Hockey season is rolling around and it’s time again to bring out the jerseys and display them proudly at games, office parties and on the rink. There’s no better feeling than throwing on your team’s colors and wearing your favorite player’s number or wearing a custom jersey with your own name and special number. There’s also nothing worse than throwing on a jersey and staring in horror at the frayed and peeling stitch job… Perhaps the jersey’s been through one too many pickup games, or maybe saving a few bucks on that knock-off jersey or sketchy stitch job wasn’t worth it after all!
The fact is, when talking about jerseys for wearing, displaying or collecting, there is nothing more important or apparent as a marker of quality than the stitch work. It’s what gives its pro look! After all, jerseys are displayed with the name and number facing forward are they not? So if the number kit is what’s being looked at the most, then the stitch job has to be up to par.
So, what’s the difference?
Why go with say a heat-pressed kit, or a cheap stitch job at all, you may ask? Well it is cheaper. That’s really it and you get what you pay for unfortunately… When shopping for jerseys or jersey kits, you’ll notice a great deal of price variation. Why is that? Well on the cheaper end of the spectrum, you’ll most likely be getting quick, heat pressed number kits, unofficial sizing and lettering, poor quality craftsmanship, and work that is most likely done by outsourced manufacturing. You’ll get a name and number on a jersey for sure, but it won’t have the professional look and feel made to NHL specifications. And all it will take is a few seasons of wear and tear or a couple of trips to the cleaners to expose the differences. You also don’t want to have to always be re-ironing or repairing frayed edges (trust me it’s annoying…).
Then what do you get with a professionally stitched kit? For one, you’re not getting any of the above! What you’re getting when you opt to go pro, is NHL grade stitch patterns, numbers stitched directly to the jersey, authentic lettering and font, and in some cases, a guarantee that it is hand-made by local professionals with a passion for their craft. In the end, you’ll have a product that looks, feels and is exactly what the NHL pros are wearing (and will last just as long!).
What about collectors?
If you collect jerseys, or are looking into starting a collection, you already know the importance that quality stitching plays in the value of the collection, not to mention its longevity in storage. Put your mind at ease and get the highest quality stitch to maximize its chances for durability. There are so many things that could go wrong when storing jerseys off-season or for the long term, the last thing you want is to worry about frayed or peeling numbers. In fact, too much humidity could cause fraying of loose stitching, too little and you get peeling numbers and lettering that start to flake off from the heat-pressed kits.
When it comes to some things, you might be better off going for the cheaper option. Most likely, no one can tell the difference and the value proposition just isn’t there. But that’s not true for jerseys. You’ve already invested your money in a professional grade jersey, and you do not want to tarnish it by applying unlicensed, sub-par stitch kits. So when shopping around, consider what you’re getting for your money. Some jerseys may even be totally counterfeit and low quality, and at worst completely unethically sourced.
Here are some important questions to ask before handing over your precious favorite jersey for stitching or ordering online:
Are they offering in-house hand stitching?
Are they NHL licensed? Are they Made in Canada?
By Josh Jung