Mastering Search Skills

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by Chuck Eckels

Searching for jerseys in obscure places is half the fun of collecting. There are so many different ways to acquire jerseys for a collector. The most obvious avenues are dealers, auctions, other collectors, and eBay. There are other avenues as well. I tried using the search engine www.zabasearch.com to contact former players. I used www.411.ca for Canada. I also paid to use a search engine for a month. I found that these retired players fell into two categories. (The ones I could find.) There were those players that treated their careers as they did their first wife. They wanted nothing to do with it. The had no jerseys from their playing days. Then there were players that held on to their pro careers long afterwards like their current wife. They had many of their jerseys from their playing days but they had no desire to sell them regardless of price. I would send letters and then follow up with a phone call. I stopped doing this because the experience was similar to selling Amway door to door. I didn’t like it. I didn’t get a jersey out of it either. Maybe I should have been more persistent? The good news was I was able to locate a couple of players I knew 40 years ago. (Yes, I’m an old fart.)

Another way I would look for jerseys is by doing a Google image search and then follow the trail. Most of the trails led to a dead end but I was able to obtain a highly coveted shirt this way. It was fun to search even if it ended up going nowhere. It is so much easier to ask digitally then it is on the phone. The final way to search for jerseys led to the jersey I have listed below. I found it on eBay.

eBay offers the obvious way of finding game worn jerseys but there is more here than meets the eye. A collector told me about picking up a really nice Gretzky item (not a jersey) because the seller listed it as a Gretsky piece. Try different spellings to find what you are looking for. Another collector told me about finding a vintage Minnesota Gophers sweater that was listed as a rugby sweater. The buyer got a great shirt at a great price. If more collectors had entered Minnesota jersey or Minnesota sweater more buyers may have been aware of this sweater. Then I found a rare 1977 AHL Hampton Gulls yellow Russell mesh Bill Gilligan jersey listed as a San Diego Gulls jersey. This was when the San Diego Gulls were dark so not a lot of interest in San Diego Gulls items. Seller error can help one acquire a unique jersey and block out other potential buyers. Sometimes it’s just the way a seller lists an item. No error is involved but it may cause you to miss it on a search. As an example do a search for LA Blades and then Los Angeles Blades in sports memorabilia. The results will be different. Use as many different ways you can think of to search for an item you want. I have all of my eBay searches set accordingly.

This 1961-62 Dartmouth University hockey jersey was advertised as a football jersey and one could be easily mislead. It looks like a football jersey. However, upon closer inspection, one can see that this type of jersey was utilized by the university to play hockey during the late 1950’s early 1960’s. The fact it was a dureen jersey caused me to stop and look at it. I didn’t purchase it until I could find some validation on line that it was not a football jersey. I found a photo of the Dartmouth hockey team from 1960-61. It looks just like the jerseys in the team photo so I popped on the shirt. Then I purchased two books on Dartmouth football and Dartmouth hockey after I bought the shirt . They are “Dartmouth College Football Green Fields of Autumn”, and “Dartmouth College Hockey Northern Ice”. Both of these books are written by David Shribman and Jack DeGuage. After looking at these books I was 80% convinced that the jersey I purchased was in fact a game worn hockey jersey. That Champion tag on the outside of the jersey still bothered me, so I contacted Dartmouth Library and they were able to send me a photo from a later season where the tag was outside the jersey. There is tremendous satisfaction in finding, researching, and validating this game worn Dartmouth hockey jersey.

The Dartmouth hockey program started in the 1905-06 school year. The Indians got off to a good start as they defeated Williams College 4-2 . The first goal scored in school history was scored by captain and player coach Gene Brooks ’07. Home games were initially played at a flooded Memorial Field. Dartmouth played a gentlemanly game as they played the entire 1908-09 season without earning one penalty and finishing second to Harvard. During the 1920’s the program came of age as the team won the first tournament ever entered. The Indians won the Lake Placid Christmas tournament in 1922-23.

The program became a real power house for the next four decades under Eddie Jeremiah Dartmouth class of 1930. In 37-38 the Indians went undefeated in league play and captured the Quadrangular League title. Their overall record was 18-4. The Big Green captured their second Quadrangular League title the following season. At the start of the 45-46 season the Indians lost their opener to Yale 6-4 which ended their 46 game undefeated streak in league play. Dartmouth went on to win three consecutive Quadrangular league titles from 46-49 to run their total to 5 total league titles. The Indians lost to Michigan in the national championship in 1948, 8-4. During the 49 season Dartmouth handed Boston College it’s only defeat of the season 4-2 in Hanover. They lost to B.C. in Boston Arena 7-4. They lost the national championship to Boston College in 1949 by a score of 4-3. The Big Green went on to win a couple of Ivy League titles in the late 50’s and early 60’s after the Ivy League conference was established in 1954. They also won Ivy titles in 79 and 07. The Big Green skates at Thompson Arena which opened in 1975 and replaces Davis Arena which opened in 1930.

Half the fun of acquiring a jersey is the hunt. There’s more enjoyment as opposed to PayPaling a dealer or collector and then getting the shirt a few days later in the mail. Happy hunting and good luck !

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