Collector's Corner: The Ones That Got Away
This edition of the Collector's Corner was written by top contributor, Dave McCormick!
In previous CoolHockey blogs I, and others have written proudly about our jersey collections, how we chose and displayed them. But for almost as many jerseys as some of us have there are still some that we wish we had. Whether it was for financial reasons, procrastination or simply not realizing at the time how much a certain jersey would ultimately be missed in the collection I’m sure we all share certain regrets for the ones that got away.
As an avid collector who goes back to admiring the colours and logo designs on team uniforms from my old O-Pee-Chee hockey cards the simple answer to “which jerseys do I wish I had” is: “every one I don’t have.” Since that doesn’t make for a very interesting blog I’ll share my Top 5 (and ties) misses and maybe, just maybe, someone out here in the ol’ interweb might be able to help me out and vice versa with those that are on our lists!
1. Montreal Canadiens Centennial Season 1910-1911 “Christmas Tree”/ “Canadian Tire” Redux
The Montreal Canadiens Centennial Season celebrations (which lasted well into 2 seasons) were absolutely epic as former owner, George Gillette did an amazing job squeezing every last penny from the team before selling it back to the Molson family. Regardless of the off-ice business and the motivations those celebrations brought jersey collectors a lot to talk about and spend our money on. The Habs featured five replicas of jerseys worn throughout their previous 100 years in addition to their regular home and road uniforms. I have four of these special event jerseys, including the much debated and ill-fated (ask Robert Lang’s achilles tendon) “barber pole” jersey. While I visited Montreal a few times during those seasons and had the opportunity to buy one, for whatever reason, I didn’t add the “Christmas Tree” / “Canadian Tire” version. This one definitely tops my list by far as one that got away since I need it to complete this sub-collection on my jersey rack.
2. Phoenix Coyotes “Jumping Desert Dog” Alternate
Again, this is another jersey I had the opportunity to purchase when seeing the Coyotes play live, wearing this jersey on-ice, in Glendale in 2014. This was also the last year they had this jersey in their repertoire. Though I did buy a Zbynek Michalek alternate shirsey it isn’t the same as having the actual jersey.
3. Los Angeles Kings “Burger King” 1996 Alternate
Often considered the “Holy Grail” for jersey collectors this is the epitome of the NHL’s 1990s gawdy launch of alternate uniforms (okay, maybe the Ducks’ “Wild Wing” jersey takes this title). Despite Gretzky’s taking the Kings to the 1993 Cup Finals in his Kings’ era classic black & silver threads I don’t think many collectors can shake the image of him wearing the grey-gradient sashed Burger King jersey. CCM is starting to reproduce these 1990s throwbacks so I’m sure I’ll add this to the collection at some point. In fact, CCM has done a great job reproducing many of the vintage jerseys of the 70s, 80s and 90s so I was able to buy “one that got away” in the form of my 1996 Canucks “salmon jersey” (from CoolHockey.com, of course!) and will look to add others from those eras but nothing beats the pride of having the original. So, “stick taps” to anyone who has the true 1996 off the rack!
4. 2016 World Cup of Hockey Team Europe & Team North America
Although not that long ago at all I simply waited too long to buy either of these jerseys. I put myself in the jersey collection penalty box for “delay of game” due to waiting too long for a sale to come along on these jerseys. And, when there was a sale the reputable suppliers (i.e.: CoolHockey.com) were out of my size. The procrastination on these is even worse knowing we’re not likely to see these teams in future hockey events again. It was also the first time we saw Adidas jerseys on NHL players.
5. 2017 Toronto Maple Leafs St. Pats St. Patrick’s Day Special Event Jersey
As I write this it’s a few days away from St. Patrick’s Day 2018 so I’m holding out hope that the Maple Leafs will make these jerseys available for sale again. Though, already having the Toronto Arenas and Stadium Series special event jerseys may be enough for them to sell this season. Unfortunately, these jerseys were apparently in very limited supply and from what I could tell, only available through the Maple Leafs’ own team store last year. Despite learning my lesson from the WCH jerseys I tried to buy one of these beauts as soon as I found out about them last season. However, I won’t buy a size small just to add to the collection because, as I wrote about in my first blog, I think wearing jerseys – especially on ice during drop-in hockey – is the best way to display them.
So, what are your jerseys that got away? I’d love to hear about your quests for your long-lost jerseys or to just learn about your favorites and why you got into collecting. You can reach me on twitter: @rightside74
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