The Jersey Junta: judging some terrible sweater mistakes in October

The hockey jersey is an odd thing. When you wear one, you are donning a gigantic corporate logo and declaring it to be a core part of your identity. However, it’s also an expression of who you are as a sports fan. It can show which team you support, which player is your favourite, which design is your favourite, etc. It is the ultimate form of expression guided by corporate guidelines, and we all have one.

In recent years, that customization has taken a whole new level. You can now find websites that, for an added price, will do whatever you want for your jersey. It used to be third party sellers, but now the NHL will do it. 

I’m not one to believe in the religious value attached to hockey jerseys. I don’t care if you spill beer all over them or throw them on the ice or what have you. It’s your $200 dollars. Treat your expensive fabric however you want.

However, there are some base rules we can all agree upon for jerseys. Simply put, do not commit a jersey foul. The jersey foul is one part bad money decisions, one part bad aesthetic sense, and one part disrespect for the jersey. We will be curating some of the worst jersey fouls seen at Calgary Flames games every month this year. Welcome to the Jersey Junta.

All throughout the season, I will be curating these jersey fouls at my twitter account. You may tweet them to me when you see them (either a picture or a good description will do) and I’ll collect the most egregious and place them here in this article at the end of the month. The more egregious, the better. But first, let’s set some guidelines.

Jersey misdemeanors

Here are a list of jersey crimes that are all too common. I may include them depending on the severity of the crime, but it’s 50/50.

  • Family name on the back. This is a common crime that, while being the #1 most obvious Do Not Do This for jerseys, always happens. I do not judge, people occasionally get them as gifts (me) or for other special reasons. Maybe it’s the only jersey they have! If you send me a picture of a kid wearing his name and number on the back, it will probably not be included.
  • Wearing the jersey of a team that’s not playing. Who really cares.
  • Jersey in advanced state of decay. This falls more on the soul owning it than the jersey itself, and it’s wrong to punish the jersey for that.

Jersey crimes

Here is the ultimate list. Pretty much 99% of the time, these will be included. The list of crimes includes what follows, but it is not limited to this. If you find a particular foul not listed, you may tweet it anyways.

  • Covering up/modifying a name. If you bought a Rene Bourque jersey a while back, own that. Do not butcher it with hockey tape or anything else. If you want a new jersey, buy it. Otherwise, jersey foul. Not a major one, but still.
  • Wearing a player’s jersey with a team he didn’t play for. Y’all know better than this.
  • Wearing a player’s jersey with a team he played for, but not from that era. A Lanny McDonald Blasty jersey sounds good in theory. It is a lie.
  • Really, really bad fakes. Look, no one really cares if you buy your jersey from less-than-legal sources. However, don’t make it this obvious. No one is going to believe you have a rare jersey.
  • Custom “funny” jersey. The joke is usually never funny. Do not spend $200+ to make a joke. 
  • Player’s nickname on the back. Kind of blends into the previous rule. This isn’t soccer, or an NBA advertising gimmick. Do not spend $200+ (isn’t it way, way more expensive for a customized jersey?) to put a name most will groan at (penalty doubles if it’s a nickname no one calls that player). 
  • Claiming a number that isn’t yours. Much like how people got upset that T.J. Brodie wore #66 in his first ever game, but to a more valid extent. If you wear #12 without Loob or Iginla underneath, or #9 without McDonald, you are on the list.
  • The Frankenjersey. I’ve never seen these in Calgary, and I hope it stays that way.

Grey area

Here is the one grey area that blurs the line between jersey foul and artifact. If someone has a typo jersey (Guadreau, etc) or a jersey that has some sort of error on it (wrong number, crooked patch, wrong font, etc.) that they organically came into possession of, it is not a jersey foul and should be treated with respect. However, if they intentionally did it, they are the worst.

Jersey fouls: October 2016

(If you happen to be an owner of one of these jerseys, please note that this is all in good fun and we aren’t actually mad at you. If you want your picture removed, just contact me. If you want to justify your decision, please also contact me [email is at the end of the article or just use twitter]).

#99 Oilers Fan man has been spotted before on Puck Daddy’s collection, but his existence is still fascinating. He has to have lost some sort of bet, because there’s very little reason to buy this besides that. It’s not really a good gag on a fanbase to buy their jersey and then proclaim you’re the rival. These rivalries are decided by colours and logos, and it doesn’t help if you’re wearing the colours and logos of your rival.

So the conclusion is that #99 Oilers Fan had to have lost a bet. But the question remains: how important was this bet that he has to wear this jersey often? It’s also before the Alberta and Canada flags were put on, so this bet must’ve been really something.

I know mchernos frequents our comment section, so I have something to ask: what did he do about changing #4 to #17? Did he just leave it as is? Did he get a new felt to cover up the number?

(Also I guess props to this guy for being original and not using tape.)

oiler hater

I’m not sure I see the problem here.

1. There’s a Mark Messier joke somewhere here.

2. Partyboy 69 is acceptable to put on most things, but still: foul.

If you own this jersey, please contact me. Does “Burkie” refer to Brian? If so, that’s terrible. Also, why #13? Finally, why the alternate jersey that sucks?

Johnny Gaudreau related jersey fouls are almost a category unto their own. Unrelated, it goes against every grain in my body, but if you have a #23 jersey with “BORING” on it, I would like you to send me a picture. That would be cool.

This seems to be some sort of odd cross-team Doug Gilmour appreciation deal, though I wonder why not just get a Doug Gilmour jersey?

To wrap up this post, let’s go back to the jersey foul that inspired me to make this.

Please do not do this ever.

  • The Vancouver Canucks’ “Gretzsky 99” is a triple jersey foul. Misspelled Player’s Name, Wearing a player’s jersey with a team he didn’t play for and Wearing a player’s jersey with a team he played for, but not from that era. In short, it’s my favourite jersey foul of all time. Here it is in all it’s glory: https://sp.yimg.com/j/assets/p/sp/editorial_image/f2/f2f0ff174ce23d50fe51be3ed7c9b3a9/jersey_fouls_wayne_gretzky_embarrassments_homemade_sedin_minor_league_yzerman.jpg

    • supra steve

      I have the same, from when I played against the Flame alum a few years back. I’m comfortable with my own name and number on a Flame’s jersey, would not be comfortable wearing another dude’s name/number. I understand a lot of fans like to wear these jerseys, and I have no problem with that, but it’s not for me.

      I also could have got Lanny, Pepper, etc. to sign my jersey (a bunch of guys that I played with did get theirs signed); but again not to my tastes, so my jersey is white as snow.

  • WildfireOne

    I’m sure my avatar breaks one of these hallowed rules.

    And guess what? I don’t care. Freedom of expression is a great thing, and I personally enjoy seeing creative tweaks and takes on regular items.

    I’ve gotten a few strange looks by other Flames fans at Staples Center when I’ve gone to Flames-Kings games wearing my favorite Flames jersey. It’s white, beige, and black, with #5. Most don’t recognize the practice jersey that Gio wore from the Flames’ Winter Classic several years ago.

      • WildfireOne

        Thank you sir, and want to note that while I disagree with Christian on almost everything he wrote in this article, there’s no loss of respect; it’s ultimately just a difference of opinion on… fashion, of all things.

  • Torchy

    I bet “Johnny B” yells stupid advice to the Flames players all game long

    You know the guy – SHOOT every time the puck is within 50 feet of the net, HIT’EM every time an opponent has the puck, etc…

  • The Last Big Bear

    1) I’m totally cool with someone putting their own name on their own jersey.

    2) Also, I’m mostly ok with putting a player’s name on a jersey from a different era, especially if that player is in the jersey-retiring kind of echelon. If something has a Flames logo, and a name and number on it, you should never need an excuse to make the name “McDonald” and the number 9.

    3) I mostly consider the Flames Heritage Classic jersey to be a jersey foul in and of itself.

    • WildfireOne

      I totally agree with you on the… uh, visual nausea… of the Heritage classic game jersey, though I appreciate the homage to the Tigers. Which is why I got the practice version instead. Much more classy looking 🙂

  • Just for those who do have a customized jersey, please don’t take offence. This is all in good fun and if you have one, own it. You have the option and the right to customize your jersey to your heart’s content, and if you want to, do it. It’s your money. But as one commenter correctly said, some people with the freedom to do whatever still make poor decisions. This article is for them. As long as you don’t put “Johnny Bukkake” on your jersey, you should be fine.