Sometimes, you just want a jersey because you like the jersey. Sometimes, you just want something neat. And that’s how I felt about the Plymouth Whalers jersey. I liked the jersey, and I liked the fact that it hailed from a time gone by, while still being it’s own separate thing.
Plymouth plays in the OHL, one of the few US teams in the OHL. For those who don’t know, it’s on the outskirts of Detroit (but don’t hate it right away). Junior hockey is rife of turnover, at times more turnover than in college hockey. Players get drafted, sometimes high enough that they will move on quickly from their junior team, and that makes it hard for fans to latch on to a particular player. That doesn’t mean the fans are any less loyal to the team of the players. Here for now is the motto of the juniors.
I had wanted a Whalers jersey from my first game there, but when I was ready to buy, the choice was either a $100 replica, or a $200 ‘authentic.’ I put authentic in quotes, because the authentic version was still air-knit material, which wasn’t what the players were wearing. I like the thicker, less prone to pulls material they had for their on ice jerseys.
As luck would have it, the team was auctioning off their game worn jerseys from a previous season while I was there, and there were deals to be had. Most of the jerseys had the 2008 Memorial Cup patch (a Cup the Whalers did not win), but not this jersey. And the end result was, no one wanted it. With a lower starting bid than a store bought ‘authentic,’ and no one bidding against me, I got the deal of the season.
So who is Beal? I believe this jersey was made for Chad Beal, although he didn’t stick with the team.
What this jersey did do for me was garner an introduction to the coach of the Plymouth Whalers, as well as the second overall pick in the 2010 NHL entry draft, Tyler Seguin.
Don’t worry, kids, that’s soda in his hand. (I look tanked in that picture, but I swear I’m not. Really)