The Sweater Collection will be an ongoing series where I pull a hockey sweater (jersey) out of my collection. I have, much to my wife’s displeasure, a large collection of different hockey jerseys. Dozens of jerseys, each have a bit of a different story, each a marker in a certain point in hockey’s history. I’m not here to boast about my collection, on a scale of 1 to 5 in the world of jersey collectors, I’m like a 2, so don’t take this as a flex. I plan on doing this more in terms of using the sweater to tell a story about a certain point in hockey’s history. Hockey sweaters are one of the most sacred things in all of sports. The history they carry is one of the main reasons. So anyway, let’s get on with, yea?
1999 Dallas Stars
An All-Star knock-off
Let’s start with the design. This classic was modeled after the 94 All-Star game jersey. That 94 All-Star jersey is easily one of the most memorable All-Star jerseys in the NHL’s history (a story for another day). How many other team jerseys in all of sports were modeled after an All-Star jersey? Better yet, how many are based off an All-Star jersey from an All-Star game which was held in a totally different city, 4 years prior to its creation? Bonus points if you remember which city the 94 All-Star Game was held in…
That’s right, New York City. The Rangers hosted that year in MSG. If anyone was going to knock off the All-Star Game design, I guess it had to be the Dallas Stars, right? Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of my favorite designs. That All-Star Game jersey brings back memories of blowing hours on my old Sega Genesis playing NHL 95.
Ok. Back to Dallas’ jersey. I also really like the number of actual stars you can find on the jersey. Giant sublimated star? Check! The word STARS written out with the A being the top of another large star? Check! Two shoulder patches in the shape of Texas, with a star marking where Dallas is in the state? Check and Check! That’s four stars littered through-out the jersey. Classic! Love it.
The 94 All-Star jersey used a sublimation technique to create the unique star design on the jersey. At the time it was a new design technology, which the NBA first trialed a year earlier. The technique allows for a far more intricate design compared to having to sew actual separate pieces of the fabric together to get different colors. The 94 All-Star jersey kicked off a trend that would sweep across the league and create some truly horribly awesome jerseys – Dallas being one of the more subtle designs. They don’t hold a crazy candle to the likes of the Ducks “Wild Wing” jersey, the Islanders “Fisherman” jersey, or hell even the Bruins “Pooh Bear” atrocity.
What’s in a Number?
The name and number on the sweater. Modano, 9. The number 9 is the single most famous number in the NHL. Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, wore 9. Wayne Gretzky wore 9 to honor his hockey hero, Howe, growing up. When Gretz got to the OHL, the number was already taken so he wore 99 and the rest is history. Even past the two greatest players ever, there have been so many players to wear the legendary number; Lanny MacDonald, Johnny Bucyk, Bobby Hull, Maurice “Rocket” Richard, and Mike Modano. The number 9 is the most retired number in all of hockey with 13 players having banners hanging in the rafters.
Modano is widely considered one of, if not the best, US born players of all time. He holds the record of most Goals (561), Points (1374), Playoff Points (147), and Games Played (1499) by an American born player. Even with guys like Patrick Kane, who came after him, Modano still holds it down as the top US born player. The real tiebreaker is he boasts a great cameo in one of my favorite childhood movies, The Mighty Ducks. I mean, it’s the third greatest cameo of anything hockey related in a movie. It sits just below Cameron wearing a Gordie Howe jersey (number 9 of course) in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and the classic line from Trent in Swingers “I’m gonna make Gretzky’s head bleed for super fan 99 over here”. When you think of the Dallas Stars of the 90s, you think of Modano, no one is even close.
Ok, before I go any further. Buffalo fans. Walk away. Life is tough right now, you don’t need this. Just close this browser tab and go watch highlights of Jack Eichel. You don’t need this pain right now. Great – are they all gone? Yea? Good, we are moving on.
The Skate in The Crease Goal
This jersey is most remembered for the infamous “Skate in the Crease Goal” Brett Hull scored against the Buffalo Sabres in triple overtime in game 6 to clinch the 99 Stanley Cup Finals for Dallas. That goal is up there with “Wide Right” for Buffalo sports fans. Known by many Sabres fans, simply as the “No Goal”. The goal wasn’t even reviewed! It’s almost impossible to remember back to a time when every big play wasn’t reviewed in great tedious detail. This was long before the days of VAR, or off-side challenges, or bang-bang plays at 1st base.
On top of it being a massive ball ache for Buffalo, it’s also one of the most famous goals in Stanley Cup Finals history. It’s up there with Bobby Orr’s flying goal and Patrick Kane’s OT winner against the Flyers. This controversial goal is the first and only cup win for Dallas, whose roster was absolutely chock full of those 90’s guys. Ed Belfour in net, Sergei Zubov and Derian Hatcher on the blue line. Modano, Hull, Mike Keane, and one of my personal favorites – Guy Carbonneau up front. This jersey, in many ways, marks the high point of the franchise. Maybe they should bring them back into the fold…
What I love about many of the jerseys in my closet is that I can look at each and every one of them instantly remember a time, event, or feeling that the sweater signifies. This jersey certainly does that in an instant. It’s why I picked this sweater to be the first I wrote about. I am not a Stars fan by any stretch, but this is a sort of green, black, and gold star-spangled bookmark. A goal, a player, and a number that tell a story, in a sport that has so many of them. Each with their own wrinkle, (pun intended). Stay tuned to see what gem I pull out from my collection next!
- / 1 year ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.