Jersey #40 of 40: Knoxville Ice Bears (Todd Bisson, #13)
Style: Game Worn Size: 58 Manufacturer: OT Athletic Obtained: Brought from a friend, mid-2000’s
Wow! I don’t know what is more amazing, the fact the I have gone through almost all of my jerseys (I actually still have a couple I could post, but maybe later), or the fact that I actually stuck with it and posted 40 jerseys as advertised…I should be more impressed, because usually I’d have given up around Jersey #15 or so…
Last, but certainly not least, is a jersey that I hold special to me. This was the first ever game-worn I bought. I got it from my friend who sold me a few others before. He knew I was on a budget and was looking for one and set me up with this one. I’ve worn it the most often when wearing jerseys to the games (other than my Cherokees jersey).
The jersey is from the first year the Ice Bears franchise were in operation in 2002-03. The numbers have claw marks and the jersey design with the wavy lines on the sleeves and bottom sort of resemble the waves of the ACHL logo. The following season they went with a different design that removed the claw mark numbers and wavy background. Almost every year there is a variation in the jersey design, but this continues to be my favorite simply because of the numbers having claw marks, it was a unique design that set them apart from any other team in almost any other league.
Todd Bisson’s time with the Ice Bears (and the ACHL) was short. However, he did have a good career after pro hockey by becoming a Manager of Hockey Administration with the Central Hockey League (before they folded and several teams absorbed by the ECHL) as well as being a head coach for the Arizona State hockey club. He’s also worked with the Phoenix Coyotes as a youth hockey coordinator.
This jersey is not for sale or trade.
Thanks, everyone who walked this journey with me. It’s been fun to recollect on the teams, players, leagues, and people that I’ve been in touch with through the years and have shared my hockey addiction.
Jersey #39 of 40: St. Louis Blues (Wayne Gretzky, #99)
Style: Replica Size: XXL Manufacturer: Starter Obtained: Store Purchase, 1997
There’s not a hockey fan alive who doesn’t know who Wayne Gretzky is. Even non-hockey people know the name. I have always been a fan of him…even when he was a New York Ranger…
He didn’t even play a full season on his way from the West Coast to the East Coast, stopping in St. Louis for 31 games in 1996, 13 of them in the playoffs. His stay didn’t last long, but he intended to stay a lot longer than what happened.
This style jersey design from St. Louis is actually one of my favorite styles. Maybe it’s because the Knoxville Cherokees adopted a similar jersey design in the last year they were in Knoxville before moving to South Carolina (much to my chagrin).
I never got to see him play in person. The closest I got to seeing him in person was in Nashville during the 2003 Entry Draft when he was affiliated with the Phoenix Coyotes (now Arizona).
I have seen his brothers Keith and Brent play, in the IHL and UHL, but never their more famous brother.
I got this jersey from a sporting goods store in the mall sometime after he left for New York. I think it was on clearance. It’s a replica but it’s pretty heavy. I haven’t had much of an affinity for the white jerseys overall, but I do own a few.
I’ve been offered a lot of money for this one, but I think I’ll keep it for now.
This jersey is not for sale or trade.
Monday: The Grand Finale! Can’t believe I followed through with this!!!
Just a quick reminder that tonight after about 9PM, I should be at the National Weather Service participating in SKYWARN Recognition Day.
It’s an annual event where the local NWS bureaus have ham stations set up to make contacts on HF, VHF, UHF, repeaters, APRS, you-name-it.
This year, I’m taking my DMR radio to work up a few digital contacts if possible. I got permission from the folks at Vol-Net to use their system, so hopefully we’ll be able to make it work.
I’ll attempt to tweet out my frequency as I go along (@k4hsm). Sometimes I’ll be scanning around, other times I may call CQ on a dead frequency. I typically get on repeaters more than HF, but that changes based on band conditions.
So do be looking for me tonight. SKYWARN Recognition Day goes for 24 hours from 7PM-7PM ET (0000-2400Z) so if I’m not around, be listening for WX4MRX all day, because someone should be there!
Jersey #38 of 40: Pittsburgh Penguins (Mario Lemieux, #66)
Style: Game Weight Size: XXL Manufacturer: KOHO Obtained: Brought from a friend, 2011
I doubt I need to do much introduction on who “Super” Mario Lemieux is. He is in the history books as one of the best scorers of all time and there are a few accomplishments that may never be bested.
He’s been faced with his share of challenges in his life and he seems to bounce back bigger and better every time. He had recurring back problems through much of his career which could have rivaled that of Gretzky on some levels had his health permitted. But his biggest challenges weren’t just his back. Diagnosed with cancer in 1993, he missed part of the season, but returned with a vengeance and despite missing much of the season, still won the scoring title! He was an absolute machine on the ice and no one was stopping him. If he had anything to prove (as if bouncing back from cancer wasn’t big enough) he silenced any critic imaginable with his scoring and leadership.
It’s amazing to think what might have been. He missed over 500 games due to health problems, and still is 7th overall in scoring in NHL history.
Plus, it’s not every day when you make so much money you buy the company you work for and become owner/CEO…
The jersey is game weight, fight strap, and should he once again un-retire, he could wear this jersey tonight! It’s one of the best in my collection.
Jersey #37 of 40: New York Rangers (Jaromir Jagr, #68)
Style: Replica Size: XXL Manufacturer: CCM Obtained: Yard Sale, 2014
Time for another full disclosure. I’ve never been a fan of the New York Rangers, but I am a fan of Jaromir Jagr. The guy can score and do it well, when he has the right kind of team to play on. He’s bounced around to so many different teams since he left Pittsburgh, it’s hard to settle in when you have no chemistry or hardly any time to play (right, Boston???).
I got to see a neutral site game in the early 90’s between Boston and Pittsburgh in Atlanta about 1993, and Jagr was the Captain if I recall. Mario Lemieux had just been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and was not in attendance, which was a bummer. It was Ray Bourque’s 1000th NHL game, however. There were a lot of Boston and Pittsburgh fans at the game.
Jagr did play with the Rangers off and on from 2003-2012. This is a 3rd jersey style they used until about 2007. The colors are brilliant and the 3D design of the numbers really stands out. Still, it’s the Rangers…
Style: Replica Size: XL (tight) Manufacturer: Pro Trend Obtained: eBay auction, early 2000’s
The only reason I bought this jersey was because of the “HSM” across the top. That’s the suffix of my ham radio callsign (K4HSM) and I felt I needed to have it for that reason alone.
The team itself, who knows? I have not seen a thing on the internet about this team, and I can only guess that it was a team playing in a rec league, either in the Northern US or Canada.
It appears to be related to a mining company, but I’m not sure which it would be. There are Strip Mines and Slope Mines that are dotted along the Dakotas, Colorado. Alaska, and all over Canada, but nothing turns up regarding what specifically this particular mining company could be.
The jersey’s layout is similar to the NHL New York Rangers, which may give a clue as to the location of the team and their name.
If anyone has any info about this team, I’d love to know.