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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ebay Jersey of the Week - 1994 USA Olympic Reebok Jersey

We may or may not make this a regular feature on Third String Goalie, but from time to time we find a jersey on ebay that really catches our attention because we know just how long it took us to get one for our collection and can't believe that someone hasn't jumped on the "Buy it Now" option or bid it up to a higher prices yet.

Today's particular jersey (which is NOT one of our own listings) is a 1994 Reebok USA National Team jersey. This style was worn during the 1994 Olympics by such players as Brian Rolston, former University of Maine and NHL goaltenders Mike Dunham and Garth Snow, current Philadelphia Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette, Todd Marchant and others.

This particular one looks to be in really good shape, especially for a jersey approaching 20 years old, and is blank on the back so you still have the option of adding a name and number on the back. It's also a listed as a size XL, which is a big plus, as auctions for older ones are seem to always be for a size small or medium, and also because older ones run smaller than current ones. This is listed as 25" across while a current XL would be 26".

This particular style jersey does have a screened on crest, which is described as having some wear and cracking, but we bought an embroidered crest for ours and had it sewn over the screened one to raise the quality of our personal example.

It's priced at $49.99, which is perhaps a bit high, but this style in this size (XL) and condition does not come up very often. Perhaps the seller would be open to an offer, since it has been on ebay for five weeks now.

1994 USA ebay, 1994 USA ebay

In summary, if we didn't have one of these already, we'd be thrilled to acquire it. We like the fact it's blank and an XL and know it's not and easily found style in this size, let alone this condition. We'd add an embroidered crest to it, making it a really sharp looking jersey. We've never bought from this seller, but certainly like their 100% feedback rating, but cannot warranty their performance or the actual jersey.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Project Golden Gopher

Regular readers of Third String Goalie know that we attended the University of Minnesota game against Notre Dame on Tuesday night in a matchup of the #1 and #2 ranked teams in United States college hockey.

In addition to attending the game at Mariucci Arena, we also found ourselves in Jersey Heaven, as the Golden Gopher fans probably wear the greatest variety of jerseys as any fanbase in the world of hockey, and we took it upon ourselves to document as many different styles as we could, worn by young, old, boys, girls, men, women, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, students, band members, arena employees, mascots and even Santa Claus!

It was a fun project, as we got to meet dozens of people, all united in their love of hockey and support for their team.

A big thanks to all of you who took the time to post and Chat!

Not only do the fans at Mariucci Arena wear a wide variety of jerseys, but so do many who work at the arena, who do such a great job of providing a great game day experience.

Program vendor, Program vendor
Program vendor, Program vendor
Father and daughter program vendors

Band, Band
Golden Gopher Band

Goldy, Goldy
Mascot Goldy Gopher

Even the winner of the between periods puck shooting contest, who won everyone in attendance a free Wendy's cheeseburger (thanks man!), was rewarded with…

a jersey of course.

Jersey prize, Jersey prize

And what a cool jersey it was too! It was signed on the main crest by all three of the Broten brothers, Aaron, Neal and Paul, all of whom were former Gophers and NHLers, with Neal being the first Hobey Baker Award winner and the first American to score 100 points in the NHL in addition to being a member of the "Miracle on Ice" United States Olympic team! Not only that, it was personally presented to him by Paul himself. How special is that?

Jersey prize, Jersey prize
The winning contestant with his "Major Award", a jersey signed by all three Broten brothers

In addition to the jerseys included in our slide show, a few of the fan jerseys stood out from the rest, including this father/daughter duo and their heavily autographed jerseys, which cleverly commemorated the Golden Gophers back to back national championships in 2002 and 2003.

Champs, Champs
Champs, Champs

Another jersey which stood out was one that paid homage to John Mayasich, the only player out of the dozens of many memorable Gophers to have had his number retired.

Mayasich, Mayasich
Mayasich, Mayasich

Occasionally, the causal viewer will notice a few non-Gopher jerseys in attendance, but they inevitably have a tie to Minnesota or the Gopher program, such as NHL jerseys customized with former Gopher players on them, such as a Blake Wheeler Winnipeg Jets jersey or a Jordan Leopold Buffalo Sabres jersey. One such jersey at Tuesday's game was from Minnesota's opponent that evening, Notre Dame, only it was customized with Minnesota native and Minnesota Wild draft pick Mario Lucia's name and number, who just happens to be the Gopher's coach Don Lucia's son! This was worn by one of Mario's youth coaches, who is still clearly a fan of his former player.

Notre Dame Lucia, Notre Dame Lucia
Notre Dame Lucia, Notre Dame Lucia

Even Santa wears a jersey to Gopher games!

Santa, Santa

One particular area of the arena where you can find the most jerseys, and in the most different styles, is the student section, where wearing a jersey is seemingly a requirement for admission, as seen in our slideshow above.

The story of the variety of jerseys worn in the student section is an interesting one, and goes to show the passion for and knowledge of the team and it's 90 year history among it's fans.

The story begins when the Gopher hockey team moved from their previous home, the old Mariucci Arena across the street to the current Mariucci Arena, which opened in 1993. During that first season in the new Mariucci, the Gophers wore throwback jerseys similar in style to those worn back in 1950-1953. Years later, those jerseys were still desired by fans, but long unavailable. That was when a fan of the Gophers, Ryan Thompson, frustrated at not being able to find one of the 1993-94 throwback jerseys, did his research and found out he could have the complicated style, with it's many stripes, reproduced - but it would require a sizable minimum order for the manufacturer to create them.

His solution was to announce his intent to have these jerseys remade to his fellow fans on the old Pride On Ice message board if the were enough orders to justify the production run. 

Who's in? Everyone!

Armed with enough orders, the production of the jerseys commenced, after which Ryan shepherded the jerseys through the separate customization process (as the buyers were given their choice of name and number) and then eventual distribution of finished jerseys.

And those finished jersey had it all. They were well made, striking, impossible to find anywhere else and really turned heads when they started showing up at Mariucci years after they were first worn.

Humble reporter, Humble reporter
Your humble reporter in his 1993-94 Throwback

The project was such a success that, thanks to the Gopher team photos which date back to 1922 that populate the walls of the concourse at Mariucci, the 1960-69 home white jersey was chosen as the next group order the next year, followed by the road maroon version of the 1960-69 jersey and then the 1959-60 gold alternate, all of which were worn by many memorable names in Gopher hockey history, Lou Nanne, Doug Woog and Herb Brooks in particular.

Others were then anxious for different styles to be produced, and learned the ropes from "Thomps", who had retired from the headaches of organizing the group orders. These new projects led to the 1936, 1953, 1958 (first done in the original wool!), 1969 home and 1972 home and road styles being made.

One of the organizers of the "second wave" of group orders was Kyle Oen, who eventually combined his love of Golden Gopher hockey and his ability to get jerseys produced into his Vintage Minnesota Hockey website, which includes his online store that features not only  many of the vintage Gopher rarities from the early days of the "group orders", but has added other styles never before available, such as the striking 1969-72 road jersey and more recent jerseys, beginning with the 1986-1993 jerseys through the new 2011-12 white alternates.

While there may be a few other fan bases that have followed in the footsteps of the Gopher faithful in having their classic styles reproduced, such as those from Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota, it all can be traced back to Ryan and his desire for the 1993-94 Gopher "bumble bee" jerseys and his ability to make it happen.

For more on the history of Gopher hockey jerseys, please visit the jersey section of Gopher Hockey History.com or the team photos section of Vintage Minnesota Hockey.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

#1 Minnesota vs. #2 Notre Dame Game Report

We at Third String Goalie attended last night's stellar matchup of the #1 ranked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers of the WCHA hosting the #2 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish of the CCHA at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

With the history of Gopher Hockey dating back to 1922, there's no shortage of banners in Mariucci.

Mariucci Banners, Mariucci Banners

Aside from the #1 vs. #2 matchup, the other interesting scenario was Minnesota head coach Don Lucia's Gophers coaching against his son Mario Lucia, who plays for Notre Dame, which also happens to be Don's alma mater.

Mariucci Anthem, Mariucci Anthem

Play got underway and Minnesota jumped out on top quickly, as Nate Condon scored for the third straight game with a shot from the top of the circle at 1:21 to get the crowd into the game right off the bat.

Just after a Notre Dame penalty expired, there was a scramble in front of the Irish net, which saw bodies falling and sticks flying before Sam Warning picked up a loose puck and fired it past Steven Summerhays for a 2-0 lead just 7:29 into the game.

Goal #2, Goal #2

One of the highlights of the evening was the celebration of the recent gold medal won by the United States at the recent World Junior Championships in Russia, as Gopher Mike Reilly and Notre Dame's Mario Lucia were both members of the United States team. In addition, Gopher assistant coach Grant Potulny, who scored the winning goal in overtime of the 2002 NCAA National Championship final for Minnesota, was on head coach Phil Housley's staff. Of note, this game was originally scheduled for Saturday, January 5th, but was rescheduled until Tuesday the 8th in order to give those participating in the World Juniors time to return for this matchup, particularly so Mario could play against his father Don's Gophers.

The celebration included the unfurling of a gigantic United States flag, which was then passed over the sections on one side of the arena in a very impressive display during a first period TV timeout.

US Flag, US Flag

Once play resumed, Jeff Costello drove to the net and got one through the Gopher's Adam Wilcox to cut the Minnesota lead to 2-1 at 14:31.

Wilcox ND goal, Wilcox ND goal

A penalty against Minnesota following the goal kept the majority of play in the Minnesota end for the remainder of the period.

Long view, Long view

Early in the second period, Minnesota's Christian Isackson found himself alone in front of the Notre Dame goal thanks to some aggressive forececking, and undressed Summerhays with a Pavel Datsyuk-like forehand-to-backhand move at close quarters to restore Minnesota's two goal margin at 3-1 at 5:23.

Isackson goal, Isackson goal

The remainder of the period passed with no scoring and Minnesota holding an edge in shots 10-7 after both teams were even at 8 for the first period. While no additional pucks went in the goal, that's not to say some players didn't end up in the net as the team's fought hard to get the next goal!

In the Net, In the Net

Due to the high rankings of both clubs and the amount of talent on the ice, there were a number of NHL scouts in attendance, all wearing the unofficial scout look of all black all the time.

Scouts, Scouts

As Minnesota looked to add to it's lead and put the game away, Notre Dame fought equally as hard to cut the lead back down to one. The play favored neither team and the shots on goal were even at 8 each for the period, with the highlight of the period being Wilcox's toe save of Notre Dame's Bryan Rust's breakaway four minutes into the period.

Third period action, Third period action

Notre Dame held fast, killing off two penalties during the period, while the Gophers stayed out of the box for the final 20 minutes. With time winding down, the Minnesota student section taunted the Fighting Irish, whose football team had lost in their national championship game the night before, with chants of "ALABAMA".

With 1:24 remaining, Notre Dame pulled Summerhays in a final attempt to get a goal, only to have Zach Budish put the game away for the Gophers with an empty net goal at 19:45 to make the final score 4-1, a great result for Minnesota coming off their dominating 8-1victory over the previous #1 ranked team, Boston College, as Minnesota has now defeated the #1 and #2 ranked teams in the nation over the course of the last ten days.

Minnesota celebrates, Minnesota celebrates

Following the game, the Gophers celebrated their victory over the #2 ranked Fighting Irish and then recognized their fans with their traditional stick salute, capping off a great night at the rink between college hockey's finest.

Salute, Salute

Here are the highlights of the game, including Isackson's goal, easily the play of the game.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hockey Game of the Week

Just a quick post to make you all aware that if you are starved for some hockey since the NHL has yet to get underway and are suffering from withdrawals after being deprived of hockey all season and then gorging yourselves on the 2013 World Junior Championships, the Third String Goalie Game of the Week, is the unusual Tuesday night matchup of the #1 ranked University of Minnesota Golden Gophers of the WCHA hosting the #2 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish of the CCHA.

Not only is this an usual mid-week matchup, but a rare chance to see the #1 and #2 teams square off during the regular season, in what may be a Frozen Four preview.

Minnesota is coming off a shocking, dominating win over the previous #1 ranked team, the Boston College Eagles of Hockey East, whom they demolished 8-1 on December 30th during the recent Mariucci Classic.

Norte Dame comes into Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis with a 14-4-0 record, but only 4-3 in non-conference games. The Fighting Irish are currently on a six game winning streak, but have not played since December 15th.

The host Golden Gophers are currently 13-3-3 with a perfect 7-0 non-conference record. Minnesota is unbeaten in their last five games at 4-0-1.

Of interest tonight, Minnesota head coach Don Lucia will be in the usual position of coaching against his son Mario Lucia, as well as his alma mater Notre Dame, having graduated from there in 1981.

The game is at 7:00 Central time on Fox Sports North Plus, which you can hopefully locate on your cable or satellite system.

1983-84 Washington Capitals Bengt-Åke Gustafsson Jersey

Bengt-Åke Gustafsson began his hockey career in the second division of Swedish hockey with IF Karlskoga/Bofors, playing in 8 games of the 1973-74 season. After three more seasons with Karlskoga, including scoring 32 goals and 50 points in 1976-77, the center moved to Färjestads BK of the top level of Swedish hockey, the Elitserien.

During his first season with Färjestads, Gustafsson scored 25 points in 32 games, which was enough to garner the attention of the Washington Capitals, who drafted him in the 1978 NHL Entry Draft. He would play the 1978-79 season with Färjestads, including three playoff games before he signed, after that year's World Championships, with the WHA's Edmonton Oilers in time to play two games of the Avco Cup Finals, scoring a goal and two assists in what would prove to be the last games in the history of the league.

With four WHA clubs, including Edmonton, joining the NHL for the 1979-80 season, a somewhat complicated Expansion Draft took place. The Oilers made goaltenders Dave Dryden and Eddie Mio plus Wayne Gretzky and Gustafsson as their choices of which players to protect, as the NHL clubs were now free to reclaim players whose rights they still held. The Capitals challenged the Oilers right to protect Gustafsson, and it would take three months for then NHL President John Zigler to side with the Capitals on the basis that Edmonton had originally broken WHA rules to sign Gustafsson in the first place.

With that ruling, Gustafsson became a Washington Capital and made his NHL debut on October 11, 1979 against the Buffalo Sabres, registering his first point with an assist. He would go on to have a 22 goal season and score 60 points, setting a Capitals rookie record, which was third on the club behind team leader Mike Gartner, who had also been reclaimed by the Capitals after playing the previous season in the WHA.

Showing amazing consistency, Gustafsson would reel off five seasons with the Capitals with 60, 55, 60, 64 and 75 points while playing a minimum of 67 games, which included a career high 32 goals in 1983-84, aided in part by his five goal performance on this date in 1984.

Gustafsson Capitals, Gustafsson Capitals

The game was played in Philadelphia against the Flyers at The Spectrum and saw the Flyers get the first goal of the game at 5:20. Gustafsson tied the game at 6:19 on the power play with assists from Finn Timo Blomqvist and Gartner. Gartner again set up Gustafsson at 11:15 of the first period with the first assist going to Dave Christian, who scored the third Capitals goal of the period at 13:56 while with a man advantage.

Gustafsson completed the second hat trick of his career with his 20th goal of the season at 11:41 of the second period when he beat Flyers goaltender Pelle Lindbergh, again on the power play from Alan Haworth and defenseman Larry Murphy. It was Gustafsson's third shot of the game - all of which had found the back of the net.

Doug Jarvis extended the Capitals lead with a shorthanded goal at 3:42 of the third, followed by Gustafsson's fourth of the game on his fourth shot a minute and a half later from Gartner and captain Rod Langway. Again on the power play, Gustafsson completed the 7-1 rout as well as his magical evening with his fifth goal of the game on just his fifth shot at 10:11. Bobby Carpenter and Langway got the assists on Gustafsson's third power play goal of the game to go with his two at even strength to become the first Capitals player to ever score five goals in a single game.

Gustafsson Capitals, Gustafsson Capitals

Limited to 51 games in 1984-85 due to a pulled hamstring, he rebounded in 1985-86 to equal his career high of 75 points scored in 1983-84. A broken leg at the end of the 1985-86 season saw him return to the lower levels of Swedish hockey to regain his form during the 1986-87 season. Back with the Capitals for 1987-88 after an impressive showing at the World Championships, he played in 78 games, scoring 54 points. After one final season in North America, Gustafsson scored 69 points.

He returned to Sweden to continue his career, rejoining Färjestads for four seasons and then extending his career with VEU Feldkirch in the Austrian Hockey League, where he averaged 1.34 points per game over five seasons until retiring as a player in 1998 at the age of 39.

Gustafsson VEU Feldkrich, Gustafsson VEU Feldkrich
Gustafsson was the star of VEU Feldkirch, who sensationally won the 1998 Euopean Hockey League

During his lengthy career, Gustafsson totaled 196 goals and 555 points while in the NHL, as well as another 183 goals and 500 points in other leagues for a career total of 1,055 points.

Internationally, Gustafsson competed in the World Junior Championships in 1978, coming away with a silver medal.

Gustafsson Sweden, Gustafsson Sweden
Gustafsson in 1978

He then played for Sweden at the World Championships in 1979 (earning a bronze medal), 1981 (silver), 1983, 1987 (gold, Sweden's first in 25 years) and 1991 (gold).

Gustafsson Sweden, Gustafsson Sweden
Gustafsson at the 1987 World Championships

He also played in the 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup tournaments as well as the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France. His international playing career was recognized with his induction into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2003.

Gustafsson Canada Cup, Gustafsson Canada Cup
Gustafsson against the Soviet Union in the Canada Cup

He then went onto a lengthy coaching career, including stops with club teams in Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and Russia. Additionally, Gustafsson was also the head coach of the Sweden National Team, which included his remarkable success in 2006 when Sweden first won gold at the Olympics in Turin, Italy followed by winning gold at the World Championships three months later, which made him the first coach to win both the Olympics and World Championships in the same year.

Today's featured jersey is a 1983-84 Washington Capitals Bengt-Åke Gustafsson jersey as worn during Gustafsson's spectacular five goal performance on this date in 1984. The Capitals adopted this style jersey for their first season of 1974-75. For the 1983-84 season, the Capitals had just four stars on the sleeves for the first time, rather than the customary five, which they went back to after two seasons.

This style jersey would remain in use through the 1995 season.

Washington Capitals 83-84  jersey, Washington Capitals 83-84  jersey
Washington Capitals 83-84  jersey, Washington Capitals 83-84  jersey

Today's video section begins with highlights of Gustafsson coaching Sweden to the 2006 Olympic gold medal. Utterly depressing and bizarre choice of music for such a happy occasion, but the images still tell the story.

Next up, a news report following the 2006 World Championships gold medal for Gustafsson and Sweden.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

1991-92 St. Louis Blues Rich Sutter jersey

Today, we conclude our profiles of the six Sutter brothers to have played in the NHL.

Rich Sutter also kept with the Sutter family tradition of playing junior hockey for both Red Deer and Lethbridge, as did all of his brothers before him.

Drafted 10th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins, Rich became the sixth and final Sutter brother to play in the NHL when he made his NHL on January 1, 1983. Rich would never become a regular with Pittsburgh, playing just 4 games in 1982-83 and 5 more in 1983-84. An early season trade in 1983 would unite Rich with his brother Ron in Philadelphia, necessitating full names on the backs of their jerseys due to their common first initial.

The Sutter Brothers, The Sutter Brothers
The Sutter brothers at home on the family farm posing in their NHL jerseys - note Rich in his Penguins jersey from early in his career, with whom he would only play nine games

Rich would then be traded to the Vancouver Canucks, where he would play for four seasons prior to being traded to the St. Louis Blues in March of 1990. He would be reunited with twin brother Ron upon his arrival in St. Louis, which would last until he was claimed by Chicago in the 1993 Waiver Draft where brother Brent was waiting for him!

Rich and Ron Sutter, Rich and Ron Sutter
Rich and Ron Sutter reunited in St. Louis

Early the following season, Chicago would trade Rich to the Tampa Bay Lightning in February, but his stay would be short, as after just four games he would be sold to the Toronto Maple Leafs three weeks later, where he would finish out his career with a final 18 regular season games and four playoff games.

His final career totals were 874 games, 149 goal and 315 points.

Rich Sutter, Rich Sutter
Rich Sutter

When Ron played his final game for the Calgary Flames on March 31, 2001, it ended a streak of 24 years, 3 months and 27 days of the Sutter family having at least one player active in the NHL, dating back to Brian's debut in December of 1976, The streak included five seasons, from 1982-82 to 1986-87, with all six brothers active in the league at the same time.

The Sutter display @ HHOF, The Sutter display @ HHOF
The Sutter family display at the Hockey Hall of Fame

Today's featured jersey is a 1991-92 St. Louis Blues Rich Sutter jersey. Coming full circle back to St. Louis where we began with Brian Sutter's featured jersey. Once again twins Ron and Rich were teamed together, which made the rare use of full names on the back necessary once again.

In addition to Rich and Ron playing together at teammates twice, Duane and Brent were Islanders together and Brent and Rich spent a season playing for Chicago.

Darryl, Duane, Brent and Rich all saw tours of duty for the Blackhawks at various times, but with only Brent and Rich there at the same time.

This jersey is evolved from the Brian Sutter jersey shown earlier this week, as the "Blues" word mark is removed from the front for the 1987-88 season and sharp-eyed viewers will notice the sharp edges of the logo have now been rounded off.

St Louis Blues 91-92 jersey, St Louis Blues 91-92 jersey
photo courtesy of Classic Auctions

Today is the final installment of the four part documentary of the hockey playing Sutter brothers.


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