We at Distinct Kicking Motion do have an affinity for things obscure. We happen to have an actual 'team issued' jersey hanging around in our collective closets. This is an Atlanta Thrashers team issued jersey, straight outta what once was the Thrashers's dressing room. Let's take a look at what make team issued jersey's unique.
|Atlanta, GA - supplying Western Canada with NHL teams since 1981.|
Each Player is issued two home and two away jerseys at the beginning of the regular season. This makes 'game worn' jersey's highly valuable since they are issued to players in such limited quantities. For special auctions, playoffs, and 'shirt off our back nights' the players are issued sweaters just for those events. Teams keep extra "blank" jersey's in the equipment room in the event a player is called up from the minors or a player is acquired in a trade.
|One, two, three, four, five, six. Six colors in the Thrashers logo, AH-AH-AH.|
|A tidy fight strap or "Tie Down" fills out this Reebok Edge 2.0 sweater nicely.|
The most identifiable piece of an 'authentic' and team issued jersey is the fight strap. This is a snap and velcro reinforced strap that is sewn to the inside of the back of the jersey. The strap is then fastened to a loop on the hockey pants to keep the jersey from being removed. The fight strap is not designed to keep the jersey from being pulled over a players head in a fight. It's meant to keep the jersey ON during a fight. Thugs of yester-year would wear jersey's three sizes too big, and during the course of the fight, the jersey would come off, leaving the player bare-chested. This creates a distinct advantage in a fight when you have no jersey on, giving your opponent no leverage with no jersey to grab onto. #TheMoreYouKnow. The equipment staff will often mark the fight straps to signify any importance of the jersey.
Gussets are a diamond shaped piece of fabric in the armpit of the jersey. This serves two (and sometimes three) functions. 1) it makes the sweater fit better over shoulder pads and adds flexibility to the jersey. 2) the gusset today is usually a lightweight breathable material to minimize odor. 3) Phil Esposito came up with the idea of making the gussets of striped fabric for the Tampa Bay Lightning jerseys. You could only see stripes when a player raised his hands in the air after scoring a goal. It was a nice touch. The Lightning discontinued doing this with their latest "all blue and white" jerseys.
|Gussets, fashion and function.|
Reinforced Elbows. There are two 'high wear' zones on hockey jerseys. One of them is the elbows. Jersey manufacturers have long added an extra piece of fabric in the form of an oval patch to the interior of the jersey sleeve. This looked a little ghetto as the stitching from a giant oval patch would detract a little from the appearance of the jersey. Now, with the newer jerseys, the extra layer of fabric is built into the sleeves as part of the jersey.
|It's hard to illustrate, but the white band of the jersey here is two layers of fabric.|
|Here you can see the pie shaped second layer of the reinforced shoulders. Also, you can see the embroidery of the sholder patch.|
|Size 58 - And made in Canada.|
|The tiny, barely postage stamped sized tag on the left sleeve of the jersey.|
The construction of the jersey has changed considerably over the last ten years. Our next "Inside the dressing room" series will feature a photo rich pictorial of how jerseys have changed over the past decade to get to where they are today.