In the last week we've seen NHL prototype jerseys as well as a new format for the All-Star Game — one that's likely to bring with it a couple of new jersey designs. So why not combine the topics to finish the week?
I receive a lot of emails. Some are story tips. And because I write this blog in my spare time, sometimes a thing or two gets overlooked. This is an example of that.
More than a year ago a reader sent me a link to an eBay listing apparently offering an Eastern Conference NHL All-Star jersey. At the time, I grabbed the photo from the listing but kept forgetting to actually write about it here. Can't think of a better time than now.
But here's the thing. It's not like any jersey that's ever been worn in an All-Star Game — leading the tipster and I to consider it was possibly a prototype. The listing dated the jersey to 2007 or 2008. But what if it's from even earlier? A number of the prototypes we've seen recently were made in 2005.
What if this jersey was intended for the 2006 NHL All-Star Game? Phoenix was announced as the host on April 3, 2004. Two months later the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup, resulting the cancellation of the following NHL season (my lockout joke).
In the aftermath of the lockout, the NHL decided it would allow players to participate in the 2006 Olympics in Italy so the previously announced All-Star Game for that year was canceled. (They have to shut the league down for three weeks for the Olympics so it's crazy to shut down for another long weekend to accommodate an exhibition game.)
Is it possible this jersey was meant to be Reebok's first game-worn NHL sweater?
It's a very basic black jersey — simple striping on the sleeves and a typical shoulder yoke. It's the antithesis of every NHL All-Star jersey used in the Reebok Era (since 2007). Everything about it points to it being a genuine Reebok product. But something is off.
Too many shoulder logos, right? The secondary Eastern Conference logo is a nice touch, but it leaves no room for the usual shoulder patches — the All-Star logo on one and the player's team logo on the other.
So there's another possibility. What if this was just a fashion jersey? After all it's not flashy enough to really be used in an NHL All-Star Game. Fashion jerseys are products Reebok sells because they think fans will think they're cool. They only make Premier replica versions because they aren't game jerseys.
These are examples of fashion jerseys from Reebok's Cross Check Storm and Pewter lines. They're flat out ugly, but I suppose Reebok has its sights set on teenagers or other people without taste as potential buyers.
Anyway, I digress. It's possible the jersey we're talking about was part of a fashion line — though I'm not sure who exactly would be interested in buying one. But maybe that's the point. Perhaps they manufactured a few to test the idea before realizing it was worthless.
Those are my theories. Have any of your own?