Hockey fans are a little crazy sometimes. A special sub-species are the collectors of game-worn hockey jerseys or game used equipment. One of them – and a huge fan of the Washington Capitals – is Björn Esperling from Hamburg, Germany.
The 27-year old, who works in marketing, has been collecting unique game worn jerseys since 2004, and owns dozens of them. When he started collecting, he picked up some ‘gamers’ of his local club, the Hamburg Freezers and Adendorfer EC. Now – about eleven years later – he was able to get some special jerseys – particularly one piece out of the Caps System.
The jersey, Philipp Grubauer was worn against the Islanders at Verizon Center in April.
“It was his [Grubauer] first playoff game for the Caps and his first NHL career playoff game and win in general – and that was special for me”. “Philipp is the first german-born goalie who was a starter in the NHL playoffs. And to have this historic jersey from that win in my collection is just amazing“, Björn said in an interview with Germany’s biggest hockey newsmag, Eishockey News.
Collecting game-worn jerseys is special. And not the cheapest hobby. NHL teams often are selling their equipment with partners like The MeiGray Group or Steiner Sports.
“The Caps jerseys can be bought at MeiGray. Depending on the player, season or set, these jerseys are available for between 300 and 10,000 $’ Björn told the magazine. For example, an Ovechkin jersey is about 8,000 $. And if collectors living in Germany ordered in the US, they would have to add about 30 percent for taxes and duty.”
“Sometimes it sounds crazy for others if I tell that I bought a jersey for about 1,500 $. But for me these unique jerseys are like a piece of art. They were worn on ice in important and legendary games, were hit by the puck or by checks and have marks which can be seen on photos or videos of the game. That’s pretty cool”.
Björn owns some special jerseys. For example, David Wolf – who played in Hamburg, Germany before going to the Calgary and Adirondack Flames last season. Now David is back in Hamburg and some weeks ago Bjoern showed him the jersey of his first NHL game in January. He directly put it on and was happy to see it again.
All together Björn owns jerseys of the Caps, Flames, Rangers, Kings, Senators, Penguins, Manitoba Moose and many german and european teams. ‘Sometimes it feels like being in a hockey museum at home`.
Björn finished the interview with one wish:
If the Caps would win the Stanley Cap one day – one of the jerseys worn in these special games should hopefully make it’s way to Hamburg, Germany`. That would be a quite nice piece of hockey history for the collection at home.
For his next visit to Washington D.C. this upcoming season, Björn hopes to see Philipp Grubauer on ice at Verizon Center. “It Would be a good feeling to come back with this jersey to capital city and see the Caps win some games.’ – Nothing to add – Let`s Go Caps.
Article translated by Bjoern Esperling for NoVa Caps
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