Jersey Fouls is our ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition. If you spot what you think may be a foul in your arena, e-mail a photo to us firstname.lastname@example.org inclusion in future installments.
What we're really starting to enjoy about our academic study of Jersey Fouls is the rationalization fans offer for their ... uh, interesting fashion decisions. Like Matthew Crosby, who offered an explanation for his Calgary Flames No. 87 Crosby sweater that ranged from its pre-Sidney Crosby existence to Australian cricket superstitions.
Puck Daddy reader Steve from California offered a justification for the San Jose Sharks jerseys pictured above, and quite frankly it's sort of heartwarming in a father/son/bonding over sports way:
"My Dad and I have personalized jerseys with our last names on the back. He has #20 and I have #06. Together it represents 2006, the first year we started going to hockey games. Is this a foul? Should we not wear these to games? There is a snag--we're Sharks fans and Nabokov, as you know, is #20. No one has said anything...yet. I don't want to take the penalty on this one."
Look, we all know there's a mountain of fail these jerseys have to overcome: Having their own names on the back; having the jersey number of Evgeni Nabokov without his name; doing the whole "year" thing. Hell, there might even be a new Jersey Foul to add here: NHL player confusion, as some oblivious Sharks fan might believe Blake Wheeler is or was a San Jose player at some point.
Then again, we haven't been moved by a showing of paternal sentimentality like this since Schwarzenegger in "Jingle All the Way." Does that outweigh the rest?
From Puck Daddy reader (and Edmonton Oilers fan) "Jfry" comes this image from a Calgary Flames game. He sent along this message from a friend who snapped the image:
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"What the hell is 9 1/2?! I couldn't figure it out and didn't feel like striking up a conversation with him."
It's actually our loss, because climbing into this fan's mind for the true origins would have benefitted not only this blog, but perhaps the rest of humanity. It'd be worth it just to get the story about how the dude went into his local skate shop, asked for the "Crocker 9 1/2" sweater, and was already out the door before the clerk could get out the final syllable of "Are you [expletive]-ing me?" Hence the tape on the jersey, one would imagine.
All of that said: If women have interpreted this jersey number as some sort of gentlemanly boast, and as a result have gone home with the fellow ... well, just don't expect to see anything under No. 6 at your local arena, going forward.
Oh, and for the Rangers fans in the audience: Don't even think about showing up in Newark with a "2 1/2" Devils Stanley Cup jersey. Because we know you're thinkin' about it.
Speaking of the New York Rangers: fail. Unless it's actually pronounced "Lund-queef-ist."