Hockey Fans and Collectors Take Part in 12th Annual NoVa Game Worn Jersey Expo

Collectors mingling, youth hockey players expressing excitement on their faces, and many curious hockey fans both young and old reliving their fondest hockey memories. These were the scenes at the 12th annual Northern Virginia Game Worn Jersey Expo inside a conference room at a Holiday Inn just a few miles from Dulles Airport. This event brings hockey fans and collectors together showing off their displays of game worn jerseys, game used equipment and more. What started as just simply a small get together 12 years ago has grown exponentially over the last decade. 

“A bunch of us collectors were trying to do some kind of get together with jerseys and stuff so I decided to put it together one year and it’s grown ever since. In the first year I had six people show up and now it sells out every year. I’m now averaging about 25-26 tables (of collectors) a year,” said promoter Francis Rady.

The jerseys that were on display ranged from old Capitals players with different styles. You may remember the old red, white and blue ones from the first days of the franchise or the late 90’s/early 2000’s versions with the eagle on the front or the Capitol building. All of those styles were present along with the current jerseys the Capitals wear Among the former Capitals player jerseys featured were Mike Green, Matthieu Perreault, Michael Neuvirth, and even retired legends such as Steve Knowalchuk, Alan May, Rod Langway and Peter Bondra.

Ben Russell came all the way from Pennsylvania for the expo. Russell is a Hershey Bears season ticket holder who was a big fan of Jay Beagle and Keith Aucoin during their days with the Bears. His display included Jay Beagle jerseys of many styles (home, away, both versions of the third jerseys) and even included a Beagle jersey from his time in Hershey.

“We saw both of those guys play in Hershey and kind of liked their style of play,” said Russell.

Russell elaborated more on Beagle, who has been really stellar on the face-off dot lately. Beagle has won 43 of his last 54 face-offs (79.62 percent) including 28 out of 36 in the defensive zone (77.77 percent) and five out of six shorthanded (83.3 percent) heading into Saturday’s game against the San Jose Sharks.

“He’s always top five/top ten in face-offs which is a pretty big deal in today’s game. Trotz has put him out there a lot for d-zone draws and he’s pretty good,” said Russell.

There were also some Capitals jerseys from the 2015 Winter Classic, game worn goalie pants by Neuvirth in the 2011 Winter Classic and even some game worn jerseys, programs and signage from last Saturday’s Stadium Series game between the Capitals and Maple Leafs.

Eric Janecky and his son Paul from New Carrollton, Maryland attended the Stadium Series and had an absolute blast.

“It was very cool just to see all the Caps community come together in one area that we’re close to and local to, to see that many people packed in (Navy Marine-Corps Memorial) stadium all rooting for the Caps and have an ice rink in the middle of the stadium,” said Paul.

Eric has attended Capitals games since the 1980’s and told NoVa Caps how much different it was collecting equipment and autographs from players back then to the way it is now.

“Back in the day it was really persistence and the availability of the players was so much better. It was easier just to stay in the parking lot and follow the players to their cars at the old Capital Centre or meeting the players at the hotels. These days, it’s much harder just because there’s more security and the players are less available,” Eric explained.

A majority of the game used jerseys were Capitals but Rady’s collection was mostly Bruins jerseys. Rady is from the Boston area and is a diehard Bruins fan. Growing up watching them play, he later got the idea of collecting jerseys after attending a card show in nearby Chantilly.

“I went to a card show 20 years ago and I saw jerseys and saw that they were worn by players. The first jersey I bought was 100 dollars and was hooked ever since,” Rady said.

When asking Rady what makes game worn hockey jersey collecting different compared to collecting in other sports he said that the love and passion for the sport of hockey and with collecting is what makes it unique.

“I think it’s just the love and the passion that people have with collecting. You might meet a player and have one of his jerseys, things like that. It’s the passion and the love for the game,” said Ray.

Be sure to check out next year’s event. The game worn jersey expo usually takes place in March so be on the lookout for an announcement of 2019’s date, time and location!

By Michael Marzzacco


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3 Responses to Hockey Fans and Collectors Take Part in 12th Annual NoVa Game Worn Jersey Expo

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