Don’t you fucking love hockey jerseys?
Well, if you do as much as me and have been collecting for a while, I’m sure you have your own taste and know what to look for.
But I remember when I didn’t knew much about jerseys, and I was very surprised when I stumbled upon information on how different Replicas, Premier and Authentic jerseys were and still are today, but also how little information there is out there.
And not to forget how confusing it was for me when I didn’t knew much about the different types of jerseys, and had a whole sea of choices on Ebay.
When getting my first Authentic jersey I noticed A LOT of differences from the previous Replicas/Premier jerseys that I’ve owned throughout my life, with many things bothering me. And when talking to people I’ve noticed that some don’t like the differences, but people in general seem to either see it or they don’t and end up just not caring, so this is simply just a guide to let YOU know the differences and what to look for so that YOU can decide what you want to spend your hard-earned money on.
One last thing I want to mention is that I’m no expert on this subject, it’s just something that I’m passionate about and I want to help my fellow hockey friends finding the right jersey by using my own experience in the field.
Also, I know there are differences in fabrics and such from different jerseys, but I’m not going much into that right now.
Oh, and for you who don’t want to read this wall of text, there’s a short quick-guide if you scroll down a bit 😉
So what types of jerseys are there?
Authentic – The actual stuff the players use on the ice
Indo-Authentic – Supposedly a bit more cheaper version of the Authentic jersey, but made in Indonesia
Replica/Semi Pro – Semi Pro are high-quality replicas that are very common
Premier – Reebok’s cheaper (though more expensive) version of the Semi Pro, also very common
Fakes – Well.. fake jerseys
Now, what kind of jersey should you aim to get?
Well, it all depends on your taste and budget of course, but one of the big reasons I’m doing this is because many people decides to buy Reebok’s Premier jersey and ends up spending a lot of money on what I consider to be very poor quality.
We are going to compare two Florida Panthers jerseys, an older Semi Pro from CCM and the Premier from Reebok.
Other than that the design is different we can see that some of the logos are different as well.
The first thing that caught my attention is the “Palm/Stick/Sun” logo on the shoulders.
The Premier version has a very plastic and cheap design, as if they just printed out a picture from Google and then sewed it on.
I have to give them credit though for the sewing, as it is the only thing that’s sewn or stitched on these Premiers.
The second thing I notice is that the shoulder patch is too big and doesn’t match the one the team actually have on their jerseys.
Reebok’s Premier is in my opinion a very poorly made Replica that cost way more than the quality you get.
They are made to fit a person without equipment, and that can make it look different especially as seen on sleeves and shoulders.
If we turn our heads to the Semi Pro, we can quickly see that the shoulder patch is WAY different and resembles the original on-ice jerseys much more, though it’s not stitched but rather glued on.
This is the style I prefer by far and should be enough to convince you as well.
I don’t know why Reebok decided to cut the cost for such a small but important thing.
The main logo on both the CCM and Reebok looks pretty much the same, but it is not accurate to the on-ice jersey though.
The fabrics are different as well and all I can say is that the Premier jersey feels VERY cheap nowdays compared to when they first came but also in comparison with the older Semi Pro, and what bugs me is that these cheap and ugly jerseys can cost you far more than over 100 dollars each, especially if you want name and numbers on the back. Which is insane!
I picked up this CCM Semi Pro when they used to be around to buy new in stores and it cost me about 70 dollars, but it is of much better quality and you can instantly tell.
Now that we know the differences between the Premier and the Semi Pro, let’s move on and compare the Semi Pro to an actual Authentic On-Ice jersey.
We are going to use the same Semi Pro as before, and compare it to a Reebok Authentic of the same jersey.
One quick note is that this Reebok jersey is the last series before the Reebok Edge style came into the league, that is the same time as the Premier came.
(Premier are replicas of Reebok Edge in case you didn’t know)
So do you see any differences?
I’m sure not seeing many, and the only few things I can give you is that ALL the logos on the Authentic are stitched and also made of another material, making them look a bit different from the Semi Pro and other replicas.
The Authentic also have a fightstrap, but this does not necessarily mean that it is an authentic so be careful with that while looking for your favorite jersey.
The NHL shield/logo is located at the bottom right of the Authentic whilst the Semi Pro and other replicas don’t have those at all, but instead the CCM or Reebok logo on the sleeve as seen in photos below. This is very characteristic for Replicas in general.
Another big difference that you should be looking for is the inner neck and size tag.
On Replicas and Semi Pro the size is specified the traditional way with letters, L, M and S, while the Authentics are sized by numbers such as 46, 48 and 52.
But one should be very careful because the sizing for the old CCM, KOHO or Reebok jerseys is different from the Reebok Edge, where a CCM/KOHO size 48 is equal to that of a size 54 of the Reebok Edge series.
The inner neck tag on Authentic should always say “Authentic On-Ice Game Jersey”, while the Replica/Premier or Semi Pro simply features the CCM or Reebok name.
So let’s finally talk about my favorite: The Authentic jersey
Man, oh man, do I love the Authentic jerseys, it really is once you go Authentic, you never go back 😉
Simply because you have a jersey that is of very HIGH quality and looks so beautiful, just like the ones the players use on the ice.
All the logos and colors matches up.. Ah, so beautiful!
I’m lucky enough to own a couple of game-worn Panthers jerseys and it’s really when I’ve gotten those that I realized how much money I wasted on Replicas or Premiers, so when Florida said they were going to get a new design and logo I decided that I was going to get the Authentic one.
But waiting for the Authentic one has been rough, and they still hasn’t been released for sale!
That is at least for people who doesn’t go to the game, because my good friend Adam who lives in Florida picked one up for me at the BB&T Center and it was well worth the wait!
But when I got this one I noticed that it did not have the usual Canadian flag tag on the inside of the neck but rather that green line that just said “Reebok 54 Made In Indonesia” and that was when I knew it to be an Indo-Authentic.. Yes, for years the rumors told us that these weren’t manufactured anymore, but here’s proof that they are still at large.
Why Reebok? Why conning us like this and make us think we buy the on-ice product while getting something different?
Okay, to be honest I’ve heard lots of shit that these aren’t the exact ones that the players use on the ice, that there are inferior and such.. and older models might be, but I really think that these ones they are making now are the exact same BUT made in Indonesia instead. So they should be a little cheaper for fans to buy.. or just a way for Reebok to manufacture cheaper jerseys and sell them at the same full price as the Canadian ones.
What’s true and what’s a flat out lie, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I can compare them next to my game worns.
Here is my new Florida Panthers Indo jersey next to the jersey Evgeni Dadonov used during the season 2011-2012, and to me they are both exactly the same.
The only minor thing I can think of is that the main logos are different from each other, but one should keep in mind that they are two different logos as well, so for that reason I can’t scream “fake”.
And sometimes it feels like the Indo jersey is a little lighter when I hold it up, but I’ve done blind tests on this with other people and they all have different feelings about which one’s the heaviest and such. They are both so similar in every way so if you’d ask me, I didn’t mind that this new one is an Indo-made jersey.
I’ve heard of other people how different and much worse these are compared to the Canadian ones, so my only guess is that these Indo jerseys are new models that are much closer to the real deal.. It sure feels like the real deal to me.
And speaking of potential fake jerseys, I’ve read an Ebay guide saying that Starter and Pro Player jerseys are fake stuff.
I’m not sure what this person is referring to, but here’s my theory..
There are two kinds, Starter and Pro Player jerseys that are made in Canada, and there are Starter and Pro Players made in Korea, and if you look at the jerseys worn by players during the 90’s you’ll see that they’ve used both brands.
And there are some very nice looking Authentic Pro Players and Starters out there, I’ve never owned one myself but I wouldn’t mind getting one for the right price.
The Korean-made jerseys are the ones I believe this Ebay dude thinks are fake, but I think the deal is that they are Replicas and they are made in Korea because they are supposed to be cheaper than the Authentics.
The patterns of the Korean-made jerseys vs the Premier Reebok are the same basically, the logos aren’t completely accurate and the colors of the jersey could be a little wrong at some points. Not to forget that I’ve seen MANY hockey fans use these during games and when they show off their collections.
So yes, my diagnosis is that the Korean-made Starter and Pro Players are just as real as the Premier, but if someone can prove me wrong I will gladly listen and change my text here.
And since I don’t own one of these, my good friend Flying Fluffy provided me with a couple photos of his beautiful Starter jersey so you guys can have a look at those as well, so thanks buddy!
So for all you who don’t want to read all my ramblings and wall of text, here’s a quick-guide at what you should be looking for and be aware of:
Authentic: These jerseys always have stitched/sewn logos, the Reebok/CCM/KOHO/Whatever logo is always a seperate piece sewn on to the neck.
They also have a fightstrap, the inside of the neck should have a tag that says “Authentic On-Ice Game Jersey”, and sizing should be numbers instead of letters.
Premier: The Premier jerseys are often advertised on Ebay as Authentic, even though they are NOT. They are official licensed products, but they are not the same as the players on the ice wears.
It has cheap sewn-on shoulder patches, glued-on main crest logo and the Reebok logo or text at the end of the left sleeve.
It also has a size tag at the bottom front, and the sizing is in letters and NOT numbers.
Semi Pro: The Semi Pro jerseys is pretty much like the Premier but is MUCH better quality in basically everything.
Semi Pro were made before the Reebok Edge series took over, so this is only for vintage jerseys.
Have glued-on shoulder patches that looks much more authentic than the Premiers, crest logo are glued-on but looks very similar to Premier and it too has either a CCM or KOHO logo on the left sleeve.
Starter/Pro Player Authentic and Replicas: The Replicas are pretty much like the Semi Pro but looks a bit more cheap, they are older and manufactured in Korea so that might be the reason for it. Logos are not sewn-on but they are done in a way that to me looks like it tries to simulate stitching, fooling many buyers on Ebay for example.
The Authentic on the other hand has sewn logos, a Center Ice and Starter/Pro Player tag on the inside of the neck, and the rest of the logos are much like other Authentic jerseys and features a fightstrap as well.
Fakes: These can look however the fuck they want. I’ve seen many on Ebay from particulary China that looks very poor. The logos, the name and the numbers on the back don’t look right, and the whole jersey overall looks really saggy.
They are also much cheaper, but I’ve seen real Semi Pros that go for almost the same or an even lower price. I just recently got a Reebok Authentic on-ice jersey for just 20 bucks more than what most of the fakes out there costs.
Be VERY aware of these and look carefully for all signs that might point for it to be a fake or a real one. I’ve seen some fake jerseys that has stitching all over logos where it shouldn’t even be.
Remember to ALWAYS be careful and take a good look at the logos, and check that they really are sewn on because I’ve seen plenty of people trying to sell off Replicas or fakes as Authentic with sewn on logos.
So there’s my complete guide, I hope you enjoyed and found it helpful.
Whatever type you want to buy is completely up to you, if you are a casual fan and don’t want to spend a lot of money, I’d suggest the Replicas/Semi Pro or Premiers.
But if you are a fan and have money to spend on it, get the Authentics. Without a dout 🙂
If you have any questions you are welcome to contact me and I’ll try to help you as best I can, and if I’ve made any errors or if I would be wrong at parts, please let me know.
Good luck collecting and hunting down your favorite jersey!