Being the proud father of an almost two-year old daughter I have watched the Pixar classic movie “Monster’s Inc.” probably a couple hundred times within the past two weeks. Great movie, very well written, the animation is amazing, and it never gets old. I thought it would be appropriate to title this post in this manner. The details are below. Stick with me here. You guys know how I roll by now.
The Lake Erie Monsters are the Colorado Avalanche’s American Hockey League affiliate. Their home city is in Cleveland, Ohio. They ended their relationship with The Meigray Group a couple of seasons ago, so obtaining game worn jerseys of the Avalanche’s future stars can be a little bit tricky. I believe the team now auctions game worn jerseys off to benefit local charities. Good for the charities, bad for collectors outside of Cleveland. There are many of the Monsters jerseys from previous seasons still available through Meigray. As of their last sale though, there was only one jersey that was in a size that I could wear so naturally, I grabbed it.
This is defenseman Wes O’Neill’s jersey worn during the first half of the 2008-2009 AHL season. There are some subtle and not so subtle differences between the NHL jerseys and the AHL jerseys, although they’re both manufactured by Reebok. Here’s another Wes O’Neill jersey that I picked up in the same Meigray order as the jersey above. We can use it, very conveniently, for reference. This is the set one alternate jersey that was made for O’Neill to wear with the Avs during the 2009-2010 campaign. This jersey is a game issue because he was never called up to play for the Avalanche during that particular part of the season.
Let’s begin with the RBK vectors. In the NHL, Reebok would like you to pay attention to the name of the player found just below the RBK vector on the back of the neck.
In the AHL, Reebok would like you to focus on the back of the neck as well.
There’s an RBK vector found near the bottom of the back of the jersey as well. It’s next to the AHL logo.
It’s obviously clear that the AHL wants fans to check out player’s butts. “I (AHL fans) like big butts and I (they) cannot lie.” – Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Baby Got Back.”
Speaking of branding, let’s talk about NHL related changes in the recent past. When the league decided to go with the new version of the RBK jerseys they moved the NHL crest from the bottom of the back right of the jersey, like on my 2005-2006 Andrew Brunette game worn jersey,
…to the front of the neck just below the chin of the player, like on my 2009-2010 David Koci game-issued alternate,
I preferred the shield on the back hem of the jersey, but that’s just me. Maybe I just like looking at the player’s butts. I don’t know. And yes, Joe Thornton, those pants make your butt look HUGE.
Another note, even though these jerseys are both a size 58+, they are cut pretty differently. The Lake Erie version of the jersey is definitely smaller than the blueberry Avalanche alternate. Interesting quirk there.
The Lake Erie patches and crest are unique as well. It’s fun to have this jersey hanging with all of the rest of the Avs jerseys in my collection. It’s similar enough to fit in, and different enough to definitely stick out.
And I think I have a feeling where the players go to get all stitched up after the games are over. The Kaiser Permanente patch was found on the white and burgundy version of the 2008-2009 Lake Erie Monster jerseys.
The Monsters jersey is smaller than the Avs jersey and may be even too small for me to wear to a game at Pepsi Center, but that doesn’t mean that I regret picking it up. Yep, there’s an actual monster in my closet now and it’s not near as scary as I thought it would be.