The ProStockNation.com Guide To Avoiding Counterfeit NHL Jerseys

This is – M from ProStockNation’s guide to educating buyers so they can avoid getting stuck with counterfeit NHL jerseys.  We depict a FAKE New York Rangers Ryan Callahan jersey in this example but the the same basics apply to other teams and players.

Those who purchase knockoff jerseys do not help support their favorite teams, but rather contribute to organized crime and slave labor.

Counterfeit jerseys are constantly evolving and they are getting much more difficult to spot.  The fakes usually stick out like a sore thumb but this is one of the “better” knockoffs that I have seen.

First of all, purchase your jerseys from an authorized dealer.  If you are looking on eBay, Craigslist or your local flea market and someone is selling these for under $100, it should draw immediate red flags.  Reebok does not sell “wholesale” to the public.  Why would Reebok sell their jerseys through these shady sellers rather than their regular channels of distribution?  It doesn’t make sense on any level.  Just keep in mind if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

Being knowledgeable about what you are buying is the #1 method of preventing yourself from buying a fake.  There are 4 different grades of legitimate jerseys.  Jerseys with names and numbers are inconsistent depending on where and who has done the customizing.

i.  Reebok Premier 7185.  This is sometimes referred to as the “replica” or “semi-pro.”  They normally range anywhere between $100-$140 blank.  They are manufactured in Asia and they are a lower grade jersey than what the players wear on the ice.  The front crests are embroidered but are glued onto the jersey.  The shoulder patches are screened and then stitched.

ii. Reebok Edge 7187.  Sometimes referred to as the “Edge” or “Edge 1.0″ Authentic jerseys.  It is made of Reebok’s water repellent X-trafil fabric.  Unfortunately these jerseys weren’t very favorable with the pros as sweat pooled in the gloves and skates.  Everything on these jerseys will be Z-stitched directly onto the jersey and it comes with a fight strap.  Only a handful of players still wear this style of jersey in the NHL.  The Edmonton Oilers are the last remaining team to use the 1.0 jerseys exclusively.

iii. Reebok Edge 7287.  Aka the Edge 2.0.  Reebok did not want to admit their Edge jerseys were a failure at the pro level so they rolled out the 2.0.  This jersey is only available through the team.  The only way to obtain one is to purchase team issued, game issued, or game worn jerseys.  They are usually not available to the general public.  They are made to look like the Edge 7187 jerseys but they are made of Air-Knit, a material very commonly used in the late 90s and early 2000s.  Again, everything on this jersey will be Z-stitched and it has a fight strap.

iv. Reebok Edge 7231.  Otherwise known as “Indo-Edge.”  When Reebok changed from their RBK Vector to the Wordmark logo they also moved production of their “Authentic” jerseys from Canada to Indonesia, hence the name “Indo-Edge.”  These jerseys will not have a neck tag and can be easily recognized by the bright lime green stripe on the neck line.  Everything on these 7231 jerseys are Z-stitched as well but the quality is not up to par with the 7187/7287 series jerseys.  NHL players do not wear this style of jersey on the ice.

Now onto features you can spot on the exterior of the jersey.  On previous fakes, the cut is totally off.  The bottom hem is normally flat and there are slits on both sides.  You will only find slits on the Reebok Premier 7185 series.  However you can see in this photo the jersey has a coat tail cut on the bottom hem.  This is one of the only fakes I have seen that has reproduced this characteristic well.

On the back of the jersey I can already spot two things that don’t jive.  The “Reebok” wordmark logo above the name plate only appears on the Edge 2.0 (7287) and Indo-Edge (7231) jerseys.  This jersey is a reproduction of the 1.0 and therefore shouldn’t have this logo.  If you take a look at where the fight strap is attached, the piece of twill that attaches the strap to the jersey is off; more on this later.

On most fakes the letters and numbers on the jerseys are either the wrong color or have a significant amount of bubbling.  On these newer knockoffs it seems like they have addressed this issue.

The tags on this fake have also been updated.  Keep in mind Edge jerseys only came in 46, 50, 52, 54, 56, and 60.  You may also find pro issued jerseys in a 58, 58+ or a goal cut.  I have seen many fakes in a size 48.  While Reebok has made size 48s before (for their 6100 series) they have never made one in the Edge cut.

The hang tags are very poorly counterfeited.  Notice the very low quality printing on the middle “MY NHL” tag.  The “Center Ice Collection” tag on the right should also be matte, not glossy.

On the other side of the tags take note of the “Authentique” tag on the left.  On the real jerseys Reebok will place a barcode sticker here.

While this jersey looks close to real on the outside, as soon as you look into the internals of this jersey it becomes very clear that it is fake.

Take the “Reebok” wordmark for example.  The real ones will have a patch with this logo which is then Z-stitched onto the jersey.  Once flipped inside out, you should only be able to see the stitching on the outline of the patch.

Hmm… the wordmark logo looks to be embroidered directly into the jersey.  Reebok does not use this low end embroidery method on the real Edge jerseys.

If you look closely you can also see the amateur-ish stitch job on the front NHL crest.  I briefly learned how to sew in my home economics class and I could’ve done a better job than this.

Flip the jersey inside out again and just look at what a mess this is.  All of the cuts and stitches are rough and look improvised.

The letters and numbers on this fake also have cheap paper backing to accommodate this low quality embroidery.  Like the Reebok wordmark logo you find on the back of the jersey, you should only be able to see stitching with the outline of each individual letter/number.  If you see ANY of this paper backing, it is a fake!

More hideous embroidery.

Note the size of the fight strap and the piece of twill that attaches it to the jersey.  The fight strap is too short (should be ~ 6 to 7″ long) and the piece of twill is too narrow (should be ~ 4″ wide.)

More low quality stitching on the fight strap.  Again, it should be about 4″ wide.  The team issued jerseys will have their fight strap stitched slightly different with two pieces of twill instead of one.

The piece of twill attaching the fight strap to the jersey should be the same color as the jersey.  In this case, it should be royal blue.  Here’s a closer look at the fight strap that is way too short.

Lets now make a comparison to fight straps on some REAL jerseys.  On the left we have a Retail Edge 1.0 size 46 (7187) and on the right we have a Team Issued Edge 2.0 size 56 (7287.)  They are both Vancouver Canucks jerseys, one home and the other is the alternate third.  I find the fight strap lengths are not consistent in length but they are usually around 6″ or 7″.  Notice how the Edge 2.0 has two pieces of twill that sandwiches the fight strap in place.  The Edge 1.0 will not have this feature.

Also take a look at the Z-stitching on the outline of the numbers.  Notice how there is no paper backing anywhere.  This is how a proper jersey is done.

So to summarize, look for a few quick tell tale signs:

i) Are the tags poorly printed?  Does the “Center Ice Authentic” tag have a barcode sticker on the other side?
ii) Inspect the stitching.  Is there any paper backing behind the Reebok logo, letters or numbers?  If it does, it’s a fake.
iii) Is the fight strap and twill the correct size?
iv) Are the letters/numbers puffy or bubbling?

Fakes, counterfeits, knockoffs or whatever you want to call them will continue to evolve as long as there is a demand for them.  The best defense you can have to avoid purchasing these low-grade fakes is to be well educated on what you are buying before you hand your hard earned money over.

I hope this guide has been very informative.  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

FIGHT THE FAKE.

- M

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