The Instigator Podcast 5.24 – NHL Jersey Talk with Matt Hills of

In addition to our discussion on Buffalo snapping their losing streak – and offensive impotency – Chris and Tyler spent some time with Matt Hills of Matt is a jersey aficionado who spent some time talking counterfeit jerseys with us along with the noticeable drop in quality of retail NHL jerseys in recent years.

We had some data issues with this week’s podcast so some editing was required to make sure the file was set up right. A few pieces wound up being left on the cutting room floor but hopefully the final product isn’t too choppy.


Put a Stop to Counterfeit Sabres Jerseys

There’s an epidemic sweeping through First Niagara Center and there doesn’t seem to be a cure. Counterfeit jerseys continue to show their ugly face in the arena and there seems to be more this year than ever before.

Bad Jersey1

Perhaps the most unfortunate factor is that there is no precise way to address this growing trend. Most fans who are wearing fake jerseys – let’s call a spade a spade and just call them fake – have purchased them for the drastic cost savings compared to what you pay through NHL Shop or the Sabres Store. I’m sure there are fans who think the jersey they bought is in fact real and they’ve simply been duped, but I’m willing to bet those fans are in the minority.

There are a few things that really rub me the wrong way when it comes to fake jerseys. First and foremost is the fact that they simply don’t look good. At all. The entry image for this post is a really bad fake jersey and most at least look a tiny bit closer to what’s being worn on the ice. However, every other fake jersey still looks terrible and I’ve yet to see a fake NHL jersey that made me think it was close to the real thing. Continue reading

Sabres should take charge with custom player t-shirts

The Sabres store can be very hit or miss when it comes to some of the merchandise they offer. Some of it is simply not to my taste while certain items can’t be to anyone’s taste.

As I was discussing the Thirds Not Turds contest with a few people on Twitter last week, friend of the blog @MattyRenn brought up a very intriguing idea which would provide fans with a customization option that would go beyond the typical jersey purchase.

Matt’s idea calls for each team, specifically the Sabres, to provide a service that allows fans to order custom player t-shirts from various points in team history. As a team with a plethora of previous jersey designs, it would allow fans to get a shirt featuring their favorite Sabre along with their favorite Sabres logo and color scheme.

Imagine having the freedom to choose from any player and Sabres logo in team history for your next Sabres Store purchase.

It’s truly a brilliant idea. The team could charge a premium for the service – I imagine upwards of $35 or $40 per shirt – while giving fans the ability to pick and choose who winds up on their shirsey. It would be particularly effective in seasons like this one when barely any players inspire confidence and so many fans are looking to the future or past for good feelings about their favorite team.

This would be easy enough to carry out. The easiest way would be a basic order form where you select the logo from the era you wish to sport and then provide the player name and number you’d prefer. An interactive web forum could pare down the options to either a custom entry or specific players who wore those particular colors. I like the latter idea for continuity reasons and because it keeps the team’s history nicely in line.

If the team really wanted to get creative, some sort of computer workstation in the store could serve as the custom shirsey headquarters where you can see your order on the screen, not unlike the custom jersey generator on the NHL site.

Either way, this is a terrific idea for bringing in revenue from fans who like to hearken back to the black and red goathead jerseys, or the red butter knives thirds. Perhaps someone wants an Afinogenov slug shirt. Who knows? All of those personalities would be served by this idea. It’s foolproof. Dare I say, even the Sabres couldn’t screw it up. Continue reading