Like many of you, I love my hockey jerseys and the more authentic the jersey, the better! So, when I got my Team Canada Olympic Jersey I was excited to get it customized.
Having purchased several jerseys that had already been customized, as well as being duped into buying a fake NHL jersey, I have become increasingly attentive to detail and the importance of quality and authenticity.
Being fairly active on Twitter and Facebook, many NHL Digest readers were able to chime in with some things to watch out for as well. Several readers had mentioned that the NHL Shop was now pressing numbers and letters on instead of using stitched tackle twill. While it seemed odd that the official NHL store would lack authentic customization, I decided to dig into it a little more.
What I found out from reading several hockey message boards is that what people were telling me on twitter appeared to be true. But, according to the NHL Shop, there are different levels of customization depending on what jersey is purchased. If you don’t feel like clicking the above link, it basically indicates if you don’t purchase the most expensive jersey, you get screen printed numbers when you order customization.
After speaking with a couple of jersey retailers , I also learned that there are about half a dozen NHLPA certified outlets to get NHL jerseys authentically customized. If you have a jersey already, or are wanting to buy a new one and get it customized, this what you should be looking for.
What Exactly Should We Be Looking For?
- Authentic hand-sewn customization with official ‘Z-stitch” – no screen printing or glue.
- Official pro twill materials used on actual the NHL jerseys.
- Officially licensed, authentic NHL fonts for all numbers and lettering.
- NHLPA licensed customization. Required for all truly authentic jerseys that bear names of NHL players.
- Precision cutting & accuracy to ensure all names and numbers are specifically cut and placed in the correct location on the jersey.
- Authentic customization as worn on-ice by the player, which is especially important with third and vintage jerseys that do not feature the numbering or font of the current jersey.
After discussing my request with the folks at Cool Hockey.com , a division of Silver Crystal Sports, I decided to send my jersey to their Toronto factory for customization. And, I also asked them if they would be so kind as to take some video of the customization process so that I could share it with you on NHL Digest.
I sincerely hope that this makes you feel more confident and comfortable with the jersey customization process. I know that authentic NHL jerseys are expensive and the last thing any hockey fan wants is to have their jersey ruined with poor customization.
If you have any jersey tips, bad experiences with customization, or being duped with fake NHL jerseys please tell your story in the comments. Hopefully, we can all help each other to avoid getting ripped off!
If you’re in the market for a new jersey or jersey customization and you found this article useful, please consider using the NHL Digest Store powered by Cool Hockey.com. Thanks in advance.
Ever since Reebok started supporting the NHL, the style of hockey hats has become increasingly better. As far as apparel goes, NHL hats and t-shirts are the most popular affordable items for hockey fans. Even though hats are not as easily customized as t-shirts are, they are often more consistent with respect to sizing. Although fitted hats are more popular, buying an adjustable hat solves all size related problems.
Other than Reebok, several other hat manufacturers, such as New Era and their 59Fifty line, Zephyr Graphics and 47 Brand have licensed NHL hats in production. Most local sporting goods stores carry some of the Reebok hats, but they often don’t have the largest selection. Stores specializing in sports apparel tend to have a larger selection and, of course, there are online outlets like lids.com and shop.NHL.com that have great selection as well. Some of the most popular hats are featured below.
Most Popular NHL Hats
The following is a list of the most popular NHL team hats by search volume:
1.) Boston Bruins
Boston Bruins Official Flex Fit Slouch Hat
2.) Pittsburgh Penguins
Reebok Pittsburgh Penguins Stretch Fit Hat
3.) Buffalo Sabres
Reebok Buffalo Sabres Official Stretch Fit Hat
Although I was somewhat surprised at the popularity of the Sabres hats, I was not surprised at the other two teams. Especially given the fact that the Bruins and Flyers had a special winter classic knit hats this year.
In addition, just like the vintage jerseys, there has been an increase in the popularity of vintage NHL hats. Not only has there been an increase in retro hats for the existing NHL teams, but some non-existent teams from the past, like the Hartford Whalers, are still popular with hat wearing NHL fans.
As an NHL fan, do you wear a hat to top off your t-shirt or jersey when you attend games, or is a hat something you wear when you can’t wear your jersey? Or, both?
As embarrassing as it is, over the past while several friends (and myself), have been duped into buying knock-off RBK Edge NHL jerseys.
Sometimes these jerseys can be easy to spot, but there are several companies that are making very good quality knock-off jerseys (typically manufactured in China or Korea).
After being bamboozled myself, I thought I’d go to some professionals for some tips and then write about it so you don’t make the same mistake that I did.
I asked my friends on twitter (@icejerseys) from Ice jerseys.com to help out in identifying some key things to look for when buying jerseys. Hopefully, this will ensure that you don’t get caught with a knock-off like I did!
(P.S – They’ve also offered NHL Digest readers a discount: $10 off orders over $100 at Ice Jerseys.com! )
5 Things To Look For First:
- Does the web site look professional?When it comes to online shopping, your first impressions are important. If the site doesn’t look professionally designed, has poorly written content, or has a checkout process that is less than simple…be cautious.
- Does the site offer multiple methods to contact the company?A reputable website will always provide a full physical address on its contact page, as well as Telephone (toll-free is even better), and often live chat. In addition, they also may offer product reviews and site performance ratings to provide feedback from past satisfied customers. If all the site provides is a simple contact form or an email address, then it is likely that they don’t want you to find them too easily – for a reason!
- What types of shipping methods are used? If they don’t use one of the major North American courier companies such as UPS, FedEx, Purolator or US or Canada Post, then it is likely that your package is coming from very far away – if it comes at all.
- Where is the company based? If you do find a physical address (or other evidence) that the company is based offshore (especially Asia), then it is pretty much a sure bet that the jersey you are getting is a knock-off. All Reebok Authentic jerseys are manufactured in Canada, so there is no reason that a company in China would be selling Canadian-made authentic jerseys!
- Is the price too good to be true?If the listed price is significantly below the typical retail price, that should be an obvious warning flag. An Authentic Edge Jersey with real pro customization like will usually go for $350-$400USD, so if you see a seller advertising the same product for anywhere from $75 to $200USD, you can be sure you aren’t getting the real McCoy!
Inspecting The Jersey for Authenticity
The following are some key things about the jersey’s construction to look for. As mentioned, it’s been some time since the introduction of the RBK Edge jersey, and many fakes are now very close to being identical to the authentic so be very thorough in your investigation!
- The very first thing to note is the coloring of the jersey. Many knock-offs are good with the main colors of Black and White. However, you may be able to notice marked differences in Blues and Reds upon comparison to authentic jerseys.
- Check the logos and numbers for the correct detail. Again, the knock-offs are getting better at the detailing, but some NHL team logos have detail that can be hard to duplicate. Pay particular attention to the sizing and spacing of the letters and numbers on the jerseys. The letter and spacing are likely to be larger or smaller than the authentic version.
- Patches and stitching are also very important to compare. Compare the location of the stitching around the armpits and back of the neck to make sure the construction is authentic. In addition, the NHL and RBK trademarks on authentic jerseys are actually patches and not embroidery. This is one good comparison to make when shopping for a jersey on E-bay. You can see this clearly from the image posted below:
If you want to see more great photographic examples of Counterfeit vs. Real RBK Edge jerseys and more things to look for, please read the Ice Jerseys forum thread below.
This forum thread is packed with great examples of what to look for on even the most authentic looking counterfeits!
Discount From Ice Jerseys
Once again, I’d like to thank the folks at Ice Jerseys for helping us make sure that we don’t get ripped off (again) on our jersey purchases this holiday season. And, if you’re still shopping for a jersey (hat or T-shirt etc.) please consider Ice Jerseys.com and their generous discount for NHL Digest readers!