Monday, 1 March 2021

A Fun Addition

If there's one player whose career pretty much fizzled after one specific moment, that player might be Todd Bertuzzi. At one point in his career, Bertuzzi was a premier power forward for the Vancouver Canucks and, along with linemates Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund, was a feared competitor and scorer in the league. While the Steve Moore incident was the catalyst for Bertuzzi's trade out of Vancouver, one would be hard-pressed to deny that the former first-round pick by the New York Islanders had a pretty solid career going on Vancouver Island until that night against the Colorado Avalanche where things got out of hand in very bad way.

To kick things off with this new project where we peek inside closets for favorite hockey jerseys, I'll open up my closet a little and pull out this jersey that gets me more "why" questions than any other. Often, it's "Why do you have that?" or "Why Bertuzzi?" that I hear from people knowing what we know, but there are the occasional "Why Florida?" and "What's wrong with you?" questions that I field as well. I'm not saying my decision was smart, but you need to understand the rules I live by when it comes to my jersey collection.

The first rule I live by is that only people who wore the jersey can have their names on the back. That incorporates things like era in which players played, style of jersey, manufacturer of jersey, and being on the roster for that specific jersey. In other words, you won't find a Selanne Jets 2.0 jersey in my closet because (a) he didn't play for the team during that era, and (b) he never wore a Jets adidas- or Reebok-branded uniform during his Jets days.

The second rule I live by is that goalie cuts are for goalies and player cuts are for players. I do have one goalie on the back of a jersey that is meant for a player, but that jersey holds a great deal of sentimental value to me and I refuse to change it.

The third rule I have is that jersey cameos or universally-hated jerseys will always take precedence in my collection over popular players and trendy teams. Combining the two factors make the jerseys even better. For example, my Pooh Bear Bruins jersey has Bryan Berard on the back of it. Berard played one season in Boston wearing the unpopular Pooh bear jersey, so this jersey ranks highly in my collection.

The Todd Bertuzzi Florida Panthers jersey I own in the image above is accurate to the era and manufacturer - the Panthers wore the Reebok jerseys with the Reebok logo during Bertuzzi's time there - and he played just seven games for the Panthers in his career - a jersey cameo. The catch here is that this jersey didn't arrive in my possession as a Bertuzzi jersey, but was made into one thanks to the first jersey rule.

I purchased this jersey as part of a lot of jerseys that saw me acquire two additional Panthers jerseys and one Golden State Warriors throwback jersey. On all three Panthers jerseys was the name of the person who owned the jerseys. That person never once played in the NHL which breaks one of my rules, so a name change would be needed. Based upon era and manufacturer, it was easy to narrow down this jersey from the 2006-07 season thanks to NHL Uniform Database.

Knowing the year, I took a quick peek over at HockeyDB for the 2006-07 Florida Panthers roster for a #44, and Todd Bertuzzi had worn the number in that very season for his seven games of service. Had he not been in Florida for those three weeks of hockey, it would have been much harder to swap the numbers out for a player that season. Maybe David Booth as #46 or Ruslan Salei at #24? Either way, I got lucky that Bertuzzi was on the Panthers that year wearing this specific Reebok-made jersey!

That's not a remarkable story, but what is a more entertaining yarn is that I was completely oblivious to the entire Todd Bertuzzi idea when I was in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2010 for the US Pond Hockey Championship. I, your resident idiot, decided that I'd bring a few jerseys with me to the Pond Hockey Championship to wear as wandered around the site. One of those jerseys was the Todd Bertuzzi Florida Panthers jersey.

If we go back to the 2003 NHL Playoffs, the hate for Todd Bertuzzi in Minnesota was born that year. According to this article by Dan Myers on and Moment #4 by Glen Andresen on, this spurred the hatred:
Prior to Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals, Bertuzzi and some Vancouver Canuck teammates walked through the Xcel Energy Center lobby where hopeful Wild fans were in line to purchase tickets for Game Six. Rather than be on his merry way, Bertuzzi yelled at the fans for wasting their time because there wasn't going to be a Game Six.
Not only was there a Game Six, but there was a Game Seven too. The Wild crushed the Canucks in Game Five in Vancouver 7-2, and followed that stirring win with a 5-1 throttling of the Canucks at Xcel Energy Center in that Game Six that Bertuzzi said wouldn't happen. With the Canucks reeling, the Wild finished them off with a come-from-behind 4-2 win in Game Seven at GM Place.

Wild fans never let Todd Bertuzzi live that one down, and your truly is looking like an idiot wandering around Minneapolis in a Todd Bertuzzi Florida Panthers jersey while people stare at him. Yes, I noticed the stares. No, it didn't dawn on me that I was wearing Public Enemy #1's jersey inside the lion's den.

Needless to say, I survived the day without incident, but I did get stopped by one person at the Pond Hockey Championship who told me, "That series was the greatest hockey memory of my life," which confused me at the time until native Minnesotan Rick, who was at the championship with me, clued me in at dinner.

Nice job, Teebz.

Nevertheless, I love the jersey and will continue to wear it proudly in all places not named Minnesota or Colorado. Do you have a jersey like this? As stated yesterday, I'm looking to feature all sorts of weird and wonderful stories about a jersey in your closet that you love! If you want to get in on this fun, please email me a front and back picture of your jersey with the story about why it's your favorite jersey. If you're not using the link above, email to "" with the subject "Jersey Project" since you might do this off your phone which has a camera to capture those images of your jersey.

More jerseys will follow this month, so check back for more jersey fun!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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