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Sunday, April 5, 2020

CCM NHL Heritage Collection of jerseys – Part 1 of 2

Greetings - 

I am going to write what I think I know about what I call the “CCM NHL Heritage Collection of jerseys”. Please think of this blog posting as a work in progress, and I will update it if/when readers share facts with me that I can more or less verify. So please share info if you have something to share!

I previously wrote a 2010 posting that touched on the subject of the CCM NHL Heritage Collection of jerseys/sweaters, but I have since gathered some more facts and wanted to share what I have learned.

A quick word on sweaters vs jerseys: I’m a bit of a fossil mired in the past and for years I used the word sweater when referring to the outerwear that hockey players wore on their torso. But at some point in time it occurred to me that I was just being a bit of a stick-in-the-mud, and I swung over to calling them jerseys. For this blog posting I was tempted to revert back to using the word “sweater” because in many ways this line of apparel is more sweater than jersey, but I don’t want to be obstinate so I’m going to stick with “jersey”.

In 1990, and perhaps a year or two earlier, the folks in the NHL licensing department made the terrific decision to honour their past by creating a line of reproduction vintage jerseys. I assumed that the collection began under the "Heritage Collection" label. It turns out that wasn’t the initial plan.

In 1990-91, one season prior to the NHL”s 75th anniversary season, the NHL announced the “NHL Legacy Collection” (see LEGACY ad below) with the tagline “NHL’s Past is in your Future”. This one page “ad” comes from the 1990-91 “Official NHL Merchandise Catalog” and was really the NHL’s way of telling their licensees and their retailers what was coming soon. My guess is this “ad” and the Legacy Collection was planned in 1990 because this catalog would have been published in the fall of 1990. What’s interesting is at this stage the NHL doesn’t say what products are going to be included in this collection – Jerseys? Ballcaps? T-shirts? Sweatshirts? Hardgoods items like coffee mugs?




During the NHL's 75th anniversary season, on occasion some of the Original Six teams actually wore throwback jerseys and as the NHL and you might have guessed, fans loved them. They couldn't buy them, but they loved them.

In 1992, CCM published a brochure called “CCM NHL Heritage Collection” - see below. In my own handwriting you can see I wrote “1993-ish” on page 1, but when I look at the back page, I see that it says 7/92 in the lower right corner, meaning this brochure must have been printed in 1992. This makes sense to me – CCM would have wanted this in the hands of their sales people in the summer of 1992 to get retailers to place orders for the 1992-93 season. So we know with a high degree of certainty that by the summer of 1992, prior to any merchandise being sold to the public, the NHL had changed the name of this collection from the Legacy Collection to the Heritage Collection.







What is especially interesting is that this July 1992 CCM catalogue lists 15 jerseys as being part of the initial launch of the Heritage Collection line.

A. Two of the 15 jerseys shown in the July 1992 catalogue are mislabelled vis a vis the year being depicted – I show the errors and corrections below - ignore my handwritten notes from 20 years ago on the brochure

B. One of the 15 jerseys shown in the July 1992 catalogue was not launched in the fall of 1992 – which means the collection really launched with 14 jerseys. Immediately below have used CCM’s A, B, C lettering so you can follow the brochure if you'd like. Please ignore my handwriting on the brochure which I wrote many years ago – what I hand wrote was not completely accurate – this is more accurate I believe:

A. Toronto Maple Leafs Circa 1950 (the brochure says 1930 but shows an image of 1950)
B. Chicago Blackhawks Circa 1940
C. Boston Bruins Circa 1930
D. New York Rangers Circa 1933 (the brochure says 1926 but shows an image of 1933)
E. Montreal Canadiens Circa 1960
F. St. Louis Eagles Circa 1935
G. NHL All Star Circa 1949
H. Toronto St. Pats Circa 1923
I. Philadelphia Quakers Circa 1931
J. New York Americans Circa 1926
K. Montreal Maroons Circa 1930
L. Boston Bruins Circa 1928
M. Detroit Cougars 1930 (the brochure calls it Detroit Red Wings 1930 but they later amend that to Detroit Cougars 1930)
N. New York Americans Circa 1938
O. Montreal Canadiens Circa 1934 (this was NOT launched in 1992-93)

Factoring out the one jersey that was not initially launched in the fall of 1992 (Montreal Canadiens 1934), I believe the CCM Heritage Collection began in the fall of 1992 with 14 jerseys as follows (in alpha order):

1. Boston Bruins Circa 1928
2. Boston Bruins Circa 1930
3. Chicago Blackhawks Circa 1940
4. Detroit Cougars 1930
5. Montreal Canadiens Circa 1960
6. Montreal Maroons Circa 1930
7. New York Americans Circa 1926
8. New York Americans Circa 1938
9. New York Rangers Circa
10. NHL All Star Circa 1949
11. Philadelphia Quakers Circa 1931
12. St. Louis Eagles Circa 1935
13. Toronto Maple Leafs Circa 1950
14. Toronto St. Pats Circa 1923

The one that did NOT launch in the fall of 1992 was:
1. Montreal Canadiens Circa 1934
I don’t think this jersey was ever made – this makes sense to me because there wasn’t very much difference between the 1960 Montreal Canadiens jersey and the 1934, so CCM likely would have sold half the number of each and thus they likely decided to just go with one. In the case of the Leafs and St. Pats, it is a different situation since the jerseys were so different. The one that I can’t really understand is why they went for two New York Americans – yes they were different designs, but there aren’t many New York American fans to begin with, let alone enough for two Americans jerseys.

The impetus for creating the NHL and CCM launching the Heritage Collection of jerseys in the fall of 1992 was almost certainly the NHL's 75th anniversary season of 1991-92 when each of the NHL's Original Six teams actually wore a throwback jersey on some occasions. This was the NHL's first foray into a 3rd jersey program, but we'll save the topic of third jerseys for another day. I am almost certain none of the other 8 jerseys in this initial 14 jersey collection were actually worn by NHL teams, they were simply made for consumption by the general public beginning in the fall of 1992.

In the grand scheme of things, I applaud the folks from CCM and NHL Licensing at the time because this was pretty leading edge stuff - even as recently as 1992 the leagues (NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA) didn't really honour their past with heritage products, so this was a terrific first effort.

At the same time that CCM was launching their 1992 sales catalogue, the NHL was issuing their own 1992-93 NHL season catalogue under the “Heritage collection” (small C!) banner. See the brochure below, which again I mislabelled in my own handwriting as being 1993 - it is almost certainly fall 1992.






It is interesting to note that by this time (fall 1992), the NHL had signed up seven companies that the NHL authorized to make products under the NHL Heritage Collection brand:

American Needle and Novelty
CCM/Sport Maska
Mirage Elliot & Kastle
Woody Sports

In the spring of 1993, the NHL published the “Official Licensee and Product Update 1993 Spring/Fall”, basically an updated version of the 1990-91 Merchandise Catalog. I’m not sure why they would have published it in the spring of 1993 since natural sales cycles would suggest that it be published in the fall, but so be it. By the spring of 1993, products bearing the NHL Heritage Collection brand were available for purchase in stores and NHL fans were buying the products. And by this time, the NHL had signed up ten companies who were authorized to make products under the NHL Heritage Collection brand:

American Needle and Novelty
CCM/Sport Maska
CS Crable Sportswear (new)
Great American Products (new)
Michael Anthony Jewelers (new)
Mirage Elliot & Kastle
Peter David Inc. (new)
-------------------------------
Woody Sports - dropped



But let’s stick with CCM and their jerseys.

In 1992-93, CCM was known as Maska US Inc. in the USA and Sport Maska Inc. in Canada – and the NHL called them CCM/Sport Maska. If you follow hockey and/or CCM and/or NHL licensing, you are likely aware that CCM has had a whole whack of different corporate parent names over the last 30 years. The one more or less constant has been the CCM part of the company/brand name, so when I say this is my little history of the “CCM NHL Heritage Collection of jerseys”, I’m trying to focus on jerseys made by CCM. I will touch on some other non-CCM manufacturers, but my real focus is on the CCM product line.

I believe the jerseys in this collection (ie those made in the 1990’s by CCM) can best be differentiated from later Vintage or Heritage Collection lines by the following:

A. These jerseys seem to have the Heritage tag pictured below both in the back inside collar and lower left front panel/hem of the jersey. Don't get confused by jerseys produced beginning in 2002-ish when the NHL initiated the "V" Vintage program for all NHL throwback products and ceased the Heritage Collection logo - if it's got a "V" logo tag, that's from 2002 onward, not pre-2002.

Heritage Collection lower left front / hem label


Heritage Collection lower left front / hem label (same as above)



Heritage Collection inside collar label - early version



Heritage Collection inside collar label - alternate version


If your jersey has this V for Vintage label either on the hem or inside collar or both, it’s not part of the CCM NHL Heritage Collection of jerseys - the V for Vintage line began in 2002 so anything with a V for Vintage is from 2002 or later:





  
B. My rough take is that in the later years of the CCM NHL Heritage Collection of jerseys (1995 and beyond?), CCM stopped placing the Heritage tag on the lower hem and instead only used it in the collar. I have to guess this was a financial decision and someone at CCM at some point in time thought two tags were an unnecessary expense. Or it’s possible that CCM or the NHL felt that a tag on the hem took away from the look and feel of the jersey so they did away with it. The fact that the later 1990’s Heritage Collection jerseys don’t have a Heritage hem tag doesn’t eliminate them from the collection, but it does somewhat mark the beginning of the end of the line.

C. The early CCM NHL Heritage Collection of jerseys (1992-93 and perhaps a bit beyond) seems to have "Circa 19xx" embroidered in large letters in the lower left front panel/hem. If your jersey does not have Circa 19xx embroidered in big letters in the lower left front of the jersey, I think I can say with a fair degree of confidence that it is not part of the 1992-93 set of jerseys.

So now let’s look at images of the first 14 jerseys released under the CCM Heritage Collection of Jerseys – comparing the brochure photo with actual jerseys people purchased at the time:

[Make a note which of these jerseys was worn in 1991-92 season)

1. Boston Bruins Circa 1928

2. Boston Bruins Circa 1930 (something like this was worn in the NHL's 1991-92 season)

3. Chicago Blackhawks Circa 1940 (something like this was worn in the NHL's 1991-92 season)

4. Detroit Cougars 1930 (something like this was worn in the NHL's 1991-92 season)

5. Montreal Canadiens Circa 1960 (the Habs wore a red version in the 1991-92 season)
6. Montreal Maroons Circa 1930

7. New York Americans Circa 1926

8. New York Americans Circa 1938

9. New York Rangers Circa 1933 (something like this was worn in the NHL's 1991-92 season)

10. NHL All Star Circa 1949

11. Philadelphia Quakers Circa 1931

12. St. Louis Eagles Circa 1935

13. Toronto Maple Leafs Circa 1950 (the Leafs wore a blue version in the 1991-92 season)

14. Toronto St. Pats Circa 1923

And the one that wasn't made or released was the 1934 Montreal Canadiens:


Thanks for sticking with me through all this my friend! We have now documented the first fourteen jerseys in the collection. In Part 2 of this blog posting, we will look at all the other jerseys (that I know of) in the CCM Heritage Collection of jerseys.


Stay well -
Scott

3 comments:

  1. These sweaters should be produced again, as there are many of us who would like to continue to add to our collections.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My Blackhawks one was stolen the night the Hawks won the cup in 2015 ... if anyone knows where to get these please email me ... David.adam.herman@outllok.com ... I’d also love to find a Montreal Maroons sweater

    ReplyDelete
  3. Or the Vancouver Millionaires

    ReplyDelete