First off, I have to come clean, I was never that big of a Wojtek Wolski fan when he played here in Denver, but I did have his back when he needed me. With that said, let’s get to the jersey.
A few years ago a seller on eBay listed a handful of jerseys that were to be worn during the 2006 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships which were hosted that year in Canada. It’s pretty tough to find who didn’t make the Team Canada roster after tryouts, but the fact that this jersey exists makes me assume that Wolski was one of the final roster cuts.
The story may be unclear, but the jersey does exist, and here it is.
There are all kinds of great details to share about this jersey. First, there are the patches. One is the tournament patch found on the upper left hand part of the chest.
This patch is only found on the jerseys that were worn in, or made for, the tournament itself. Many eBay sellers reproduce patches like this and sell them, but the “real deal” is obviously always better in terms of quality and detail.
Another patch that I love on this jersey is the IIHF patch found on the back of the jersey on the lower right tail.
The International Ice Hockey Federation is the governing body over all international hockey competition. Again, this patch is imitated by many people, but never duplicated like people can find on jerseys made for or worn in IIHF tournaments.
The other thing collectors find on Nike authentic jerseys is this.
Nike heat seals a barcode like this on all of their authentic jerseys. It’s found underneath the lower left hand side of the back hem of the jersey. There has been a lot of discussion regarding these tags and even the experts don’t know if this tag means that this jersey was made to wear in games or it was something that Nike did with all of their authentic jerseys. Either way, it’s definitely something worth paying attention to if you’re a collector.
Nike also changed the cut to the jerseys they made for international teams just after this tournament. The more form fitting cut they labeled “Swift” has not been very popular for hockey fans, but it has been something the company has stuck with so the players must not mind it too much. This jersey having more of the traditional cut was something that drew me to it. I prefer the larger cut of this jersey and jerseys of its time. The design looks very much like a Nike Swift, but the cut is definitely not Swift-like.
Another Nike international jersey trademark is the names on the back of the jersey are heat pressed rather than actually sewn onto the nameplate. I guess Nike didn’t want all that thread weighing the players down when they wore this jersey.
There’s more too. Canada decided not too long before this tournament to start outlining the emblem on the chest and shoulders in gold rather than the red and black they had used in the past. The larger image of the front of the jersey (shown above) doesn’t show this very well, the close up of the crest on the chest and the shoulder patch shows the gold accents way better.
This jersey, like all of the game worn or game issued jerseys in my collection, tells a story. The story isn’t as long as it would have been if Wolski had actually played in the tournament, but that’s alright, some international flavor is always welcome in my collection anyways.