Jerseys and Hockey Love has rapidly become one of my favorite hockey blogs -- not only because it's pretty entertaining, not only because Tapeleg has the good taste to be an Avs fan, not just because of this post (beautiful though it is), but also because he's a fellow jersey nut.
I really like a periodic feature he does, in fact -- profiling a jersey from his collection. So much so, in fact, that I'm stealing the idea. Hopefully he won't sue me; Tapeleg, I owe you a beer at Sobo 151 next time I'm back in Colorado for more than two days.
Leo Gudas late 1980s Sparta ČKD Praha road jersey
This is one of the first jerseys I ever got, for about $60 on eBay several years ago, and it remains one of my favorites. I'm pretty sure it's from the 1987-88 season, though it may be 1988-89. If it's '87-'88, that's the year that Gudas led the Czechoslovakian Extraliga in penalty minutes, which explains the condition of this jersey.
The whole thing is slashed and trashed -- plenty of holes, highlighted by an enormous gash right under the "S". Lots of stick marks, lots of rubbing from board paint. Very little advertising on this jersey, a relic of the Communist era -- apart from two Levi's logos, there's nothing. A far cry from today's Czech jerseys.
This jersey was worn toward the start of a long and winding career -- Gudas played in Czechoslovakia (and later the Czech Republic), Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, and Sweden, in a career that ended in 2003. He also made frequent appearances on the Czech national team, including picking up a bronze at the 1992 Olympics. To add to the trivia, he was a 12th-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 1990, but I have no idea if there was ever a possibility of him coming over. Now? He's an assistant coach with Czech first division club HC Berounští Medvědi, and looks a lot like an aging version of the Beastie Boys' MCA.
(career stats at EuroHockey.net are here)
One last note -- an odd little nod to hockey history on the numbers:
Down there at the bottom of the "7" -- that's a version of the old Minnesota Fighting Saints' guy, minus wings and halo and plus a few stars coming out of his head. No idea why (all the jerseys had them, from other pics I've seen). Go figure. (A closer view is here.)
(A couple acknowledgements: thanks again to Tapeleg for the inspiration. Also, research on this and other Sparta jerseys was conducted with the help of the book, "Naše krev je Sparta" by David Soeldner -- no idea what it says, but it's great!)
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Further jersey note: Brushback, who already clinched his place in hockey history this week when he coined the term "Lubomir Vacuum," has a fantastic post up on some of the ugliest jerseys around. While I like a few -- and the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees jersey, featuring the bee dressed as a cowboy and riding a broomstick horse, is inspired if insane -- there's some real eye-destroyers there. I've got some ugly jerseys, but the worst I've got isn't near some of those. Great stuff.