Friday, November 26, 2010

The Hockey Sweater

I don't have a Montreal Canadiens sweater to wear. On Jersey Day at work, I wear a Habs t-shirt. When I go to games, I can't get geared up in my team's colours.

That's not to say I don't have a sweater. I do. I just can't wear them. I have a vintage 1987 polyester number with "Roy" ironed on the back, in a youth's size small. It's seen many playoff games and briefly ended up in the trash one time after a particularly painful elimination by the Bruins. I have a great Bob Gainey sweater...autographed...given to me by my non-hockey watching spouse for Christmas a few years ago. Unfortunately, it was accidentally ordered in size extra large, and unreturnable because it's customized. And I have a beautiful Plekanec game-worn sweater (with matching turtleneck)...also autographed. Only problem is, you can't really wear a game-worn item around the house. Also, although Pleks is a "smaller" guy, his sweater is not.

So, I was thinking the other day, I should probably buy a Habs sweater I can actually wear to annoy leaf fans at work. That decision made, I opened my email this morning to a message from the NHL shop that they're customizing sweaters for only. The new question is, whose name do I get?

Some people get their favourite current player, which is great unless that player gets traded or otherwise let go. How many fans have Komisarek, Higgins or Petrov sweaters buried in the back of their closets? With Plekanec, I'm probably safe for a long while, but you never know.

Other people put their own names on their sweaters, which is fine in a "to each his own" kind of way, but it doesn't feel legit to me. Some leave it blank and let the logo on the front stand alone, representing every player and every fan. That's a great symbolic thing to do, but when the customizing is's hard to pass up a good deal.

Perhaps it's best to go vintage. A great Hab is a great Hab, and that can't be changed. Unless he's found guilty of perjury or something like that. That might take the bloom off the rose a bit. Sigh. So many choices, and only ten hours to decide.


Anonymous said...

I felt te exact same way. When I got my jersey two marchs ago, I was torn on who I should put on the back. At the time my favorite player was komiserek. The reason for that is because I am 6"3 240 and i an a defenseman. I play physical with a little bit of nastiness and I am blond with blue eyes. I identified with him. I was ready to put his name on my jersey until my girlfriend convinced me not to untill he signed. Thank god fr her lol. Now I hate his guts.
So, what to do. That summer I watched the rookie camp.. And voilà, I have been repying my pk jersey ever since.

Unknown said...

Shouldn't you get an updated Roy, since he's a fave of yours? Seems like it would be a good choice. Then again, maybe Beliveau? He represents everything that is good about the Habs, hockey, and indeed, sports and sportsmanship.

T said...

I say you go with Plekanec, for two reasons. First, he's your favourite player. Second, I really can't see him being traded.

Unknown said...

I don't think you can go wrong with a #9 on the back.

Or really, pick any of the retired numbers, and a name to go with.

Anonymous said...

Hey JT - When I was thinking about this for my sweater, I decided to go for just the number. Example: I have number 32 for Moen (fellow Saskie) but if he is traded etc. - it becomes a Claude Lemieux tribute. Can't go wrong - Unless you had an 11 from 3 years ago:)

Anonymous said...

I'm touched by your story. My advice - go with your heart.

Think of Koivu or Higgins or even Kovalev - no longer with the team, but a part of while here.

I don't have a jersey/sweater either, only a t-shirt that I thought matched Montreal fans' frantic mood swings (habs logo with J'y crois! / I believe! above and below) and an "official" NHL CH toque. But then, I'm not really one to express much in outfits, and I could never justify the expense..

DB said...

Go with Pleks or your favourite legend.

On a totally different topic, the next episode of the fifth estate, on Brendan Burke, may cause some discomfort for the Habs based on what Bob McKeown told Bob McCown yesterday. Here's the link - the relevant comment starts about the 34 minute mark.

Anonymous said...

This is what I propose: number 06 with the name "ORIGINAL". That can last a lifetime...

Anonymous said...

Current player: Plekanec
Vintage 80s player: Naslund

Unknown said...

I have always thought that if I get a customized sweater that I would either put "Habs" and use the number 1 or I would put "Rocket" and, of course, use the number 9.

In the end, I would visualize the different combos and pick the one that makes you smile in the most.

Bonne chance!

NailaJ said...

Who are your top choices?!

And I guess having a non-name on the back of your sweater isn't an option, huh?

Anonymous said...

Wait... I thought everyone got Lapierre jerseys nowadays? Just like the RDS commercial... right? Gainey, Roy,,,er,, Lapierre?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the free customization heads up, JT. Ordered a couple of jerseys today. One 19 Robinson for me (represents everything great about the organization in the 70s and 80s), and one 76 Subban for my brother, who is 12 years younger than me. Habs legends are always a no-brainer, but guys like Pleks (who has always stated he loves Montreal) and PK (who management will sign out of his entry level deal no matter what) are pretty safe bets too. Sometimes you have to roll the dice and go with your heart.

Anonymous said...

Be a big girl. Make a bold statement. Be patient. Order 87, Crosby.

Anonymous said...

Got My Halak red shirt last spring... I liked his attitude which is still the same even if he's not there anymore.

Too bad for the consumer though, I felt betrayed to buy the customized shirt and then see the team trade him few weeks after... There should be a rule to allow customers to buy a new one half price or so when you buy a customized shirt with someone traded, say within 6 months of the sale. Anyway.

And, by the way, Lafleur as been acquitted from his charges by the appeal court, so you can customize your shirt with his name with no fear.

Ian said...

Hi Leigh Anne,

I went through this last year. I ordered a special approved version, in red. I'll be wearing it in Toronto on December 11 when we play the Laffs.

I intentionally ordered a Koivu #11. I know he's gone, but he was my favourite and he's not forgotten.

People may see me at the game and think it's an old jersey. I know it's not. It was specially ordered, for a reason.

Good luck.

moeman said...



... soon Price.

Jessica and Stephan said...

I never got, but still want my Koivu jersey. And I still plan on getting it.

I have a jersey, was gonna be customized, but then it started collecting autographs, so now it just stays blank.
And I have my Kovalev jersey, I still wear it because I loved him as a Hab.

Markov maybe JT? or, as others have, your favourite legend. Can't go wrong there.

Speaking of ordering jerseys...has anybody bought the womens fitted jerseys? how do they fit? Do you have to go up/down a size?! Anybody know?

Stephane said...

I went the vintage route, with the #2 sweater of a legendary Habs defenseman... No, not Doug Harvey. Not Jacques Laperrière either. I'm wearing Sprague Cleghorn's sweater with pride.

A skilled defenseman with a flair for offense, and a fearless leader on the ice, captain Sprague was also vicious as all hell...

According to his official bio on the Canadiens' website, "(...) Cleghorn was merciless with his adversaries, beating them both with his goals and his fists. Determined not to come out second-best in any confrontation, Cleghorn battled through four seasons with the Canadiens, proving that while he might have aged, he certainly hadn’t mellowed. He put three Senators out of commission in a single game in 1922 and faced assault charges following another on-ice incident the next year."

Of course, in the 1920's, players didn't wear their name on their sweater, but I wanted to pay tribute to an often overlooked great player who embodied "grit", "sandpaper", "energy" or what have you.

So, Cleghorn #2 it is.

Not a bad conversation starter either... ;-)

Unknown said...

So what did you decide on, JT?