Sometimes, especially on eBay, rare treasures can be found for reasonable prices. Sometimes those rare treasures need some TLC. The jersey featured below is definitely one of those treasures.
Ever since the 2001 NHL All-Star game here in Denver I had been looking for a blue North American authentic version of the jerseys that I could potentially make into a Joe Sakic. I didn’t have the money to buy an authentic back then. The jerseys being right around $250 didn’t help either. I don’t think I’d buy any blank jersey right now for that much. Either way, I trusted I would get one eventually.
After a wait of just short of a decade I was able to finally find the jersey I was looking for on eBay, and the wait was well worth it for many reasons. First off, the seller obviously had no idea what they had. It was listed as an “Avalanche alternate jersey” in a size 58. There was no mention in the title or description about it being an NHL All-Star jersey. One pretty bad picture of the front was all that was included in the listing and that was it.
Based on the size I had a strong feeling that this jersey was different in a good way. Size 58s from this era of jerseys were only made for the teams and not for retail sale. That had me very curious. The listing also mentioned the fight strap had been cut off of the jersey. That’s never good when it comes to authentic jerseys. The fight strap is one of the things that makes the jersey authentic in the first place. I’m also assuming that scared off a few bidders. I ended up placing a last second bid and won the jersey for $32 delivered. Not too bad at all.
Opening that box was pretty exciting when it arrived. My focus went directly to the back of the jersey on the lower right hand side. I found what I was looking for because it looked like this:
The silver NHL shield is found on all of the authentic jerseys of that era. No big deal. But the NHLPA logo to the left of the NHL shield is a big deal. Those are only found on jerseys that are made to wear in the actual NHL All-Star games. On a side note, I found the red jersey below on eBay as well. It has a similar story behind it. Check out the lower right hand side of the back of the jersey. You’ll see the NHLPA logo there as well. That means it was going to be used in an All-Star game, but it ended up as a blank extra just like my potential Sakic.
By the way, just in case you’re wondering, NHLPA stands for the National Hockey League Players’ Association.
With the good news of the future Sakic jersey being what I wanted it to be there now came new challenges. Look really closely where the fight strap should be, just below the middle of the back, and notice that most of it isn’t there.
Here’s the front, just for the “before” reference.
Overall, the jersey was in pretty good shape. I’d classify it as very good used condition. I was very happy overall, but I was just getting started.
I now had my next steps to make this jersey into something special: find someone that could fix the fight strap, find a blue nameplate for the back of the jersey, find a Team Canada flag patch for the left sleeve, a small Avalanche patch for the right sleeve, and a company could letter it into a Sakic for me. No problem.
A few connections on a jersey forum that I’m a member of helped me find someone that could very easily fix the fight strap. That same guy knew someone that could get me some blue material for the nameplate on the eventual finished jersey. I purchased the patches I needed from a local sports memorabilia store that I’ve been going to for 25 years. And after discussing things with my favorite local jersey lettering place I found out that they were the actual company that lettered the on-ice All-Star jerseys for the game at Pepsi Center in 2001. How’s that for a plan?
Fast forward about six months and here is the finished product:
It’s a beautiful thing.
In the end, a $32 jersey became something very special. In the grand scheme of things I made a game issued Joe Sakic 2001 All-Star jersey for a fraction of the price of a documented game issued jersey. Also in the end, it was quite a bargain and was definitely well worth the wait.
Many jersey collectors will say the most expensive jerseys price-wise automatically end up as the centerpieces of their collections, but sometimes the best deals and the projects stemming from those deals steal the show in the end. This jersey is a perfect example of just that.