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Premium vs. Non-Premium - What's the difference?

Premium vs. Non-Premium - What's the difference?

Premium vs. Non Premium Tees  

Our regular or non-premium t-shirts are what we originally started the site with. These are Fruit of the Loom 3930 tees that are a heavy and thick feeling style of t-shirt. We find that a lot of our customers like these when they are looking for a shirt that has a sturdy, thick feel to it. These shirts are not labeled as standard or non-premium, but you will know them since they will not say 'premium' anywhere in the title. They are also handy as many of the colors we offer are available in sizes up to 6XL. However, we received feedback that some customers were interested in thinner, lighter feeling tees. 

Our premium t-shirts were introduced recently to provide an option for a lighter and thinner feel of t-shirt. There are two types of these premium tees.

  1. The first is used for our text-only or "Dated" designs. These are Next Level brand 6210 shirts that are 60% cotton but still provide a lighter, softer feel than the standard shirt. Not all teams have these dated t-shirts available.
  2. The second type of premium tee is used on all of the graphic design tees that have "premium" in the title (other than the "Dated" ones described above) and were introduced to fill a need where our customers had been requesting lighter and softer tees. These are 100% cotton Bella + Canvas 3001 tees that are very popular in apparel shops these days. We've recently added one of these for every graphical design on the site so that every one of our graphic tees has both a standard and premium Bella + Canvas option. Please note that if you don't like light feeling t-shirts, you would probably better enjoy our standard shirts. 

For more details on the sizing and content of these items, please see our size chart page.

Premium vs. Non Premium Hoodies/Sweatshirts  

Our regular or non-premium hoodies are what we originally started the site with. These are Gildan G18500 hoodies that are a thick, heavy blend hoodies that you probably know well from many other retailers. These are 50% cotton and while durable and comfortable, they are not super soft. These hoodies are not labeled as standard or non-premium, but you will be able to identify them since they will not say 'premium' anywhere in the title. They do come in handy as many of the colors we offer are available in sizes up to 5XL. 

Our premium hoodies were introduced recently to provide an option for a much softer feeling hoodie. These are 80% cotton and are the real deal. They are our printers' (Spreadshirt) in-house brand of hoodie, made especially to print on their own machines. We highly recommend these hoodies if you're looking for a soft, hoodie that you can wear regularly. 

Every graphic design on our site will have a premium and non-premium hoodie option. To spot the difference, just look for "(Premium)" in the subject line. 

For more details on the sizing and content of these items, please see our size chart page.

    Flashback: Columbus Checkers Photos, Prior to their Disappearance

    Flashback: Columbus Checkers Photos, Prior to their Disappearance

    The Columbus Checkers were the first professional team in the history of Columbus, Ohio and originally had a true medieval crest for a logo. They started play in 1966-67 in the IHL at the Ohio State Fairgrounds Coliseum (still exists today!) and struggled to a last place finish in year one. They would play over .500 hockey in year two with a 32-30-10 record in 72 games and make the playoffs. But that's about the best the Checkers would do. They would have a worse record in year three going 26-37-9 (1968-69), losing in the first round for the second straight year. Their fourth season (1969-70) would be even worse, finishing 24-36-12 and out of the playoffs. If you were living in Ohio during these years, you might have been able to watch the Checkers play their local rivals, the Dayton Gems on television... 

    Ad from the Dayton Daily News, February 22, 1970

    After they completed the 1969-70 season, the Checkers actually... disappeared. The team had been up for sale throughout most of the season, as the owners had racked up almost $100,000 in debt. In the summer of 1970, it appeared that the ownership group had come to an understanding with another group from Chicago, Independent Investors, Inc, to loan the team money in exchange for an equity stake in the club. But, that deal apparently fell through. And no one knew that had happened until a representative from the Dayton Gems decided to pay a visit to the Columbus offices. Per The Journal Herald (Dayton) on July 8, 1970, "Where are Checkers?" 

    Whatever happened to the Columbus Checkers?

    That's the question they're asking around the IHL today in the wake of a disappearing act that may make Houdini look like an amateur... 

    The Checkers' vanishing act was discovered by Dayton Gems GM Lefty McFadden, who stopped at the Columbus' team's office Monday. That is, where it used to be. 

    The office, a mobile unit normally parked on the grounds of the Ohio State Fairgrounds Coliseum, was no where in sight. Neither was any of the team's equipment...

    Trying to reach Columbus President and GM Jerry Schmelzer proved equally frustrating. Schmelzer was reportedly vacationing in Africa...

    With just three months until the opening of IHL training camps, league officials don't know whether to plan a schedule for seven or eight teams. The evidence seems to indicate that the Columbus Checkers are dead. But nobody can find the body. 

    By the end of July 1970, the IHL had assumed control of the franchise and was looking for new owners. Newspaper reports indicated that there were as many as five groups interested in owning the franchise, assuming they could pay the league's demands of a $50,000 entrance fee and $12,500 performance bond. Reportedly, a deal had been close with Charlie Finley, who at the time owned the Oakland A's (moving them from Kansas City in 1968) and the California Golden Seals. But that deal also fell through, and the Checkers were no more by August 1970. Finley would end up getting his hockey team, though. He started the Columbus Seals a year later for the 1971-72 season.  

    The Checkers would fold after four years due to poor attendance, but they did make an important contribution by introducing hockey to Columbus, which would become a big league market in 1997 with the creation of the Blue Jackets.

    The following photos are courtesy of the Ohio History Connection. You can visit them at OhioMemory.org. These photos are of the Checkers hosting the Toledo Blades at their home arena, the Ohio State Fairgrounds Coliseum, during the 1969-70 season. They really show what the atmosphere of playing in a state fairgrounds was like as well as some 1970s flair. Notice the chain link fence surrounding the ice that would normally be plexiglass today. 

    New for 1958-59! How to Watch and Enjoy Hockey Presented by Stroh Brewing Co.

    New for 1958-59! How to Watch and Enjoy Hockey Presented by Stroh Brewing Co.

    Are you looking to brush up on the fast paced and exciting game of hockey? Well  you've come to the right place! The Stroh Brewing Co. from Detroit, MI, has kindly supplied us a copy of their guide for this season that explains the game of hockey. All the trophies, rules, and regulations of the game are explained very clearly inside. After readying you'll have so much more knowledge of the game that you will have to bear the task of explaining offsides to your friends and family. And remember to drink Stroh beer, American's only fire brewed beer! Does brewing beer with fire make sense? No! But they do it anyway!

     

    Flashback March 8, 1968: Photos of the EHL's Long Island Ducks hosting the New Haven Blades

    Flashback March 8, 1968: Photos of the EHL's Long Island Ducks hosting the New Haven Blades

    In the old Eastern Hockey League (EHL), New Haven and Long Island were two rough and tumble teams. Not only that but after playing in the same division for many years, they had become fierce rivals. The prime example is from the 1965-66 season, when the Ducks and Blades played all of 90 seconds before a bench clearing fight erupted that took 25-minutes to sort out. This was likely a hold over of anger from fights from the team's previous game. After things finally calmed, New Haven player-coach Jackie LeClair pulled his team off the ice. So that gives you an idea of what this league, and specifically these teams, was like on its craziest day. 

    Two years after that bench clearing brawl, a pair of feisty Ducks defenders who had been central pieces in the 1966 chaos weren't on the ice anymore. John Brophy, who was the basis for Reg Dunlop in Slapshot, was now the Ducks' coach. For New Haven, ex-Duck Don Perry had taken over as head coach. The two teams were, as usual, in the playoff hunt. In this campaign, New Haven finished second in the division with 93 points, Long Island fourth with 65. In the six team division, the top four would make the playoffs. 

    It's at this point we are able to pick up the story that was captured in photographs by Look magazine. Available from the Library of Congress, a few dozen rolls of film shot by Jim Hansen capture the Ducks throughout the final three games of their 1965-66 campaign in the Eastern Hockey League. The magazine itself was a Life Magazine sort of publication that ran from 1937 through 1971. It's not clear what sort of story these photos were meant for. I've tried looking through some online archives of the magazine but wasn't able to ascertain if these were ever published.

    What is clear from the photos is that they were dated from March 1968, and capture a three-game stretch for the Ducks that saw them host New Haven and the Clinton Comets at home in the final two regular season games before going to Clinton for their first playoff game. Based on some newspaper research for background, I'm very certain these are the games that these photos cover, as the Ducks played those three games in a five day span and were finished for the season by March 15.

    This set of photos covers the first game of the trio between the Ducks and New Haven at Long Island Arena in Commack. This game ended in a 5-5 tie, with the teams playing pretty evenly as New Haven had a 38-35 edge in shots. One interesting story, New Haven's trainer Gunner Garrett was pressed into action in goal. Their regular netminder, Roger Wilson, took a puck to the elbow during warmups and was unable to play, so New Haven turned to their trainer. This wasn't even the first time he had stepped in, playing two previous games during the season. 

    I'll post two more sets of photos later on as I am able to go through them (there's a lot and the scans from the LoC are so big they drag my computer to a complete stop). For anyone interested these are available to anyone by making a request through the Library of Congress. I believe I paid about $50 for contact sheets of all the rolls to be made. Individual copies of photos are pretty pricey, they cost about that much per photo.  

    If you're able to help identify anyone in these shots, please send me a note on Twitter @vintageicehky or an email at Kevin@vintageicehockey.com. I've tried to not definitively name anyone I'm not sure about and most of what I speculate below is according to HockeyDB's rosters. Even tougher, multiple players wore the same number for during this season, so it's tough to identify many players by number. 

    Note: These photos have been lightly edited to improve color contrast and highlights. 

    1. In the above photo, Ducks owner Al Baron sits a top a desk with coach John Brophy sitting in the lighter tan coat. Presumably this is somewhere inside the Long Island Arena at the team offices. 

    2. Ducks coach John Brophy (right) has a conversation with an unidentified person. 

    3. Coach Brophy sizing up a stick. 

    4. Above, action between the Ducks and Blades. The Ducks are wearing their home white jerseys that say 'Long Island' across the front. New Haven is wearing what I presume are blue jerseys (their main color) with a script 'New Haven' across the front. #4 is likely Don Newman, although Ken Liebel also wore the same number during this season. The man in the middle is #5 (determined from other photos) who is either Tom Burgess or Bob Taylor. 

    5. A fracas breaks out involving all ten skaters on the ice. Note that there isn't any glass at Long Island Arena, above the boards is chicken wire that separates the fans from the players. 

    6. Action in front of the Ducks' goal. Number 10 for New Haven is Murray Klein, per hockeydb. The goalie is likely Wayne Doll, who played 60 of the Ducks' games during this season and would play the next game against Clinton. But it could possibly be Jim Knox who wore the same number and played net for Long Island.  

    7. The Ducks' goalie lays out in net. And no, he wasn't wearing a mask. 

    8. Another kick save from the Ducks goalie. #9 in the dark jersey is likely Michel Rouleau for New Haven. In the background, the fans have hung a sign welcoming back Ben LeBlanc who played for both teams during this season. LeBlanc may have been wearing #14. 

    9. A New Haven player looks for options in the offensive zone.

    10. The aftermath of a fight, one of the Ducks players has lost his jersey and is being restrained by a teammate while referees try to calm him. Note the fans climbing up the boards for a better view. 

    11. Continued aftermath, as the referees try to sort things out. #2 with hands on hips for Long Island is likely Hal Willis. #8 is likely Dwight Winters, who led the Ducks in scoring with 123 points. 

    12. The Ducks and fans celebrate one of their five goals on the night. 

    13. Another fight breaks out. 

    14. It's not clear what this meeting is, but possibly a league meeting or a Ducks board meeting. Ducks owner Al Baron is pictured on the right side of the table. 

    15. Another shot of the meeting, with Al Baron facing the camera on the right. 

    We'll have more from this collection of photos in the coming weeks... 

     

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    25 Facts About the Albany Choppers, Who Played 55 IHL Games

    25 Facts About the Albany Choppers, Who Played 55 IHL Games

    The Albany Choppers have to be one of the worst business decisions a minor league franchise has ever made. From 1952-1990 the Choppers were the Fort Wayne Komets in Indiana, a team that is an institution in Fort Wayne to this day. But in 1990, owner David Welker decided to move the franchise east to the New York State capital of Albany and turn them into the Albany Choppers

    The move to Albany didn't go well. 

    As part of the agreement to let them move east -- further east than the IHL had ever been -- they had to pick up the travel tab for some of the teams coming to visit them. They also faced competition from local college and AHL teams in the area, and played to small crowds in a 15,000 seat arena. Given all this financial pressure, the Choppers would fold after only 55 games in Albany.

    To remember the legacy of the Choppers, here are 25 fun facts about them... 

    1. The team was owner in part by the supermarket chain, Price Chopper, and acquired their red and blue color scheme from the company. This might be the first and only example of a supermarket centric hockey team.
    2. In July 1990, the Choppers hired former Stanley Cup winner with the New York Islanders and Olympic Gold Medalist Ken Morrow to be their General Manager. Maybe Ken knew what was to come, because by August 1st he parted ways with the Choppers.
    3. Right around the same time the Choppers announced their move to Albany, the AHL announced they were placing a team in nearby Troy, NY, the Capital District Islanders. Unlike the Choppers, the Islanders had an NHL affiliation (I’ll let you figure out with which team), which helped defray their salary costs. Although due to playing in the AHL, the Islanders did have to pay territorial rights fees to the nearby Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL.
    4. The Choppers almost didn’t move to Albany in the first place. Something called the Global Hockey League had planned to play in the Choppers’ arena, the Knickerbocker Arena, and play in a trans-continental league with teams as far as Miami and Berlin. It won’t surprise you to learn that idea fell through and thus, the Choppers had a home in Albany.
    5. The Choppers were the only team in the IHL located east of Michigan with opponents as far away as San Diego, Salt Lake City, and Phoenix. The IHL agreed to let the Choppers move to New York on the condition they picked up travel costs for some of these teams.
    6. Owner David Welker was confident his minor league team could play the part in an NHL size 15,000 seat arena. “We’re going to do things you couldn’t even think about doing in a small building,” he told The Post-Star before the season started.
    7. October 6, 1990 the Choppers open their season at home against Kalamazoo, losing 6-2. The Choppers draw only 3,011 fans. In Troy, the Capital District Islanders don’t do much better with 3,355 but it probably feels better as they play in a college sized arena at RPI.
    8. That’s probably the high point of the year. The Choppers draw only 1,892 against Muskegon the next night and later in October the local paper opines that barely 1,000 fans showed up for a game. This video shows just how dang empty the arena was
    9. OK, one more highlight. On October 15th Michel Couvrett records a hat trick for the Choppers, with Dale Henry putting together a five point night. Albany beats Milwaukee 6-3.
    10. By November, the Choppers are on a seven game losing streak. Making their bad attendance problem worse must be the scheduling, with multiple games coming on Monday nights.
    11. Desperate to boost attendance, the Choppers are trying anything. On November 14th they host Frat Night, which… Yeah. They do draw 3,229 fans. They also host a “Closest to the Keg” competition as frat members shoot pucks at a keg during intermission. One of the competitors moons the crowd.
    12. November 22 – success! The Choppers break a seven-game home losing streak with a 4-2 win over Kansas City.
    13. The Choppers share Knickerbocker Arena with a number of teams, one of them is the New York Kick indoor soccer team. Arena officials aren’t having a great season, either. They forget to put down insulation between the soccer turf and the ice, and turn off the air conditioning. The Kick play a very soggy game a few days before Christmas.
    14. In January, things really start to unravel for the Choppers. They are sued by a travel agency for $21,500 in unpaid bills. It’s always a sign that the end is near when the lawsuits start coming.
    15. On the ice, they’re 15-26-3 with the second worst record in the IHL and a -42 goal differential. The Choppers are averaging 2,380 fans the lowest of the three area hockey teams.
    16. OK, now the financial situation is getting dire. The non-NHL affiliated Choppers players don’t receive their January 28, 1991 paychecks. The players vote on January 31 to play their game in spite of this missing money. Ironically, the game is against the new franchise in Fort Wayne that started up with the Choppers left last summer.
    17. In desperation mode, owner David Welker puts his star player and team captain, Dale Henry, on waivers. Hoping that no one claims him and he goes free to potentially AHL teams, he does this at 1 AM. Nonetheless, Milwaukee claims Henry in the morning and by this point Choppers coach Dave Allison is trying to convince his owner not to give away their best player. They come to an agreement where the Choppers trade their own player for their own player. They give Milwaukee Alain Lemieux in exchange for Henry.
    18. Lemieux, the brother of Mario, ends up being the Choppers’ leading point scorer with 41 in 33 games. He had taken the prior season off from hockey.
    19. On February 1, Welker announces that there is a group of local buyers for the team. “I’ve been on this pretty heavy all week” he told the Post-Star. “The nice thing, for the Albany area, is that it looks like the team will be there for several years.” He goes on to say that if the deal falls through, there is another group interested in taking the team to Dallas.
    20. Two weeks later on February 14 the Choppers fold as Welker is unable to secure a deal with any buyers. Coach Dave Allison reacts by saying “I’ll probably have to go home and find a real job.” Allison wouldn’t go home; he would go on to coach the Richmond Renegades of the ECHL for the rest of the season. He was still coaching as of 2018.
    21. The IHL declined to step in and save the Choppers, letting them fold instead. It is the first time an IHL team has folded mid-season in nearly 30 years. The Choppers final record is 22-30-3 with 191 goals for and 212 against in 55 games.
    22. “I knew as early as September it was going to be a disaster” Welker said to the Post –Star. “They told me the building would be lined with people trying to purchase season tickets. That first day we sold two. I knew we were in big trouble.”
    23. Adirondack coach Barry Melrose, now of ESPN fame, called the folding ‘poetic justice’. “We’re in a rival league so as far as that is concerned, I’m glad. They shouldn’t have come into our area. But as a player, I hate to see any players – any people – out of work.”
    24. The Capital District Islanders decide to honor Choppers season tickets. They reportedly received about 200 of them.
    25. Lots of Choppers had or would gain NHL experience over the years. Among the most successful was Paul Laus who would play for the Florida Panthers for a decade, and Torrie Robertson who played 442 NHL games, and Mike Blaisdell who played 343 NHL games.

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    12 Eastern Hockey League Barns That Still Exist Today

    12 Eastern Hockey League Barns That Still Exist Today

    The Eastern Hockey League (EHL) existed from 1933-1973, and was a truly classic time in American hockey outside of the NHL. Many of the teams and players in the league served as inspirations -- or even extras -- for the movie Slapshot, the league existed in small cities, and towns where the teams were truly a part of the fabric of the locale, and featured a rough and tumble old school style of play. While the league itself is long gone, some of the arenas still exist and host hockey to this day.

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