by Mike Chen on 09/26/08 at 03:56 PM ET
Updated 9/28/08 with info on Sharks jerseys
Yesterday, I asked readers to leave comments about where they got letter/number customizations for their replica jerseys. The driving force behind this is the fact that many of us have gotten burned by buying customized replicas from NHL.com, as those jerseys have iron-on letters and numbers.
Fear not, fellow hockey fan. There are alternatives out there, though it might take a little patience. Here’s a compilation of what we found out yesterday:
1) If you want a customized jersey and can only afford a replica (RBK Premier), do not buy it from NHL.com. Authentic (RBK Edge) jerseys are customized with the actual stitched lettering/numbering but all replica customizations purchased from NHL.com are heat transferred. Here’s the fine print from NHL.com: “Screen-printed twill appliqué player name and number on the back”
2) The general consensus is that if you already have a jersey and you live in an NHL city, the easiest thing to do is to go to the team’s pro shop and ask how they do the stitching. For the Sharks, they used to have a program where you drop the jersey off at the start of the game and it was ready to be picked up by the end of the second period. However, that was back before the RBK jerseys and I’m not sure if they still do that now. These are generally trustworthy as they are team-affiliated so they won’t mess up font or placement.
Also, if you’re buying a popular player, see if the team’s pro shop sells replicas with actual stitching. It sounds like some teams might have this, but as far as I can tell in San Jose, those jerseys are straight out of the NHL.com truck and they have the crappy iron on.
3) Sportsk.com and Jerseycity.ca also do customizations and readers can vouch for these places. JerseyCity.ca’s customization is $90 and it takes about four weeks as it’s shipped to an outside source that claims to do official NHL/IIHF lettering. Sportsk has a page on their site that states they only stitch customizations (and their prices are cheaper than Jerseycity, though I have no personal experience with the quality).
4) IceJerseys.com (note: they’re a KK sponsor but this isn’t a shameless plug) claims that they ONLY do stitching, not iron-on, and they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee (“Customized jerseys qualify for return or exchange in the event of manufacturing defect or customization error.”—I think that means that if it looks crappy, you can return it but if you typed in a player’s name wrong, they won’t accept it). I bought an old Evgeni Nabokov replica from them several years ago and I remember it looked great but that was before the RBK jerseys, so I have no personal recent experience with them.
5) Local choices: In Winnipeg, the River City Sports shop apparently does a great job (I don’t know about their popular online catalog though). Cutting Edge in Boston does just the numbering/lettering and doesn’t sell jerseys. The Hurricanes and Flyers stores do a good job, though Hurricanes fans wanting a third jersey have to wait until they can do stitched customization (currently only available on the standard jerseys)
I hope that helps! It’s just too bad that NHL.com tried to cut corners by doing the awful iron-on with the debut of the RBK jerseys.
Update 9/28/08 I just stumbled across the Sharks’ independent online store (not linked on NHL.com). At this store, you can select the option of stitched numbers ($80, 3-4 week wait) or heat-transferred ($65, one week wait).
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