Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Playoff Hockey

I don't know what time of year it is where you live, but down here in Atlanta, it's NHL playoff time, when the city nearly grinds to a halt (not because of the playoffs, but because the roads suck). While I imagine Nanuk is rooting for some Communist team like the Canadiens or Senators or Sagueneens or something, in Casa PPA, you need only see me wearing my (2001) Cup champions t-shirt as I putter around the house, drinking coffee from my (1996) Cup champions coffee mug, eating a bagel off my commemorative china plate, etc. to realize that this is Avalanche Country, which if it hasn't been a stupid Colorado hockey marketing slogan yet, should be. If you're thinking "Good job, Greg, thinking that somehow the clothes you're wearing will impact a hockey game played by professionals 1,100 miles away. You unbelievable nerd." To which I tip my Avalanche baseball cap and say "cheerio!"

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a long time, and have really good memories for pointless trivia, may remember that in 2006 (aka "The Era of Regular Posts") I put my game-worn Ales Pisa Oilers jersey (estimated value: $36,000) up on the wall, single-handedly propelling the Oilers to a playoff victory over the Detroit Dicklickers. So in the spirit of those heady times, I've returned to what works, and ... well, put money down on the Avalanche. That's all I'm saying.


Of all the jerseys I have (approximate number: too many), I only have one Avalanche game-worn jersey. Avalanche jerseys tend to run a bit more expensive than most (because they're awesome) and I've basically quit buying NHL jerseys (unless I come across a Kloucek jersey I don't have). True to form, this one is an obscure Czech player.


Those of you who already established your bona fides by remembering the Ales Pisa thing doubtlessly also remember that I really like Josef Marha, thanks to his amazing contributions to hockey history. He was sort of a perpetual prospect for the Avs for their first couple years, before getting traded to Anaheim for a punching back, and then he bounced around the league's shitty teams for a few years before announcing, loudly, "screw this" and heading back to Europe.




I'm generally against pointless frippery in uniforms, but I dig some of the Avalanche's little touches -- the little whatzit on the zero, for instance. It just looks cool.

This jersey also has decent wear, lots of puck marks and stick marks, especially considering Marha wasn't quite a full-time player. Contrast that to more recent NHL jerseys I've purchased, which look as pristine as the ones you buy at a game.

I don't really have much to say about the jersey. I love it, but it's not like Avalanche jerseys are rarely seen (if you've never seen one, the "A" stands for "Avalanche"). So I'll just mention that Marha (like Petr Tenkrat) is one of those guys who became big back in Europe post-NHL career, and so his jerseys are hard-to-find and valued all out of proportion to his North American career. He's still a star with HC Davos (though there was a rumor he was gonna join the Bruins a year or two back). I don't have any of his European jerseys, so instead -- it's two-for-one day -- here's the only Swiss jersey I have.


Here you go: a Milan Kajkl EV Zug jersey. Zug zug zug. As far as I can tell, Kajkl only played one season ('83-'84) for Ev Zug, so I'm gonna go way out on a limb and guess that's when this jersey is from. The logo sure does look '83-'84, doesn't it? I'm pretty sure that font was lost to the world in the 1986 font implosion. If we have any font experts in the crowd, feel free to tell me the name of that font (we'll call it the "Zug" for now), and maybe also the technical name for the little doohickey on the Avalanche numerals.


One of the odd things about this jersey: the numbers and logos aren't just screened on like most European jerseys, but have a little bit of raised/felt texture to them. I'm sure there's some name for the process, but as you're undoubtedly gathering, I'm not much for technical names. Everything (even the ad at the bottom) is like this. I have one other jersey with that style, a 1980s Polish Olympic jersey (somehow, there's a joke there). That one was made by Tackla; not sure who made this one.


This is the only clue to the manufacturer: a rooster logo on the upper left chest. I'm really resisting making some puerile jokes right now.

Rather than do that, a few words about ol' Kajkl: he had a pretty long (and I presume storied, though English language references are few) career over in Europe, playing in the Plzen system for just about 20 years, before finishing off in Austria and Switzerland. In that time, he managed to play in the 1976 Canada Cup and Olympics, and win a few Czechoslovak titles during a brief sojourn with Dukla Jihlava (the hedgehog team). I don't know what he's doing now, but let's presume it's something really cool.


Each sleeve, in addition to the number, has three EV Zug logos. Just in case the players forgot which team they were on.

Anyway. Go Avalanche! Zug zug! Tapeleg and Meg are in town for a few weeks, raising the Avalanche-fandom presence to at least, uh, three. Tapeleg, of course, created the jersey biography post -- send him e-mails bugging him to do more!

14 comments:

Robb said...

Do the game-worn jerseys carry with them a permanent smell of either the player or the NHL in general, or is it something a simple laundering gets out? Also, does it vary as to how many games a particular jersey was worn for? I would imagine everyone gets a new jersey each week in the NFL, but with the number of games and players in the NHL, that doesn't seem feasible.

gsdgsd13 said...

I've never really detected a smell, but my nose is kinda bad. Generally these days NHL jerseys are worn for a third of the season, so with both home and road, alternates, etc... each jersey is probably getting worn for about 10 games. That leads to kind of a lack of wear. I don't really know anything about NFL game-worns... I've seen a few Buccaneers up for sale, but never been tempted.

Tapeleg said...

All of my gamers have had the smell washed out of them. Mostly, when they come from the team, they smell like cheap laundry detergent.

I swear, I have seen Marha jerseys worn around Le Can for games. And it wasn't you wearing them.

I'll post one soon. I haven't even posted about the playoffs. I'm a crap-ass Avs blogger.

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Anonymous LP said...

Frankfurter -- that's the font, I believe. Do I win something?

gsdgsd13 said...

Holy freakin' crap, an Anonymous LP sighting. I think now we've ALL won.

Your prize, though, will be seeing the entire blog redone in "frankfurter" font, as soon as I figure out how.

Anonymous LP said...

Well, you know, as a member in okay standing of the Cleveland Chapter of the International Council of Nocturnal Typesetters (made up of me and a couple of schleps at the Plain Dealer) it is my sworn duty to promote font awareness whenever the situation warrants or a need arises. I'm not sure but I think I'm required to help the aged cross streets, too.

Anonymous LP said...

p.s. just so you know, Frankfurter is one of the fonts most commonly chosen by our esteemed customers in the children's party entertainment field. So, unless you're planning on changing your name to Bobo or Happy or Twinkles and His Amazing Balloons, you may wish to forego the font in order to avoid any confusion.

Robb said...

I am enjoying the posts of Anonymous LP, and I hope he does not dislike or hit me, because then I would have to change my blogger name.

Anonymous LP said...

He? I'm a girl, dammit! God, who's this Robb guy, anyway? I just hate him!

Anonymous said...

the logo is to a french sportswear manufacturer called LE COQ SPORTIF, that means the sportive rooster

Anonymous said...

I owned this jersey for quite a few years. I got it from Kajkl directly in 1989 in then Czechoslovakia.
BJ

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Kevin Downer said...

I was wondering where my all white jersey came from. It has that's same sportive rooster symbol on it. But the triangle is red lined in yellow. And the rooster is yellow also. It also has the word 'notorious' on the bottom rights of the triangle. Just wondering where the jersey is from.