Photos: Suny Sohi
Hey folks, you may or may not have seen my collection posted back in March during the NoVA game-worn expo. Well, it’s grown quite a bit since then. For background, I collect goal pucks, game-worn jerseys, and game-used sticks.
I have joined forces with NoVa Caps to provide a season-long look at the game-used memorabilia industry, and to provide information for those already involved with the hobby or those looking to get involved with the hobby. I hope to provide all of you information regarding game-used pucks, jerseys, and other items as the season goes along. I understand this is a Capitals blog, so I’ll do my best to keep it Caps-centric.
So how did I get into this hobby? Well, I first bought season tickets for the 40th Anniversary season. The first night, the Caps played the Montreal Canadiens. As I walked in, I saw a sign for a game-worn auction that night from MeiGray. I was kind of curious, but I was more interested in my first game as a full season ticket holder.
Anyways, I went through the entire season without purchasing a jersey, but I did subtly stalk Meigray online to see their prices. At the time I was exposed to r/hockeyjerseys on reddit and started buying jerseys from there, as well as keeping an eye on sales and where to purchase jerseys. It’s a very active community. I ended up with over 100 replicas at one point.
Anyway, as I mentioned, I went through the entire 2014-15 season without purchasing a game-worn jersey. During the end-of-season equipment sale, I got my first set of game-used stuff. I ended up with a few of the pucks and the “game-used” sticks. I put it in quotes because you don’t actually know if they were used in practice or in a game (or even used at all)
At the start of the 2015-16 season, the Caps teased the reveal of their new jerseys and I knew I had to get one. I ordered it over Thanksgiving, but it didn’t arrive until the day of the game on December 16, 2015. The Caps had a goal puck grab-bag from prior seasons going that night. I ended up with a Quintin Laing and I believe a Jason Chimera goal puck.
I grabbed the pucks before the game started and we looked at some of the other equipment before going to our seats. A pair of Brooks Laich gloves caught my eye and I knew there was a Brooks Laich signing the next day at Collectable Heroes in Fair Oaks Mall, so I planned to keep an eye on the auction.
I went back up to the MeiGray table (since it was behind my section) and talked to Barry and the other guys, asking how the auction would be held and the procedures and payment. After a talk, I was satisfied with their answers and went back to my seats to think about whether I really wanted to do it.
I was also keeping an eye on the auction on the Capitals’ handbid page until the end of the second period. When no one had bid on them with about a minute left, I snagged the pair of Brooks Laich game worn gloves, and the collection was started.
Honestly, I was pretty anxious about bidding on jerseys. Barry (The Caps rep) went through all of the GI (Game-Issued) jerseys that night. He started going through the players alphabetically. Carlson was one of the earlier guys, so I got in a bidding war with another person. He ended up winning it at $1,100 because his wife really wanted it. I watched the next couple of jerseys before deciding to go after a (Dmitry) Orlov jersey. I used the MeiGray price list as a reference and I stopped bidding at $700.
Needless to say, I didn’t get Orly. The Ovechkin jersey has an interesting story, but I’ll save that for another day as this is getting long. So it was down to [Justin] Williams and [Tom] Wilson left, and my cousin pointed out to me that Williams had gotten the assist on Carlson’s game-winner. I liked watching Williams since his Carolina days and knew he was a former Conn Smythe winner, so in my head, it made a lot of sense to me to drop the money on his jersey. I won’t say there was an exciting bidding war. I went back and forth with someone and ended up getting it.
And that’s how I got into collecting hockey jerseys. Since then I’ve purchased at least 50 jerseys, focusing mainly on jerseys with “patches”. By “patches” I mean like the Caps’ 40th Anniversary patch or the NHL 100 patch.
MINORS LEAGUE HOCKEY JERSEYS
If you want a Hershey Bears game-worn jersey, you’ll most likely have to actually drive up there and get it at the stadium, as there’s not a lot of AHL teams that make their jerseys available online.
I also collect junior hockey jerseys with my main focus being on the OHL (Oshawa Generals, Soo Greyhounds, and Windsor Spitfires at the moment) and WHL (Kelowna Rockets, Prince Albert Raiders, and Vancouver Giants at the moment)
I’m working on establishing contacts with teams so that I will be able to purchase jerseys from more junior teams in the future. I don’t have any restrictions on jerseys from the AHL and junior hockey, because those guys end up wearing their jerseys for the entire season, except for specialty nights when they wear one or two-gamers (Yes, there are specialty night gamers that are worn for more than one game).
Minor leagues and junior leagues have a lot of specialty jersey nights. I’ll definitely highlight some of the Bears game-worn jerseys and junior jerseys if our prospects will be playing in those games in future posts.
With that, I hope you enjoyed reading this introductory article, and I hope to give all of the readers some more information in the near future.
By Suny Sohi