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Photo Credit: Candice Ward / USA Today Sports

Introducing the Friendship Tour 2016-17 shirt

Hello friends, it’s your community manager with a very important update.

We’ve been hard at work trying to solve the merchandise dilemma impacting the site for some time. When I took a slightly more elevated role with the network in February it was a huge sticking point in what I wanted to see delivered to you, the readers. I care a lot about this community and the culture we’ve established as a site so I started work on this. Without further adieu and delay, I give to you…

The Matthew Tkachuk Friendship Tour 2016-17 shirt

This season has been a revelation for Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames. He stuck past his nine games played mark and then went on tour all season, irritating fans in all 29 other NHL cities. He has made a lot of “friends” along the way and we wanted to immortalize this rookie season, in a tribute to him, because we think he’s a pretty great player with a promising future. This was a labor of love from the beginning and we hope you enjoy it.

Special thanks to Tyler who helped big time with the front of the shirt at the eleventh hour.

The second version is a black shirt, which traditionally falls more in line with concert tour shirts which was the original goal of this project:

Some really basic questions that will be answered here:

  • Mike, what happened to the cool Metallica-style font on the original design? I only wanted that one and you’re a crook!” – Metallica’s lawyers are trigger happy and the last thing I want is to bankrupt everyone.
  • How can you draw attention to that obnoxious, dangerous, dirty kid’s mouth guard that always hangs out of his mouth?” – Quit whining.
  • Why does it say Matthew’s and not Tkachuk’s?” – Legalities involving his last name. We’ve seen a lot of folks in Hockey Twitter do some amazing work lately, but we didn’t want to risk being sued. Also the Nation management didn’t seem keen on giving us a lawyer either. If something changes in this regard we’ll revisit it for sure though.
  • Will this be on hoodies or anything different?” – Maybe! We’re trying to find other options and the partnership with Violent Gentlemen/NationGear may impact that!
  • Is this for profit or similar to your charitable work with other shirts?” – We’re using whatever profits come from this to start making some improvements to the site, community, and giving back. From square one, the entire team here agreed giving back to local animal charities and Kids Up Front Calgary were important. We’ll be announcing donations when they come up to be transparent, but to also hope in raising more awareness for organizations we want to support.
  • If I get Tkachuk to sign this and take a picture of it, will I get anything?” – Yes. Yes, that can be arranged.
  • I have nothing nice to say and I’ll say something rude about the design.” – I hope you get an ingrown hair that is really painful.
  • Mike, you are my favourite writer and the best ever!” – I know, random human on the internet, I know.
  • It’s too expensive and I am poor. Make it cheaper!” – We’ll be giving away some of these soon.

So, you can purchase these shirts – seriously buy 20 of these things – at Teespring, which I’ve created several different purchase options for everyone. There are traditional quality shirts and higher quality shirts for those who really care about that sort of thing. We’re hoping to do more stuff like this soon and again, from the bottom of my heart I hope you enjoy this.

And if you didn’t click the Teespring link itself, here is the link so you can click it: https://teespring.com/stores/flamesnation-teespring