By Collin Insley, Staff Writer
For as long as the NHL Lockout lasts, I’ll be using this space to report on my beer league roller hockey team’s weekly games. Follow me on twitter @SoCalPuck for even more exclusive content.
Christmas came the day before Thanksgiving for The Motley Crew, in the form of ‘new sweater day.’
For the last several seasons, we – well, most of us – have been wearing an all-black jersey with green numbers and the logo from the head of this post heat pressed onto the chest. One of the tenants of beer league hockey is that most teams usually have at least one player wearing a different jersey from the rest of the team – some teams don’t seem to even have a common jersey at all, but rather a vague common color theme, which is what allows for teams with players sporting Black Hawks jerseys and Red Wings jerseys. Some teams don’t even seem to have the common color theme down.
For the last several seasons, I’ve been playing for Motley Crew with a crest-less all-black jersey with white numbers – the differences may seem slight, but there’s something to be said about matching with the rest of one’s teammates. So, about a month ago when Greg announced that he was going to be designing a new crest and ordering a set of new jerseys for everyone, I jumped at the chance.
I’m glad I did, because they’re awesome.
The new crest Greg designed features a jagged-looking skull with a lightning bolt crack at the top of the skull and a four leaf clover tattooed between the eyes. Upside down hockey sticks form an X behind the skull, and the lettering ‘The Motley Crew Hockey Club’ encircle the graphics. The coolest thing is that these new crests are physical patches (produced by Tally Hockey) – to be ironed and sewn onto our new green jerseys – very high quality stuff, and extremely exciting to pull over our heads for the first time.
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This post won’t be as much about our game against Predators so much as it will be about the mystique of hockey jerseys and the powers they hold.
For the record, we won 8-5. We played well offensively and controlled the tempo of the game in that zone, but I thought we were terribly sloppy in the defensive zone. We were lazy about clearing out the front of our own net, and were slow to react to shifts in attack pressure. Andrew played really well, but we definitely hung him out to dry more than a few times. He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to outscore the Predators.
But I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about hockey jerseys. I’ve written about their mystique before, but I think that the topic is one worth exploring again.
Jerseys are special – especially new ones, ones that have yet to be sweat in and are, as a result, full of potential. Anyone who has ever played hockey at any level understands this. I’d go so far as to say that the power of the jersey is almost mythical.
Within every new hockey jersey lies tremendous potential – the goals you’ll score, the passes you’ll make, the solid hit you’ll deliver – it’s all rather wonderful.
A new jersey can give you confidence – from how it fits on your frame, to the relative bad-assery of the crest, to the simple details like number colors, and the confidence that can come from matching the rest of your teammates.
I remember a handful of jerseys more fondly than most. There was the comically oversized sweater for my first club team, The Grizzlies – to this day, easily the nicest quality jersey I’ve ever had (white and forest green on fine mesh, with ‘GRIZZLIES’ slanting diagonally down the front with nice big number patches sewn onto the back).
Then there are my school jerseys – first, my middle school team, the Ensign Seabees (a St. Louis blue with white stripes and a hockey-playing hornet for a crest) and the Newport Harbor High School Sailors (we had home and away jerseys with alternating navy blue and white coloration and an awesome logo featuring ‘NH’ on a hockey puck entwined with rope and two hockey sticks crossing behind).
I still have most of the jerseys I’ve ever worn, and I can’t imagine getting rid of any of them – each and every one of them can tell a story. Indeed, more than anything, the potential inherent to a new hockey jersey lies in the memories they’ll capture, for you to reflect on whenever you next pull that sweater over your head – old teammates, specific goals, particular moments in random games.
Take a look at any of your old jerseys and see what kind of stories it’ll tell you about yourself.
Yes, every jersey tells a story, and I can’t wait to experience some of the stories that the new Motley Crew jersey will remember for me.