Jersey #5 of 40: Knoxville Ice Bears (Craigen, number 16)
Style: Game Weight replica (?)
Manufacturer: Athletic Knit
Obtained: Yard sale, 2014
I picked up this jersey at a sale last year (along with several others you’ll soon see) and was amazed at how comfortable it fits. If you know Mike Craigen, you’d expect this to be in a size medium or smaller…
I don’t know the specifics on this jersey, because even though it’s not sized using numbers, it has a fight strap and the weight of the jersey is heavy enough to where this could have seen some action on the ice when he was playing for the Ice Bears.
The Ice Bears have changed their jersey layout either very subtly or completely overhauled it year in and year out. Some image searches place this jersey’s design back to 2004-05, possibly even 05-06, when he was playing. However, the jersey in his hockey card (right) that year is showing sponsor logos that my jersey is missing. This leads me to believe this jersey is simply a game-weight replica.
If anyone has more info please contact me or comment below.
Craigen was one of the most high-octane players to ever wear “the Bear”. What he lacked in size, he more than made up in heart and soul and a feisty attitude that would give Theo Fleury a run for his money.
He could chirp any player into losing focus. I can personally recall one time when he goaded an opponent into dropping his gloves, only to turn away and continue the play, and the Ice Bears scored seconds later on a momentarily shorthanded team while the player was still picking up his stick and gloves.
I can recall many a team about to riot on and off the ice because of him. He quickly built up a reputation around the league and other teams’ fans knew him better than they knew their own team’s players. You could pretty much count on him giving everything for 60 minutes each game.
In 2008 he hung up the skates as a player for good, only to return in 2010 as head coach. He will be in his 6th year behind the Ice Bears bench this 2015-16 season, and won his first championship as a coach this past season. He’s the only member of the team to be a part of the bench on all 4 championships, 3 as a player.
While I like the jersey, I would be interested in making a deal for other jerseys. For sale or trade