Capitals Player Jerseys – Not Your Ordinary Work Clothes

A player’s jersey is probably one of the most noticeable items that they wear, but what happens to those jerseys during the time that they are being worn is generally not well known. Most players wear three sets of their home and road jerseys and two sets of the alternate jersey over the course of a season with a few extra jerseys worn for only one game for special occasions (milestone games, Jerseys off Our Backs, one game jersey auctions and agreements with hockey card companies, which cut them up and insert them into cards).

Unless you’re paying close attention, you probably wouldn’t notice what happens to the jerseys and what the team equipment managers do to fix them.  Depending on the player and the amount of games the jersey is worn, there can be a lot of what jersey collectors refer to as “wear.” Usually, tears and holes are sewn up by the equipment staff (called “team repairs”) and they can often be extensive.

Stick and puck marks, as well as “board burns” which are scuffs marks from the player being checked along the boards and “paint transfer” from the boards or goal posts can also be evident on many jerseys. 

Surprisingly, even for jerseys worn by the same player, you can have jerseys that have lots of wear and other jerseys with almost no wear. I have several Nicklas Backstrom game worn jerseys, most with a decent amount of wear, but one which only has two small holes and a couple of minor stick or puck marks even though it was worn for six games.  The jersey almost looks like it was never worn or maybe worn by a fan to a handful of games (without the nachos cheese sauce and beer spilled on it). 

It has been my experience (for what would seem to be obvious reasons) that the wear on the white road jerseys is a lot easier to see and the jerseys worn during the playoffs (assuming at least two rounds were played) have some of the best wear.

Some players also have their jerseys customized by the equipment staff, including tightening the sleeves (Ovechkin, Carlson, Orlov), having a lot of the material in the collar cut out (Oshie), and having a shoelace sewn into the front collar of the jersey to act as an additional fight strap (Wilson).

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