The 2001-2002 Avalanche season was special for a few different reasons. First, it was a chance for the Avs and their fans to call themselves the defending Stanley Cup champions for the second time in the team’s history. Another reason…these jerseys.
This is a 2001-2002 Stephane Yelle game worn, set II, alternate jersey worn later in the 2001-2002 regular season. It shows plenty of game use and represents Yelle’s style of play very well. Some of the game use includes a nice burgundy board burn on the right sleeve.
There is also a very small hole on the left sleeve, along with a clean half-inch slice on the elbow. The hole is just above the double elbow stitching on the black stripe on the left and the slice is on the right side of the thick burgundy stripe in the middle of the sleeve straight through that same double elbow stitching. I think the only thing that could have caused a clean cut like that was a skate blade.
There is also more evidence of game use on the left side of the front of the jersey, with the mark that’s easiest to see being a stick mark on the white stripe.
An interesting thing about these jerseys is the way they’re tagged. The Avs organization, at this time in history, tagged their own jerseys to prove they were game worn with tags that looked like this.
That tag can be found on the inside of the bottom hem on the back middle of the jersey. If you look closely at the image of the front of this jersey (the very first picture in this post) you can see the set tag hanging out just a tiny bit on the middle of the bottom. As far as I know, the first set of the 2001-2002 sets of jerseys were distributed by the Avs themselves. The second set of the thirds, whites, and burgundy jerseys and third sets of the whites and burgundy jerseys were purchased by Meigray and that’s where the partnership with them began. The paperwork I received with this jersey is all authenticated by Meigray. That partnership, to the joy of one jersey collector in particular, still exists today.
Stephane Yelle is one Avalanche player that I’ve always liked and respected. He’s never been one of my very favorites, but he is a big reason why fans have two seasons full of Stanley Cup memories. He was one of the small handful of Avalanche players that was on both the 1996 and 2001 championship teams. He was that solid guy on the penalty kill as well as that solid third or fourth liner that allowed the first and second lines to save enough energy so they could bury tons of pucks throughout the years. On October 1, 2002, Yelle was part of the Chris Drury to Calgary deal. On March 3, 2010 Yelle, who was then a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, was traded back to the Avs. It was definitely exciting to see Yelle come back to Denver during last season’s trade deadline. It kind of felt like old times. It doesn’t look like Yelle will be back with the Avs for the 2010-2011 season, but that doesn’t mean that us Avs fans will forget about what he did for the organization during his two stays in Denver.
As far as the jersey goes, I’ve had a really tough time trying to find collectors and hockey fans that don’t like the design and look of the old Avalanche third jerseys. Whoever was in charge of planning these jerseys and making them happen did an outstanding job. The “throwback” feel is the main detail many people enjoyed about them. The new third jerseys are okay, but they’ll never replace the look and feel of the original alternate jerseys, that’s for sure.