Just in time for the holidays, here is a "how to" guide, to help you spot a fake Wild sweater.
I have been a hockey jersey purchaser/trader for many years now, and I want to share some information so that you can make an informed decision about purchasing hockey jerseys, specifically, for this area, Minnesota Wild jerseys.
The estimation, which is floating around, is that 85% of all hockey jerseys sold on craigslist/ebay are knockoffs. These counterfeit jerseys are produced in China, and purchased by "distributors" here in Minnesota. Before you get all excited about that amazing jersey for "only $80.00" per se, ask yourself, "is this too good to be true?" More than likely, it is. "But it has a fight strap, it must be genuine!" I ask you, " is elastic white material hard to come by these days?" "But it has a tag, and an NHL logo, and even has the rbk stitched on tag inside the jersey" you say? I counter with, "if an entire jersey can be made, how hard is it to sew a bunch of collar tags, and to print on cardstock a ‘tag’ for the sleeve?" I’m not trying to be mean, just trying to save you from buying something which isn’t real. This is intended to help. Please read carefully after the jump.
Let me focus on the red jerseys of the Wild…here is what to look for.
1- The Front Shield: The front circular shield of official wild jerseys feels like fabric, almost like felt. It is not a sleek, shiny material, as most of the counterfeit jerseys have. This is a good first indicator. Compare the sheen of Photo 1 and Photo 2. Also, if there is brown paper on the inside of the jersey, behind the shield, where you can see it was sewn-in, also a sign of not genuine.
2- Piping along the shoulder line/collar: Look at the wheat/cream colored piping along the shoulder line. As you can tell in photo 1, the piping is quite narrow, basically the width of the front string ties, perhaps a touch larger. Now look at the counterfeit jersey, which is photo 3. Look how large the piping is. That is not right, making this an incorrect jersey. Also, the fabric on the collar should be like corduroy in the way there are peaks and valleys. My best illustration of this is going to http://www.wild.com Look at Havlat and Backstrom on the right and left side of the website. See how the fabric is raised in some places, and lower in others? That is correct. If the jersey you are looking at doesn’t have that, it is not a genuine jersey.
3- NHL logo, and strings: This one is really easy. The real NHL jerseys (both replica level and authentic level) have a raised patch sewn on the neckline of every reebok jersey they sell. This is a very clean, very accurate representation of the NHL shield logo. If this shield doesn’t have very precise points on the top, and if the NHL letters are not incredibly clear, it isn’t genuine. Also, in the same location, the true wild jerseys have round, almost cord-like cream strings which pass through metallic grommets. See how in Photo 1 the cream colored string goes through an almost brass like grommet? That is correct. Most of the counterfeit jerseys I have seen are using flat cream laces, through a cream colored, metal-like grommet. Flat lace + cream grommet = counterfeit.
4- Names and Numbers: Ahhh, my favorite part. Most people are buying counterfeit jerseys because customized jerseys are expensive. Friends…the NHL, nor, REEBOK ship pre-customized jerseys. Sure, they have some players (Ovechkin, Crosby, Zetterberg) that they sell more of than others, so they probably have a few laying around for nhl.com orders, but do you really think there is a huge demand for Antti Miettinen jerseys world-wide? Nothing against #20 here, but come on! First thing to look at is the fabric of the letters/numbers. Tackle twill, what is used for real customization, is a fabric designed to withstand grabbing, pulling, etc. It has an almost gritty texture, and has a very, very dull sheen, if any. Tackle Twill also lays flat to the next layer, so there is no "squishiness" when you push the numbers or letters. On every one of the counterfeit jerseys I have seen in person, they all have a very shiny, almost slippery, fabric being used. (Look at photo 4) This fabric is also quite squishy, and you can feel air between the fabric layers. And the most tell tale sign of counterfeit with the names/numbers are incorrect fonts and cutting. Look at Photo 4 again, see how the "V" in Koivu is un-recognizable as a "V" if you didn’t know his name was koivu? I think you get the point.
Friends, I just don’t want you to get screwed. Nothing worse than thinking that you got something real, and it isn’t. And heck, some of you may not care that they aren’t "up to specs," but I want to share what I know so you can make an informed decision.
Hope this helped!