Manufacturer: Rebirth Sports
Obtained: Team sale, 2014
This jersey has an interesting story to it when it comes to how it almost was never received.
Last year I attended a University of Tennessee IceVols game at the Icearium in west Knoxville.The Ice Vols are in the ACHA as a Division III school, and part of the SECHC (South Eastern Collegiate Hockey Conference) along with many other SEC schools.
They were raising funds to get them through the season (they’re not a Division I college team, so their funding is strictly out of pocket) and selling jerseys (to be delivered at a later date) with numbers on the sleeves and back, no name plates. I put my money down for one, as well as for a couple of items (souvenir pin, puck, etc) and prepared to wait for a few weeks before my jersey arrived.
However, during the game, someone broke into the team’s locker room and stole all the money they had raised, about $700 worth of funds…gone!
I wondered if I was going to receive my jersey, because some of that money was mine!
The team captain did reassure me they had a contingency plan in place to ensure I got my jersey, but it might be delayed. However, a GoFundMe was started and the Ice Bears chipped in, and they quickly recouped more than 2x their stolen money. I chipped in additional money as well.
I like the artsy style of the “Vols” logo and the “1966” commemorates the teams founding. The checkerboard shoulders are reminders of the football Vols’ endzones in Neyland Stadium. I chose #88 because it denotes the year I graduated high school. I’ve played hockey video games using the #88 as well.
For a long time I was not a fan of the Big Orange. I was a fan in the 80’s and early 90’s when Johnny Majors was coach. I was not happy to see him get tossed to the curb in 1992 and had a sore spot for football, even when they won the National Championship. I just never liked Phillip Fulmer. Just my opinion, but he didn’t deserve the job, and never did. He won thanks to the hard work of Majors and his staff, and took the credit for many of his assistants, tolerating a group of thugs posing as football players.
However, the only Big Orange program I supported in any capacity during that time was the Ice Vols. I stayed after many Ice Bears games to catch a red-eye game and went to the Icearium several times to see them play. Back in the 90’s (when the ECHL Knoxville Cherokees were the pro team in town) the Ice Vols would play at the Civic Coliseum many a night after the Cherokees wrapped up.
Now that Butch Jones is the football coach, I’ve warmed back up to the Vols and hope the Ice Vols will do well for many years to come. Although their 0-4 start this year is a tad concerning…
In any case, the next time I attend an IceVols game, I’m prepared. Which means this jersey is not for sale.
Tomorrow: Speaking of Cherokees…