If any Avalanche fans blinked late in the 2002-2003 season or very early in the 2003-2004 season they might have missed Bates Battaglia’s stay here in the Mile High City. 24 games total isn’t a long time to spend with a franchise, but that was the length of Battaglia’s tenure for the Avalanche. Battaglia arrived in Denver late in the 2002-2003 season when the Avs sent Radim Vrbata to the Canes in exchange for Battaglia. In 13 games played during the regular season Battaglia had one goal and five assists. He also added two assists in the seven playoff games the Avalanche played in that post season. Then, after one assist in four games played in the 2003-2004 season, Battaglia was traded to the Washington Capitals as part of the deal that brought current assistant coach Steve Konowalchuk to the Avalanche. This late season arrival and early season departure led to extra Avalanche jerseys that were never used in games, and many of you should know by now where those end up. (***Small hint—In my closet.)
Here is an old style alternate jersey that was made for Bates Battaglia to wear during the 2003-2004 season.
And here is a dark jersey that was made for Battaglia to wear during the 2002-2003 season.
When I received these jerseys (I bought them from the same seller at the same time on eBay) everything looked fine. The name or the numbers look a little off center on both of them, but that’s just your eyes playing tricks on you. Fours tend to do that on jerseys. They seemingly throw everything off on the back of a jersey, especially when the number on the back is 41 or 44. It’s just one of those things. If you look hard enough, you will see that everything is pretty much centered.
The thing that did stick out was on the dark 2002-2003 jersey. As I checked it out I ran across this on the inside of the neck tag.
It’s a piece of solid black nylon twill and it’s sewn all the way through the Koho tag on the back of the neck.
I had never seen this modification on an Avalanche jersey and decided to ask around and see if anyone had any idea what it was. The seller told me that the Avalanche did this to all of their game issued jerseys from that season. I wasn’t sure about that at all. I’ve seen a ton of Avs jerseys over the years, and, as I said before, I had never seen anything like this. No one else has really had a good guess that made sense as to what the patch is all about.
So the patch remains and the mystery grows. It adds to the story behind the jersey, but it’s tough not knowing exactly what’s going on with the black mystery patch. I guess it makes it easier to write a post about it, but having the real story would be really nice too. I’ll continue to check around and see what I can come up with. If I hear anything solid I’ll let you guys know!