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Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How to Spot a Fake or Counterfeit NHL Hockey Jersey

Pittsburgh Penguins Jersey Logo
The popularity of the Pittsburgh Penguins and their star players such as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have led to an increase in counterfeit Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys. Such jerseys are not licensed by the NHL or the Pittsburgh Penguins. Some people do not mind these jerseys and like the fact that they are able to get an authentic-looking jersey at a lower price. That's fine.

However, this guide will help out those people who want to purchase an official NHL hockey jersey by supplying some tips on how to spot counterfeit jerseys.

The jersey is the wrong color, pattern or shade:

This is one of the easiest ways to spot a counterfeit jersey. Take a look at the players and their jerseys. Look at photos and videos from the games. Pay attention to the colors and styles of the jerseys. The jersey you are looking to buy should match exactly.

I have seen many, many current Penguins jerseys for sale that do not use Vegas gold. Sometimes the gold on the jerseys is yellow or another shade of gold. These are not official jerseys. When looking at the blue Penguins third jersey the triangle behind the Penguin on the official jerseys is NOT Vegas gold. It is closer to the yellow that was on the Penguins jerseys prior to the adoption of Vegas gold.

Also note the style of the current jerseys, including the lines and patterns. If the jersey you are looking at does not match, it is a counterfeit.

Also, if the jersey you are buying has laces on the collar, make sure they are the right color and that the official jersey actually has a laced collar.

The jersey is missing the appropriate symbols and tags:

This is another easy way to spot a counterfeit. All current NHL jerseys have the NHL shield logo near the collar and the Reebok logo on the back, below the collar. The jersey should also have RBK and NHL written on the tag. The NHL logo should be the current silver one, not the old orange one.

"Authentic" jerseys do not have a stitched in tag on the lower left side of the front of the jersey. "Premier"/replica jerseys do. This tag has the NHL shield, the RBK logo and the jersey size on it. "Authentic" jerseys should have a "fight strap" sewn into the back.

"Premier" jerseys are not made with the same materials as the "Authentic" jerseys, and they are not identical to the jerseys the players wear, but they are still official, licensed NHL jerseys. These jerseys are made for fans to wear as a cheaper alternative to an "Authentic" jersey. This link from explains the difference between "Authentic" and "Premier" jerseys.

Also note that some fake jerseys add on the NHL and RBK logos to look more official. Check out the look, stitching and quality of these logos and compare them to the ones shown on Counterfeit jerseys usually have poor quality logos and stitching.

All official NHL merchandise contains tags or stickers with a holographic NHL logo. Check if this is present and that it looks official.

The jersey is made by a different company than it should be:

All current NHL jerseys are made by Reebok (RBK). If the jersey you are looking at is a current jersey but it is labeled with Koho, CCM, Nike or any other manufacturer, it is a counterfeit. If you are buying an older style jersey, is a great resource that will tell you which company name should be on the official jersey from that year.

The font and numbers are different

Each NHL team has a unique style of lettering and numbering their jerseys. Take a look at some pictures from NHL games and look at the font and style of the letters and numbers. Are the numbers outlined in another color or two? Is the name straight on the jersey or is it curved? What font is used?

On the current Pittsburgh Penguins jerseys the font used for the numbers and the name is the same and the name is written straight across the back of the jersey. The "C" and "A" on the front of the jersey (for Captains and Alternates) is a different font. It is rounded rather than squared off. An example of this is available here.

The price is far below what you would expect to pay

NHL hockey jerseys are quite expensive. Jerseys with a player's name and number on the back are even more expensive. If the price of the jersey you are looking at seems to good to be true, it probably is.

The jersey is poor quality

If the jersey you are looking at is made of a cheap mesh or other cheap fabric, it is likely a fake. Check the stitching, the logo size and the quality of the numbering. Make sure any secondary logos that should be on the jersey are there. Obviously, if the jersey has any spelling mistakes we would advise against buying it.

Note that the replica "Premier" jerseys may not have stitched on numbers or logos. If the jersey is a replica it could still be an officially licensed jersey despite not having stitching. You will need to examine the jersey fully and ensure that it is being sold from a licensed dealer to determine if it is a counterfeit or not.

Buy from trusted, respectable dealers

Major sports stores should have official NHL jerseys. Find a store that is an official licensed NHL retailer. They will have official jerseys. It is easier to spot an official jersey when looking at it in person than if you are shopping on the Internet.

If buying a jersey online, choose a well-known company.,, River City Sports, and are a few choices. Make sure the store you are shopping from is a licensed dealer.

If buying off of eBay or another similar site, beware. Sometimes the photo of the jersey will be taken from or another respectable source and it will be used to hide the appearance of the actual jersey. Look for listings that show original photos of the actual jersey, not a stock photo. Also, listings from places such as China could be more suspect than a listing from the United States or Canada. This is not to say that all jerseys from China are counterfeit, but many of them are. Check the seller's feedback rating and comments before buying anything. See if the seller is listing where the jersey is from. Check how many jerseys that seller is offering. If they are only selling one they are likely getting rid of an unwanted Christmas gift. If they are selling hundreds, they are probably running a counterfeit jersey operation. Again, if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

These are a few tips that should help you out when buying NHL jerseys. If you have any more tips please list them in the comments.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Question: Where are the jerseys manufactured? I have some that say Indonesia and some that say Canada, and yet I know some of each are knock-offs and some are legit. Do they have manufacturers in both places? Or do they just make the different "variations" out of different material?

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Anonymous said...

Who Cares id rather pay $70 then pay $400 and looks and feels identical .Thank god for Fake Jerseys.

Cheap NHL Jerseys said...

The fakes are almost as good as the real ones. If your friends are none the wiser, then save yourself some cash.

I have both fakes and real ones. Wear the real one to games, the fake one at home.


Anonymous said...

So why is it that no one ever seems to address WHY some guy overseas can come pretty close for 10% of the price we pay RBK? $329 vs. $32 bucks seems to me leaves quite a bit of room for profit? I know they pay for the rights, but seriously? almost $300 more? Maybe RBK isn't managing the production tightly enough and has left room for a competitor that can't compete otherwise because of a monopoly...just sayin!

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Anonymous said...

Something I found out today too that if a jersey is official, even if its a replica, it will have the Reebok (RBK) logo with the size of the jersey on the front side of the jersey, at the bottom left or right hand side in the banner, counterfeit jerseys may not have that.

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