Any who know me can attest to the fact that I’m a sports merchandise fanatic. My taste, however, is geared towards unique rather than chic. As such, I possess many sporting items which elicit a “what the hell is that you’re wearing” over the “sick jerz brooooo” you often hear while watching a sporting event at a pub.

I’m here to help you accomplish the same.

The following guide will help you not only find a timeless, legendary hockey jersey you will want to frequent your body with, it will help you find a jersey that speaks to who you are deep, deep down in your soul and shout it out to the world.

Come with me on this journey of self-discovery and collectable nerdery.

Favorite teams are too easy

Well all have our favorite teams, and they greatly influence our decision making process when it comes to a jersey. This is a reflex of the weak, and from now on you will be a strong, independent jersey buyer. You will throw your loyalties to the wind for the sake of having a killer jersey which will immortalize you amongst friends, bystanders and obscure family members your parents don’t like to “talk about”.

Does the choice to sport a jersey of your rival come with pain? Sure. But it’s the year 2012 folks. Irony became the coolest thing ever recently — or so I’ve been told by people with plaid shirts and way too tight jeans — and you ought to embrace it.

Do not simply settle for your favorite team over and over again. You’re better than that. We’re all better than that.

Throwbacks are always better

As someone who has been burned many times by the allure of a new name, you should know that throwbacks will always trump a current jersey, lest you find out the hard way. The machinations of various merchandise producers would have you believe that every semi-reputable player will work out forever once they make the jump. This is false. Do not buy in.

Picking up a jersey of a player who has already made their way through the franchise is always a lock to be awesome one of two reasons: Either they are a legend and you will be celebrated for honoring said team’s history, regardless of how lackluster it may be OR their name is hilarious in the context of the team’s history and you will get lots of high fives and free beer whenever you wear it.

In Scranton, PA., they call that a win-win-win scenario. Go after those legends, make people smile. Don’t get a Sidney Crosby. Somewhere out there Sven Butenschon is calling.

Obscurity is your friend

Hockey is played all over the world by children, teenagers and adults. Every single one of them wears a jersey every time they hit the ice. As such, if you look hard enough, there are not only plenty of awesome jerseys out there for you to put in your closet, there are plenty of completely obscure jerseys to set you apart from the crowd. This holds for NHL and non-NHL threads.

You want a jersey from NHL Team X? Sure! Happy to help. The key is to not just buy their regular home or away jersey, you must go digging. Find that jersey they wore 20 years ago for six games. Why get a Devils jersey when you can find a Kansas City Scouts jersey somewhere? Same franchise!

Start plowing through hockey archives and make your way through team archives. Look at logos in multiple leagues, google jersey designs. Find something that brings about a little half smile on your face, something that brings about that half-impressed snort, and then start hunting.

To illustrate this reaction, I humbly submit the Mississippi River Kings for your consideration:

That jersey is awesome, obscure and if you like the color green and turtles, it’s the way to go for you.

Stay true to yourself

This is by far the most important point. Many of you will go looking for a jersey and think you’re looking for something that you’ll like. You’re not. You’re looking for something that your friends will think is okay and won’t get you into a bar fight. Well, conventions be damned! You’re wonderful, and you should be you.

Find colors and logos you like, regardless of what your half-wit friend thinks is cool. Look at leagues you’ve never heard of and scour the internet for the painfully hard to find. If clothing makes us walking billboards, you ought to be the best damn billboard you can live with in between naps.

How have I done this personally? Well, let me share.

As a now-alienated, once fiercely loyal member of the masochistic pagan cult that is the Toronto Maple Leafs, and avid OHL fan, I once thought it would be a good idea to get a Matt Stajan jersey after his career with the Belleville Bulls. This is now a hilarious joke, but I owned that look hard back in the day. While friends thought it would be fun to get “Sundin” or “Roberts” I laughed at them! I thought I knew! And while I had to learn my ‘nothing current’ rule the hard way, I didn’t sell out, though I probably wish I had in retrospect.

Today I can be found regularly wearing a (now re-branded) St. Michael’s Majors jersey and Boston Bruins ‘Pooh Bear’ jersey.

On my immediate list of ‘must-adds’ I have the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques, California Seals, the Great One’s St. Louis stint, aaaaand a Quad City Mallards, because why not?

It works for me. Find what works for you.

Conclusions

You are now equipped to go out into the world and find a hockey jersey that not only looks sharp, but also suits who you are inside. You will avoid your favorite team if you can, find the throwbacks, hunt the obscure and be true to yourself.

Sure, you can go and get a jersey to proclaim to the world that player X is your favorite, but where is the fun in that? With such an endless amount of possibility out there, you owe it to yourself to find that gem which will become synonymous with your life.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

I implore all of you to leave a jersey choice below that you would love to have, be it a famous team with a weird player on the back, or a team nobody knows exists, I want to know what you will be sporting.

I want to know you.