A jersey collection 20 years in the making

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All 29 jerseys in my collection. – Patrick Donnelly

For whatever reason, I love collecting jerseys. No matter the sport, the team, or the player, I’ve always been drawn to the uniqueness and creativity of certain color schemes, logos, and overall uniforms. Maybe I have a problem, but over my not-even 20 years on this earth, I’ve built up quite the collection, in my opinion.

Actually, I’ve often been told I take after my late uncle in many ways, especially in my affinity for collecting sports memorabilia, which is exemplified strongest through the variety below.

Recently, myself and fellow WTBU Sports members past and present showcased portions of our collections in a three part series, the Jerseys of WTBU Sports. You can find Part One, Part Two, and Part Three by clicking each link.

I suppose it’s because I’ve got nothing better to do these days while staying at home and social distancing, but I decided to take a deep dive into my assortment – all 29 in total. Here’s what I’ve got:

Boston Bruins Jerseys:

Patrice Bergeron (2007-17 Home)

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Patrice Bergeron is, and will always be, my favorite player of all time. He is arguably the best all-around player in the league. When I played organized hockey, I did everything I could to emulate Saint Patrice. So when I got this jersey for Christmas when I was younger, I wouldn’t quit wearing it.

It also seriously bugs me that unless you buy any assistant captain’s jersey directly from the pro shop, it won’t don an ‘A’ on the sweater – you may notice that absence with each of my Bergeron’s –  which is just ridiculous.

Patrice Bergeron (2016 Winter Classic)

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The summer after my freshman year of high school, I made it my mission to save enough money to go to the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium. Sadly, 14-year-old Me didn’t realize how expensive the tickets actually were, so mowing lawns for a few bucks wasn’t going to cut it. Thankfully, it’s not like I missed anything at that God awful game. However, that Christmas I got this jersey – Bergeron, of course. I’ve got to say, I was a little lukewarm on the design at first, but over time it’s grown on me a lot.

Patrice Bergeron (2019 Winter Classic)

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Another Christmas present, this jersey is one of my favorites. The Bruins’ 2019 Winter Classic kits were simply amazing, especially compared to how boring the Chicago Blackhawks’ uniforms were.

Marc Savard (2008-17 Alternate)

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I picked this up off the clearance rack at a Modell’s during my sophomore year in high school. Looking to build up my collection of B’s sweaters, I stumbled upon what was a pretty solid deal. It’s a size too big, which isn’t a big issue, and these “Men in Black” alternates were awesome. I regret not being as invested in the Bruins when Marc Savard was in his prime. What a player. It’s a crying shame that he had the type of concussion issues he did.

Zdeno Chara (2007-17 Home)

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This was the first Bruins jersey I ever received. I got it for Christmas in 2011, when I was just starting to really get into hockey with the team fresh off it’s Stanley Cup win. My dad surprised me, my brother, and my sister with our own jerseys and tickets to the Bruins vs. Penguins game on Feb. 4, 2012, my first B’s game. It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten, even though Boston lost to the Pens 2-1 (Joe Corvo scored for Boston).

Tim Thomas (2007-17 Home)

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Speaking of that Christmas, this is the jersey my brother got. I’m more of a Tuukka Rask guy but I have to tip my cap to Thomas – the dude was unbelievable in 2011 and the jersey is cool to have. My brother isn’t as big of a sports fan as I am, so he graciously let me take this one as my own.

Charlie McAvoy (Home)

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This was a Christmas gift during McAvoy’s rookie year. My family and friends would have thought McAvoy was the Second Coming the way I talked about what he would do for the Bruins once he finally turned pro. He’s far and away among my favorite players to watch, and with the way he played in the second half of 2019-20, everything looks to be coming together for one of the franchise’s cornerstones.

Charlie McAvoy (Boston University Away)

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College and junior hockey jerseys of current NHL players have always appealed to me, even though this is the only one I have. When I got accepted and made my decision to attend BU, I decided to pull the trigger on a jersey and figured McAvoy would be a versatile choice between Comm. Ave and TD Garden.

David Pastrnak (St. Patrick’s Day)

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I think it’s really cool how NHL teams have several special edition jerseys they wear for warmups depending on the occasion – from Hockey Fights Cancer to Military Appreciation Night, St. Patrick’s Day and more – and it would be even better if organizations donned them during games.

Nevertheless I’d really like to get a each of those jerseys for the Bruins in some form, and my sister helped me start by surprising me with this Pastrnak St. Paddy’s Day sweater during my sophomore year of high school. Since, “Pasta” has become an elite goal-scoring talent. adding to an already cool jersey.

Tuukka Rask (2019-Present Alternate)

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After initially being disappointed by the new third jerseys the B’s unveiled this season, they slowly grew on me, but I will not rest until the Pooh Bear jerseys are revived. I’ve always been a believer in Tuukka Rask, and I will argue that he is elite and that the Bruins can win a Cup with him (they should have already) until the day I die. So, I decided I’d finally get a Rask jersey, and opted for this scheme in place of the B’s typical away white’s – I’m a bull in a china shop, so the white would get dirty anyways.

NHL / Miscellaneous Jerseys:

Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche (Home)

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I’ve been a pretty big fan of Cale Makar since he was with UMass Amherst. The way he dominated college hockey and revived the program was so fun to watch. So far that success has translated to the NHL, where he is a favorite for the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year).

My family and I went out to Denver last Thanksgiving to spend the holiday with my sister. My pleading to go to an Avalanche game paid off and we caught the Avs vs. Chicago Blackhawks on Black Friday, giving me an excuse to buy this sweater. It’s also great that it’s a pretty sweet jersey.

J.T. Compher, Colorado Avalanche (Alternate)

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I’ve always paid attention to Compher during his time in the NHL. In my opinion, he’s a quality, do-it-all player, who can slot anywhere in the lineup, and flies under the radar for the right reasons. As you may know his sister, Jesse, is a star with BU’s Women’s Hockey program, and I had the chance to interview him – here’s the story – when he was in town to catch a game before the Avs took on the Bruins. He was the first NHL player I had ever interviewed, too. I’m a fan of the Avs’ third sweaters, and settled on Compher as the player to get where I already had the Makar jersey.

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres (50th Anniversary)

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Buffalo may be one of the most miserable teams in the league, but that doesn’t mean their alternate jerseys are. The Winter Classic throwback they rolled out a few years ago was sublime, and the white and gold look for the organization’s 50th year is so crisp. I ended up finding a better deal for this jersey over the Classic, and being a BU alum and among the NHL’s best, Eichel was an easy choice.

Tyler Seguin, Dallas Stars (Home)

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Bruins fans will forever lament the Seguin trade – for good reason – but it’s still been fun to see what he’s done in Dallas during his career. As a fan of Dallas’ jerseys, specifically the green they use, I wanted to get my hands on one, but couldn’t decide between Seguin, John Klingberg, or Miro Heiskanen. I ended up opting for the bigger name.

Jeff Marek of Sportsnet often says this, but the NHL doesn’t have enough green – hopefully, Seattle will change that.

Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets (2019 Heritage Classic)

Scheifele

Look, I’m a sucker for throwback jerseys, and I was a big fan of the white version of this jersey the Jets came out with for the 2016 Heritage Classic. When they came out with these navies for the 2019 Classic, I was hooked instantly, and I’m of the mind the two throwbacks should be Winnipeg’s full-time kits. Also, I think Mark Scheifele is one of the more underrated players in the NHL – he’s one of my favorite non-Bruins players – and I simply can’t take my eyes off it when it’s on my wall.

Gritty, Philadelphia Flyers (Home)

Gritty

This was a Christmas gift from my roommates as part of an inside joke – I dominate with Gritty in the “Ones Now” game mode of EA Sports’ NHL20. Although, given the nature of Gritty and that he’s, well, a mascot, it goes down as one of the more random jerseys I own.

Steve Hanson, Charlestown Chiefs / Slapshot (Blue)

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Another spur of the moment order. My friend and I decided to get ourselves some of the best jerseys in movie history – he picked up Jeff Hanson, #18. Admittedly, I’ve never known any of the Hanson brothers’ first names, and upon a quick Google search, Steve wore #17.  Nonetheless, the Chiefs jersey looks phenomenal – it makes figuring out Halloween costumes pretty easy – and Slapshot is one of the best sports movies in history. What a classic.

Boston University (Home and Away)

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I picked these up during the 2019-20 season for BU. Right now they’re just blank, but I definitely want to get them embroidered at some point. I’ve got plenty of options too between Eichel, Matt Grzelcyk, Dante Fabbro, and more big-name Terriers from over the years.

Boston Celtics / NBA Jerseys:

Kemba Walker (Signed, Icon)

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For no good reason other than I felt like it, I decided to get another Celtics jersey last summer, and thought who better than the next superstar point guard in Boston? I took it to school with me, and one of my roommates and I were fortunate enough to end up with tickets to the open practice that the Celtics hold at the Garden before the preseason each year. I took a Sharpie with me because, well, you never know.

While we were court-side for the yard sale of old equipment and memorabilia, practice started to wrap up with players heading to the locker room. I got up right to where security was cutting people off and held my jersey up in hopes Kemba would come over on his way. Sure enough as he was headed to the room, he spotted us, came right over, and signed it. Unreal.

Jaylen Brown (Statement)

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I’ve liked Jaylen Brown since the day he was drafted. I’ve been a believer since Day One, and I had some moments during the regular seasons and the 2018 Playoffs where I was feeling pretty good about my favorite C’s player. However, there were still consistency concerns. That all went away in 2019-20 as Brown took that elusive next step. A ferocious dunker and lock-down defender, Brown is a perfect compliment to Jayson Tatum. Also, the Celtics’ black Statement jerseys are gorgeous.

Gordon Hayward (Icon)

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There isn’t much to this one. I spotted it while at Costco with my dad, which explains the look – it was only like 20 bucks and I had some extra cash on my hands – so I figured, “eh, why not?” The store had either Kyrie Irving, or Hayward, and it was right around the time Kyrie began to get on Celtics fans’ nerves. I’d say the investment worked out well considering how things went with Kyrie, and the bounce-back Hayward had in 2019-20.

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors (Icon)

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I got this from a family member for Christmas last year and it’s one of my favorites I have. The Warriors’ jerseys are pretty clean and I’ve always enjoyed watching KD play. I don’t know why, but I’ve always felt like KD joining the Warriors was never that big of a deal. It seemed like it was just so overblown because of his relationship with Russell Westbrook, but I digress. Pro tip: you can find some sweet NBA jerseys for even better deals in the clearance section on Fanatics.

Boston Red Sox Jerseys:

Mookie Betts (Red Alternate)

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First of all, the red alternates that the Sox wear on Friday nights are my favorite jerseys the organization has to offer. Second, this jersey has a bit of an interesting story to it. During my freshman year at BU, the magical 2018 World Series season, I smartly utilized the Red Sox’ $9 student tickets. The afternoon of Game 2 of the ALCS, I got a text alert saying the first 100 eligible fans in line would get the discount and a ticket to the game.

I immediately called my girlfriend, who was at another school in the city, to meet me as soon as possible and I went to go get a spot in line. Fortunately, we were able to get tickets for the game. However, what we didn’t realize was that we had to go straight into the park, and my long-sleeve t-shirt and jeans, which were perfect for a mild fall afternoon, would not be perfect for a brisk, chilly October night.

My mom, worried about me freezing at the game, told me she’d help me pay for a sweatshirt at the pro shop. When I went to make my purchase, all that was available were the popular, and expensive, “Do Damage” sweatshirts. I saw the Betts jersey on the wall, noticed it was the same price as the hoodie, and opted for the would-be MVP instead. Sorry, Mom.

Nomar Garciaparra (Blue)

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I think this was my dad’s jersey, but when it didn’t fit him anymore and I grew into it, it slowly became mine. I wish I wasn’t a toddler during Nomar’s prime, by all accounts and highlight videos he was so exciting to watch.

Throwback jerseys or throwback players always appeal to me for some reason, and I’ve proudly worn this around Fenway for games. Once I was walking along Park Drive in the Fenway neighborhood during freshman year, and a random guy driving just shouted “Aye! Nomah!” gave me a thumbs up, and kept driving. Neat.

Jason Varitek (Blue)

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This carries a bit of sentimental value for me. Varitek was my absolute favorite player growing up, and I had every intention of being a catcher. That was all of course until I realized how much I hated catching – third base and pitcher are more my speed – but I still loved ‘Tek either way.

New England Patriots Jerseys:

Tom Brady (Red Throwback)

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I think these particular throwback jerseys are the best in the history of the Patriots, right up there with the blue and white Color Rushes, and the royal blue jerseys from the ’90s. I got this after the Pats’ historic comeback in Super Bowl LI, and of course, it had to be the Greatest of All-Time, Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr.

Rob Gronkowski (Home)

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Somehow, this youth extra-large still fits me. I got an Aaron Hernandez jersey in 2012 before Super Bowl XLVI, including the patch for the Big Game. It was bad enough that I had to live with that patch on the jersey after the loss, but that summer was when everything went down with Hernandez. So, the Patriots did a buy-back for people who had his jersey. When my dad and I made the trek down to Foxboro, I decided I wanted to go with Gronk – a pretty wise choice if I do say so myself.

Josh Gordon (Away)

Gordon

I was all in on Josh Gordon when he was with the Patriots – I thought he had cleaned himself up and with Tom Brady throwing him the ball, was headed for success similar to his 2013 year. Shamelessly, I have gotten several jerseys from a well-known knockoff website, and I’ve had like a 99.99% success rate – this is the .01%. The jersey was delivered the day the Pats cut Gordon, and to make matters worse, the back name plate is incredibly crooked. This is one I’d like to have a do-over with.

It definitely took me too much time to organize every jersey for the featured image and each individual picture, but in the name of content here we are. There are also a few “shirseys” I’ve left out, including a Hartford Whalers sweater and a Dougie Hamilton (Bruins) hoodie – I actually taped ‘Traded for Picks” over the nameplate.

Of course this variety of jerseys is subject to change, and it will most certainly grow, whether that’s in the form of a Brady Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey, a University of Maine hockey sweater, some more throwback jerseys, or whatever other kit I set my sights on.

Author: Patrick Donnelly

Patrick is a sophomore studying journalism at Boston University’s College of Communication. Patrick is both the Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey editor for WTBU Sports, writing, broadcasting, and overseeing articles about each team. He aims to cover the NHL and the Boston Bruins for a living and to become a hockey insider. From Lynn, Massachusetts, Patrick is a graduate of Malden Catholic High School (’18) and is a huge Boston sports fan, avid golfer, and hockey fanatic. His favorite teams and athletes include, the Bruins, the New England Patriots, Tiger Woods, and Mark Scheifele. Co-host of the podcast, The Duck Boat Report, at WTBU Sports, and writer for Black ‘N Gold Hockey. He writes columns on the PGA, Bruins, and NHL for WTBU Sports. Patrick is also a Francis Ouimet Scholar. Find his author page at WTBU Sports, follow him on Twitter @PatDonn12, and check out his portfolio (patrickdonnellyportfolio.wordpress.com).

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