Current Avalanche captain Milan Hejduk has 371 regular season and 34 playoff goals while wearing the burgundy and blue. He has also worn an Avalanche jersey in more games than any other player in Avalanche history. This could be the jersey he was wearing when he scored his final goal in either the NHL or for the Colorado Avalanche.
I would definitely rather not see number 23 retire or play for another NHL team (that just wouldn’t be right at all), but last year, especially the last half, seemed to be a challenge for the 36 year-old Czech winger. Hejduk even played on the fourth line for much of the last quarter of the season. I never thought I’d ever see something like that. It made things that much sweeter when, 8:29 into the second period, he made the March 30, 2012 contest against the Flames in Calgary a 3-0 game for our favorite NHL team.
As the Flames announcer pointed out, this was Hejduk’s first goal in 23 games. That’s something else I never thought I’d see. It’s very difficult to watch a player with so much skill struggle in that fashion.
As with all of the game worn jerseys in my collection, I wanted to photo match this jersey. It was pre-ordered from MeiGray, meaning that I was able to watch the jersey in action on television knowing it was eventually going to be mine. I reviewed the replay of the goal many times on my DVR and I was almost positive that I saw a hole behind the left armpit of the jersey as the players celebrated Hejduk’s goal in the video above. There was no hole when the jersey arrived. That’s not good. And since Hejduk had played on the fourth line for much of the part of the season this jersey was worn there weren’t a whole lot of marks, holes, or anything else that would help me match it to a picture or video of the game. As I examined the jersey though, I noticed a long thread hanging from the back of the MeiGray tag affixed to the bottom left of the back of the jersey.
Here is the inside of the lower back left side of the jersey for reference.
Here is a close up of the MeiGray tag, also for reference.
By the way, if this tag isn’t on the jersey it wasn’t worn in an Avalanche game (at least since the 2002-2003 to the current Avalanche season.)
Here is the back of the left side of the jersey. Check out the thread.
And a closer look.
I actually came *this close* to cutting this string off and decided to leave it for a while just in case.
While watching a little more of the game just after Hejduk’s goal in the video above, Avalanche coach Joe Sacco took a timeout before a face-off after the Avs had iced the puck. Hejduk was on the ice during this timeout. The camera focused in on Hejduk as he skated toward the bench as Avalanche television personalities Mike Haynes and Peter McNab discussed Hejduk and the chances he’ll be back in an Avs jersey for the 2012-2013 season. As Hejduk arrived at the bench and he leaned on the boards with his right elbow. Check out what’s hanging a few inches below his left elbow courtesy of this picture I took of my television.
Thank you Altitude Sports and Entertainment. Your camera work is very much appreciated. Photo/video match accomplished.
One quick side note that I did not mention in my last post, the Avalanche jerseys worn during the 2011-2012 season had a small branding/logo change from the past six seasons. Rather than having the Reebok vector on the back of the neck above the nameplate like this (on the current style of Reebok Edge jersey):
Or this (on the older style Reebok 6100 jersey):
Reebok now decided to put “Reebok” itself on the back of the neck of the jerseys just above the nameplate, like this (on the Hejduk):
And this (on my Ryan O’Byrne Peter Forsberg night game worn jersey):
Not exactly sure why the switch was made by the company, but it is what it is.
So I may have a piece of Avalanche history (if Hejduk retires), or simply the jersey Milan Hejduk was wearing when he scored his 371st goal in an Avs jersey. There’s no way I’m going to be disappointed with either scenario. We will see exactly which jersey I have in the near future. This is definitely a developing story. Stay tuned.