The week before our Game Worn Radio discussion on friendships and experiences we have had from collecting game worn jerseys, Conrad Peterson has submitted a story outlining his experience.
Some of you know that I am a huge fan and supporter of my local NAHL team, the Minnesota Magicians. They play some excellent hockey and are fun to watch and going to their games is my Shangri La away from the craziness of a Wild game.
A few months ago I went to a game and decided to wear one of my game worn Russian jerseys. It was a KHL Avangard Omsk jersey to be exact. I was sitting there watching the game with my daughter and at the end of the first period the back-up goalie, Daniil Gerasimov, skated out on the ice. He looked and saw me sitting there with my daughter and did a double take when he saw the jersey. He gave a smile of approval before going to the locker room. Fast forward a few weeks after not being able to get to some games because of work or other schedule conflicts, I wore another one of my jerseys.
A KHL CSKA Moscow Dmitri Monya jersey from their retro set that Serguey Chumin brought to me direct from Russia. Again, at the end of the first period Gerasimov saw me sitting there with my family. He saw the jersey, had a good laugh and gave a thumbs up before going to the locker room. A couple of days later I went to another game and decided I was going to keep the theme going and wear my RSL Dynamo Moscow Igor Mirnov jersey. This game I was helping out as a penalty box assistant. Gerasimov saw me wearing the Dynamo jersey and after the period was over he asked me if I would take a picture with him after the game. After the game was over I waited and we took a photo together and he told me that Dynamo Moscow was his dad’s favorite team and said it was really neat to see jerseys from back home. Now fast forward to the last game of the season, Fan Appreciation Night. The fans get to skate with the players after the game, get autographs, and take pictures. We participated and Gerasimov gave me one of his game used goalie sticks and took the time to take some pictures with my son (who is also a goalie) and daughter. Then he asked me about my jerseys and I spent some time showing him some of my collection and he was absolutely amazed. It was one of those rare times when you get to interact with the players.
At the end of the season the team sells their jerseys and I really wanted to get the jersey for Gerasimov and waited to hear word that they were available. My daughter’s favorite player is Gerasimov and I wanted to get the jersey because of the fun memories of the games and seeing the look on Daniil’s face when he saw those jerseys that reminded him of Russia. Even the team staff thought it was really cool that I was wearing my Russian jerseys and one of the staff made the compliment that they had not seen Gerasimov smile like that before and that really touched me to hear that. When I saw that the jerseys were available I went to purchase the jersey I wanted and it was gone! I was shocked and extremely disappointed and when I saw that the home and road jerseys for Gerasimov were both gone I figured it must have been purchased by family, which is not at all uncommon. After doing some foot work I found out that the jersey I wanted had been bought by a collector in the gameworn.us group and I had to go to Paul Rank for grief counseling and emotional support. Joking aside, Paul got me contact information for the collector and I reached out to him. After a few conversations explaining why this jersey was so important and that it meant a lot to me to get the jersey, a jersey trade was made and I got the jersey I wanted!
The collector I am talking about is Larry Pelliccioni and he is an amazing person that I had the opportunity to deal with. He is one of the fine folks that are in the hobby who care about others in the hobby as well. He is the kind of person that I hope to follow in the footsteps of in the hobby. Larry is going to be coming to Minnesota at some point and I hope to have time to grab a beer with him and I will have a lot of questions to ask and I am sure a lot of listening to do. I will look forward to any of his advice in being a better steward of the hobby too.
Unfortunately my team, the Magicians, did not make it to the playoffs and their season is over, so now I need to wait and look forward to the new season. Until then, I will cheer on CSKA Moscow and the Minnesota Wild.