed the puck up to Shawn Anderson on the left side of the net, who deftly made a touch pass to Bondra, who was moving in on the unguarded left side of the net for an easy tap-in for his fifth goal of the game, a feat that has only been accomplished six times in the 22 years since. He also became just the fourth European player and first Slovakian to score five times in the then 78 years of the NHL.

Bondra Capitals photo Bondra Capitals 2.jpg
Bondra could not wait to get back on the ice on this date in 1994

Tampa Bay fought back with two goals within 43 seconds of the third period, but it was too little too late, as Washington held on to win 6-3 thanks to Bondra's record setting night.

Injuries would limit Bondra to 69 games that season, during which he would score 24 goals and 43 points. He would lead the NHL in goals the following season with 34 in the 47 games of the 1994-95 season, which was shortened due to labor issues. Bondra continued his hot streak the following season when he scored 52 goals for the first time, a feat he repeated in 1997-98 when he led the league in goals for the second time.

He would eventually play 16 NHL seasons and score 503 goals and 389 assists for 892 points. He would play in five NHL All-Star Games and a World Cup of Hockey, two Olympics and two World Championships, winning bronze and gold medals for Slovakia.

Today's featured jersey is a 1993-94 Washington Capitals Peter Bondra jersey as worn during his record setting five goal game on this date in 1994 when he set the NHL record for the Fastest Four Goals in NHL history.

The Capitals wore their star-spangled jerseys from their inception in 1974-75 through the 1994-95 season. They brought back their original white jersey for the 2011 Winter Classic, the annual NHL outdoor game held on New Year's Day. They would wear the throwback white version as their third jersey for four seasons until changing to the red version as their alternate for the 2015-16 season.

Washington Capitals 1993-94 jersey photo Washington Capitals 1993-94 jersey.jpg
Washington Capitals 1993-94 jersey photo Washington Capitals 93-94 B.jpg

Bonus jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 2002 Slovakia National Team Peter Bondra jersey as worn during Slovakia's stunning World Championship, less than ten years after becoming an independent nation following the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and being forced to start at the lower depths of the IIHF ladder system in Pool C.

Slovakia 2002 WC jersey photo Slovakia 2002 WC F.jpg
Slovakia 2002 WC jersey photo Slovakia 2002 WC B.jpg

Today's video section is highlights of Bondra's five goal performance, which includes his record setting four first period goals.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

1956 Soviet Union Genrikh Sidorenkov Jersey

When the Soviet Union won the 1954 World Championships in their first ever international tournament, they shocked the hockey world.

Canada had reclaimed the world title in 1955 and the two countries were set for a showdown at the 1956 Winter Olympics, which were held in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy and also counted for that year's World Championship.

1956_Winter_Olympics_opening_ceremonies photo 1956_Winter_Olympics_opening_ceremonies.jpg
The Opening Ceremonies of the 1956 Winter Olympics

Canada moved through Group A with a 3-0 record with wins over Germany (4-0), Austria (23-0) and hosts Italy (3-1), while the Soviet Union finished atop Group C with a pair of wins over Sweden (5-1) and Switzerland (10-3) as both teams moved into the Final Round along with the United States, Sweden, Czechoslovakia and Germany.

On January 30th, both teams got off to the desired starts with Canada winning 6-3 over Czechoslovakia and the Soviets beating Sweden 4-1.

The next day the Soviets put some distance between themselves and Canada with a 8-0 defeat of Germany while Canada lost to the United States 4-1, allowing the USA to keep pace with the Soviets at the top of the standings.

The United States put pressure on the Soviets by winning their third game in three days by downing Sweden 6-1.

February 2nd saw the Soviet Union regain a tie with the USA with a 7-4 win over rivals Czechoslovakia and Canada pummeled Germany 10-0.

1956-Winter-Olympic-Games-Italy-Cortina-dAmpezzo photo 1956-Winter-Olympic-Games-Italy-Cortina-dAmpezzo.jpg
A 1956 Winter Olympics program

The following day Canada remained two points back of the top spot with a 6-2 win over Sweden and the key matchup between the Americans and Soviets went the way of the Soviets 4-0, setting up their awaited showdown with Canada on the final day of the tournament on this date in 1956.

VSEVOLOD BOBROV ussr v usa 1956 photo VSEVOLOD BOBROV ussr v usa 1956.jpg
Vsevolod Bobrov scored one of the Soviet goals against the US

The standing then stood at the Soviet Union at 4-0 for 8 points, and both Canada and the United States at 3-1 tied with 6 points. The United States took care of their part with a 9-4 win over Czechoslovakia and Canada needed a win to keep their gold medal hopes alive.

The decisive game was played outdoors in front of a sell-out crowd of 12,700 spectators. The first period was played scoreless although Canada dominated the action. After controlling play again in the second, Canada was stunned when Yuri Krylov drew first blood for the Soviet Union with a goal at 6:20 of the second. The score remained through the completion of the middle period, but the Soviets put themselves in a strong position just 37 seconds into the third period to take a 2-0 lead.

Soviet goaltender Nikolai Puchkov held the Canadians at bay for the remainder of the game as the Soviet Union won the game, despite being outshot 23-9, to complete the Final Round, and the tournament, undefeated to capture their first Olympic gold medal.

1956 Soviet Union Olympic team photo 1956 Soviet Union Olympic team.png
The joyous gold medal winning team from the Soviet Union

With their victory on the last day the United States earned the silver medal while Canada was awarded the bronze, it's lowest placing since hockey became and Olympic sport in 1920.

1956_United_States_Olympic_Team photo 1956_United_States_Olympic_Team.jpg
The 1956 silver medalists from the United States

The Soviet victory was the beginning of an era of dominance that would stretch from 1956 to 1992, as the Soviet Union took home gold in eight out of ten Olympics, with the only exceptions being in 1960 and 1980 when the United States won on home soil.

Today's featured jersey is a 1956 Soviet National Team Genrikh Sidorenkov jersey as worn during the 1956 Winter Olympics when the Soviet Union won their first Olympic gold medal.

This jersey was the one chosen by Russia to wear as their throwback style for the 2008 World Championships, when each country wore a jersey from their past as part of the IIHF 100th Anniversary celebrations on May 2, 2008 in a 7-2 win over Italy. A jersey that was inexplicably never sold at retail despite being worn by NHL stars Alexander Ovechkin and Ilya Kovalchuk plus the rest of the 2008 gold medal winning Russian squad that certainly would have guaranteed enough sales to justify putting this strikingly beautiful jersey into production.

Sidorenkov was a nine time member of the Soviet National Team who scored 15 goals while playing defense in 107 games. He was a Soviet All-Star in 1959, 1960 and 1961. In addition to his time with the National Team, he also played in 310 games, scoring 42 goals, in the Soviet League with the Soviet Wings (1948-1951), CSKA Moscow (1951-1962, 1964-1966) and SKA Leningrad (1962-1964).

He was inducted into the Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame in 1956 when he received the Merited Sports Master Award. In addition to his gold medal in 1956, he also won a bronze medal at the 1960 Olympics. At the World Championships, Sidorenkov won a gold medal in 1954, silver in 1957, 1958 and 1959 and a bronze in 1961.


Today's video selection features the gold medal game from the 1956 Olympics, as the Soviet Union takes on Canada in black and white, followed by the previous contest versus the United States followed again by the game against Canada in glorious living color! We love the number of players wearing stocking caps on the ice and also take notice of the goaltender Puchkov wearing blue hockey pants in contrast to the rest of the team all wearing red ones.


 

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