On February 27, 2016, in front of a crowd of 50,095 fans, the Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club became the 22nd team to play in a regular season outdoor NHL game. The Avs lost to the Detroit Red Wings 5-3, but it was still a lot of fun to be a part of some hockey history. At no point in my hockey fan experience did I ever think that I would ever, at any time, watch a hockey at Coors Field. It was an experience I will always remember.
Along with all if the obvious fanfare was, of course, the jerseys. They were a special set of jerseys worn just for the game which included the traditional outdoor game extra large arm numbers (because the fans are seated so much further away from the action), a nice 5280 touch on the collars (a nod to Denver’s elevation, 5,280 feet, one mile above sea level (hence “The Mile High City”), and very cool patches.
The Red Wings and Avalanche wore three sets of jerseys during the game. The set worn during the third period was kept by the players. The second period set was eventually given to each team to do what they wanted to with them. And the set worn during the first period was auctioned off, not long after the game, by our friends at The MeiGray Group. At that moment though, no one was sure, including the Avalanche organization itself, whether the set from the second period was going to be auctioned off at any point. (They eventually were auctioned off after the season ended.) Due to the fact that this may have been the only set (at the time) that was going to be made available to the public, I had to go hard after a jersey. So that’s exactly what I did.
Rewind to when the jerseys were listed for auction. It was time to look for wear. Those of you who know me and my collection well, that’s what I do. I watched the first period of action in the game a handful of times looking for big collisions with the boards, rubs on the glass, slashes, and whatever else may lead to recognizable damage (also known as a photomatch.) The best photomatch happened on the right arm number of Jarome Iginla’s jersey after he rubbed against the boards on the near side of the ice. Unfortunately, his jersey was one of the five first period Avs jerseys which weren’t made available in the first auction. The other unavailable jerseys included Erik Johnson, Francois Beauchemin, Nick Holden, and Nathan MacKinnon. (Those five jerseys went to Upper Deck to make game used sports cards. Don’t yell at me. I don’t make the rules here.)
In a related note, Blake Comeau had the primary assist on Tyson Barrie’s first period goal. It was a good hockey goal.
I didn’t originally notice anything too interesting about the goal until I saw a slow motion replay NBC played on the way to the first period intermission well after the goal. Keep a close eye on the back of Comeau’s left shoulder just above the “C” on the name plate as he joins his teammates for hockey hugs. (I needed to slow it down to frame-by-frame but you can see a mark for sure.)
It didn’t take me too long to figure out where that mark came from either. It was left from the tape on the blade of Detroit defenseman Mike Green’s stick. He clipped Comeau just prior to Comeau’s pass to Barrie. Watch the original video of the goal (above) to see that.
Now I had a video match to a mark on a jersey I didn’t own yet. Those are dangerous (for me) in auctions. Safe to say things turned out just fine.
Here’s a closer look at the mark on the jersey near the nameplate (just above the “C”.)
And an even closer look.
I love this stuff.
So on top of being extremely fortunate enough to be at Coors Field for the historic Stadium Series game, I now have a piece of history from the game in my collection. I wouldn’t say I have one particular favorite jersey in my collection, but this one is definitely part of a handful of jerseys which I will not consider parting with anytime soon.