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The History of Hockey Relive great moments in hockey history and discuss how the game has changed over time.

When did fans start wearing team merch to games?

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10-14-2009, 01:19 PM
  #1
MayDay
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When did fans start wearing team merch to games?

I was watching some old footage of games from the mid 70s.

What really struck me (aside from the lack of ads on the boards, the helmet-less players, and the old-school goalie masks) was the way that the fans were dressed, when they showed shots of the crowd.

Nearly all of the fans were dressed in either suits or other non-descript casualwear. Hardly a team logo or colors to be seen anywhere. This is very different from the situation today.

So when did fans start en masse wearing their team's sweaters and other team merch to games? Nowadays it seems like a no-brainer, but this seems to be a pretty recent development. And what caused this change?

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10-14-2009, 02:06 PM
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My guess would probably be when they started selling merchandise en masse.

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10-16-2009, 09:44 AM
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I was buying jerseys as early as 1970. Madison Square Garden had Cosby's sports shop right next door and they always had a large selection and there was also a Cosby's out near me on Long Island. When I began going to Islanders games in their first year, I usually wore a jersey (of some other team, I hated the Islanders). I would see a few here and there, but nothing like what it is today, as Doctor D said, "en masse." One time at a Seals game at the Coliseum I spotted another fan in a Seals jersey and we had a nice bonding.

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10-16-2009, 03:22 PM
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RandV
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I kind of noticed the same thing in some footage of the 80's Oilers. Except there wasn't any suites, or even younger people, it looked like a middle age crowd in regular clothing.

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10-16-2009, 05:11 PM
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Canadiens1958
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Tuxedo Night

Could float a theory that it was a league wide response to the Winnipeg Jets "Tuxedo Night" once a season in the early 1980's.

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10-16-2009, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SealsFan View Post
I was buying jerseys as early as 1970. Madison Square Garden had Cosby's sports shop right next door and they always had a large selection and there was also a Cosby's out near me on Long Island. When I began going to Islanders games in their first year, I usually wore a jersey (of some other team, I hated the Islanders). I would see a few here and there, but nothing like what it is today, as Doctor D said, "en masse." One time at a Seals game at the Coliseum I spotted another fan in a Seals jersey and we had a nice bonding.
More information than we wanted to have.

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10-17-2009, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
In 1922 I attended an Ottawa Senators vs Hamilton Tigers game and I wore an autographed Cy Denneny jersey.
Can't beat that but I did wear a Habs tuque to a Chicago-Montreal game in 1964.

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10-21-2009, 10:35 PM
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bigtim1988
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosbyfan View Post
More information than we wanted to have.
haha my sentiments exactly!

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10-21-2009, 11:43 PM
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Nalyd Psycho
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I'm pretty sure it was a slow burn sort of deal.

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10-22-2009, 01:09 AM
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mcnab12
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glad to see this thread - i was wondering the same thing while watching REALLY old hockey on the NHL Network the other day.

Even in the 80s it was mostly regular attire on the fans. Seems to me I started wearing jerseys around when Starter was making them...maybe there was a push then? Also when the first 'vintage' Original Sixers came out for the 75th? Like the Bruins big B?

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10-22-2009, 01:13 AM
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Nigelbilt
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I have worn Leaf sweaters to games since early-mid 80's. I cant really recall the ratio between team sweater to regular wear, but it obviously was not at the point it is now.

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10-22-2009, 09:43 AM
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SealsFan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigtim1988 View Post
haha my sentiments exactly!
Okay, calm down, its not like what it sounded like. When you're a Seals fan in an arena full of 15,000 Islander fans and you spot another Seals fan, it's like seeing a long-lost friend. And it was a female fan.

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10-22-2009, 12:56 PM
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Steelhead16
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I bought jerseys back in the 70's but I only wore them to practice in. I lost my NHL team when I was a kid but I don't remember people wearing team gear to games. By the time we got another team the trend was in full swing. I do remember people wearing silver and black to the Raider games back then though. Seems like hockey was the last one to jump on the merchandise train.


Last edited by Steelhead16: 10-23-2009 at 09:31 AM.
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Old
10-22-2009, 11:21 PM
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Inkling
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Back in the 70's I think wearing replica jerseys was considered ok for kids, but not something most adults would do. Even in the 80's when I was in high school I remember one guy getting teased for wearing a Habs jersey...implication being that it wasn't something anyone over the age of 12 would do in public. These days I see adults wearing jerseys at work on occasions like opening night or during the playoffs so a lot has changed.

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10-24-2009, 03:14 AM
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Peter9
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I remember that Canadian acress who played Lois Lane in the Superman films, Margot Kidder, wearing a white Canadiens sweater when she hosted Saturday NIght Live, which is when I knew it was now acceptable for even adults to wear a team sweater anywhere. I looked it up on Google and found that was in 1979.

Back in the Fifties and Sixties, many people regarded an NHL game as an occasion for dressing up. As a kid, I wore street clothes to games in the Fifties, but in the Sixties I usually wore a jacket and tie. Less so in the Seventies and Eighties, but by then I was in Los Angeles, where wear always has been more casual.

We were able to buy team sweaters from Eaton's and Simpson's in the Fifties, but we only wore them when playing hockey, with rare exception. I had a friend who wore Red Wings jersey and stockings to elementary or grade school regularly in the early Fifties and was astonished to find he was a Leafs fan; he just liked the Red Wings colours. But the marketing of team sweaters, if any, was primitive back then. In addition to the Eaton's and Simpson's catalogues, some sports shops in the big cities also carried team jerseys. A team sweater was something a kid got for Christmas. You never saw adults wearing team sweaters.

I think those people saying it was the 1980s when wearing team jerseys to games became acceptable and even popular are correct.


Last edited by Peter9: 10-24-2009 at 03:21 AM. Reason: Added some info shortly after posting and corrected typo
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10-24-2009, 03:34 AM
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Nigelbilt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter9 View Post
I remember that Canadian acress who played Lois Lane in the Superman films, Margot Kidder, wearing a white Canadiens sweater when she hosted Saturday NIght Live, which is when I knew it was now acceptable for even adults to wear a team sweater anywhere. I looked it up on Google and found that was in 1979.

Back in the Fifties and Sixties, many people regarded an NHL game as an occasion for dressing up. As a kid, I wore street clothes to games in the Fifties, but in the Sixties I usually wore a jacket and tie. Less so in the Seventies and Eighties, but by then I was in Los Angeles, where wear always has been more casual.

We were able to buy team sweaters from Eaton's and Simpson's in the Fifties, but we only wore them when playing hockey, with rare exception. I had a friend who wore Red Wings jersey and stockings to elementary or grade school regularly in the early Fifties and was astonished to find he was a Leafs fan; he just liked the Red Wings colours. But the marketing of team sweaters, if any, was primitive back then. In addition to the Eaton's and Simpson's catalogues, some sports shops in the big cities also carried team jerseys. A team sweater was something a kid got for Christmas. You never saw adults wearing team sweaters.

I think those people saying it was the 1980s when wearing team jerseys to games became acceptable and even popular are correct.
A Leaf jersey was always one of my Xmas gifts in the 80's and early 90's

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10-24-2009, 07:58 AM
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Axxellien
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Rock Stars:

I remember Rock Frontmen & guitarists donning the hosts sweaters in the 1970s..The joke, of course, went that a singer would hit the stage, greeting the crowd in Toronto wearing a Buffalo Sabres sweater & yelling "Hello, Detroit Rock City"!! The Road!!

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Old
10-24-2009, 08:22 AM
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Big McLargehuge
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalyd Psycho View Post
I'm pretty sure it was a slow burn sort of deal.

Can't speak from experience with the games, but it seems logowear just started appearing more and more frequently in the 90s to the point where you could basically get anything with a logo on it almost anywhere in a team's area...compared to having to go out and buy an expensive jersey.

That and people simply started to spend more money on 'luxury items' it seems. Cable was a rarity for most families in the 80s, and by the mid-90s everyone had it, for example.


Watching the Stanley Cup videos from the early 90s for the Penguins there were a few people in the stands wearing Penguins stuff, but not a lot. I started watching in 93 and from then on it was just a gradual slide to where we are today from my memory.


Replica jerseys, cheap jackets, licensed shirts...all things that helped.

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Old
10-24-2009, 11:19 AM
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Nigelbilt
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The NHL Zubaz pants

http://www.zubaz.com/

I had a Leafs and San Jose and use to rock them with maroon 16 holed Docs and a Starter Leafs jacket.

Sports gear 15 years ago was so much better

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