Saturday, June 4, 2011

1996 Team USA Derian Hatcher Jersey

Born on this date in 1972, Derian Hatcher put up good offensive numbers as a defenseman playing for the North Bay Centennials of the junior OHL, scoring first 52 points and then 63 in 1989-90 and 1990-91. His 6' 5", 235 pound size also did not go unnoticed as he was drafted 8th overall by the Minnesota North Stars in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.

Hatcher North Stars

He adapted well to the NHL game, scoring a goal in his debut on October 12, 1991 for the North Stars. After his second NHL season concluded, Hatcher began his international career, playing for the United States at the 1993 World Championships.

Hatcher then moved with the team to Dallas for the 1993-94 season and immediately set a career high in points with 31, thanks to another career high, this one for goals with 12. He was joined on the Stars roster in the strike shortened season of 1994-95 by his older brother Kevin Hatcher. Derian matched his 31 point best again in 1995-96, the season he was named team captain, a position he would hold for the remainder of his time in Dallas.

Hatcher again suited up for the United States for the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, a roster which also included his brother Kevin. The United States won the North American Pool by going undefeated and then eliminated Russia before defeating Canada 2 games to 1 in one of the greatest moments in American hockey history.

After two more seasons with Dallas, including playing in the 1997 NHL All-Star Game and another 31 point season in 1997-98, Hatcher made his Olympic debut for Team USA in Nagano, Japan.

Hatcher All-Stars
Derian (right) with his brother Kevin at the 1997 NHL All-Star Game

After making the conference finals the previous season, the Stars finished with the NHL's best record in 1998-99 and then defeated Edmonton, St. Louis and Colorado to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals where they downed the Buffalo Sabres in six games to make Hatcher the first American to captain a Stanley Cup winning team in over 100 years of competition. Hatcher set a career playoff high with seven points in 18 games.

Hatcher Stars
Derian hoists the Stanley Cup while wearing the Stars alternate jersey

Dallas returned to the finals the following season, but came up short in their quest for a repeat. Hatcher would play three more seasons in Dallas, from 2000-01 to 2002-03, competing in 242 out of a possible 246 games while maintaining his steady scoring pace, as he scored between 22 and 30 points in eight consecutive seasons.

When the Stars missed the playoffs in 2002, it gave Hatcher another opportunity to play in the World Championships for the United States.

Prior to the 2003-04 season, Hatcher signed with the Detroit Red Wings as a free agent, but played only 15 games after a severe knee injury. The following fall, he was named to the United States 2004 World Cup of Hockey squad, but withdrew from the team prior to the tournament.

Following the World Cup, the NHL season was eventually cancelled due to the lockout and Hatcher dabbled in some minor league hockey for 24 games with Red Wings teammate Chris Chelios when they suited up for the short-lived Motor City Mechanics of the United Hockey League.

Hatcher Mechanics
NHL veteran Hatcher towers over the minor league competition while playing for the Motor City Mechanics during the NHL lockout

Hatcher was bought out of his contract by the Red Wings due to the newly instituted salary cap and signed on with the Philadelphia Flyers for the 2005-06 season. He was named interim captain in January of 2006 due to the absence of the injured Keith Primeau.

Hatcher Flyers

After two full seasons with Philadelphia, he was limited to 44 games of the 2007-08 season but returned in time to play 15 playoff games for the Flyers in what turned out to be the conclusion of his career. He intended to play the 2008-09 season, but was forced to sit out while recovering from another knee injury. Finally in June of 2009, Hatcher had knee replacement surgery and announced his retirement two weeks later.

His career totals were 1,045 games played, 80 goals and 331 points as well as 1,581 penalty minutes, a testament to his rugged presence and strong physical play on the blueline which made him at times one of those players who hated, unless he was on your team.

Hatcher Flyers
Hatcher was known for his physical presence and toughness

He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010.

Today's featured jersey is a 1996 Team USA Derian Hatcher jersey as worn in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, won by the United States over rivals Canada.

This waving flag style jersey features sublimated stripes, as well as stars which fade in and out of view in the center of the stripes they are contained in. It also features the bold, flowing USA crest, which fits in nicely with the waving flag motif of the jersey. The sleeve numbers are placed on a single red star, a simple and effective treatment that has been sorely underused on future jerseys for the United States.

The blue road versions of this jersey are particularly sought after by collectors, as they were never made in retail versions for the public in favor of the white home version.

1996 United States jersey

Bonus Jersey: Today's bonus jersey is a 1998-99 Dallas Stars Derian Hatcher jersey from the season Hatcher became the first American to captain a team to the Stanley Cup. Dallas did not wear this jersey during the playoffs however, opting for their striking new alternate jerseys which were just introduced that season.

The alternate jerseys were promoted to the team's new road jerseys the following season, retiring today's bonus jersey, which was a dull jersey, whose green color was far too dark for the black background, resulting in the outlines around the name and numbers being impossible to see and the larger waist and sleeve stripes having far too little contrast.

During the Stars first season in Dallas, this jersey did have three color numbers, green trimmed in black and outlined in white, which looked much better when compared to the boring white numbers with disappearing trim of the jerseys worn after 1994-95.

1998-99 Dallas Stars jersey
1998-99 Dallas Stars jersey

Today's video section features some hard hitting, literally bone-breaking action from Derian Hatcher. Just ask Jeremy Roenick.

Here's a classic back alley brawl between Hatcher and seriously irate Brendan Shanahan.

Here Hatcher knocks Joffrey Lupul into next week. Problem was they were teammates! That's what you get for spelling "Jeffrey" that way.

Finally, here is his induction video from the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.

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