Jersey Fouls is our ongoing exploration of the rules and etiquette for proper hockey jersey creation and exhibition. If you spot what you think may be a foul in your arena, email a photo to us at email@example.com for inclusion in future installment.
San Jose has long been considered the West Coast hub of Jersey Fouls, both egregious and creative. The jersey above certainly belongs in the latter category, as San Jose Sharks season-ticket holder Kyle Brown explains after witnessing it at a recent game:
I had to talk to this guy and the conversation went something along these lines:
Me: Excuse me? Is that a chain mail Ryane Clowe jersey?
Him: Um, yeah
Me: Did you make it yourself? (Maybe one of the five dumbest questions ever asked.)
Him: Yeah man, I did.
Me: How long did it take you?
Him: About 250 Hours...
The detail on the thing was incredible. Every link dyes the perfect shade of teal, black, orange, etc... I think this gets an EPIC PASS. Who spends 250 hours making a chain mail jersey?
That guy does, apparently.
It was a summer project for a Sharks fan named Nik Rode, a.k.a. "Metal Mind" from the venerable HF Boards, who posted images of his work earlier this year and wrote:
For those interested, it's anodized aluminum. There are about 23,000 rings in total and it weighs just about 11 pounds. Altogether (planning and actual construction time) it took about 275 hours.
I lose some hair whenever putting it on or taking it off, but only a strand or two. While it's on, it doesn't catch at all. Movement wise, it doesn't lock up or anything like that. It feels something like a heavy jacket. And the best part, if one ring gets scratched or falls off, it's a matter of about 30 seconds to replace it. In the meantime, it's just a small (1/4" by 1/4") hole.
Chainmail also turns your whole body into a radiator, so the worry would be getting too cold, not too hot. Luckily, I'm comfy down to about 45 degrees.
And, obviously, completely prepared if there's a medieval joust that breaks out during the game; or, come to think of it, if there's a shark attack ...
Nik emailed us with more:
After I decided to make the jersey in the spring it came down to three players I felt belonged on a chainmail jersey: Clowe, Murray or Nichol. As Nichol left and I wasn't too keen on making a Blues jersey, and I wasn't sure I had enough teal rings for a single digit number on the back, I decided on Clowe. Changing it to another player would probably take about 30 hours, but I could reuse all of the rings so it wouldn't be too much of a problem.
I worked on it about 3-4 hours a day after work and about 8 hours a day on the weekends (which the fiancee was none to happy about) to get it finished in time for the season. I wore it to the Shark intraclub game before the preseason and after going through one of the autograph lines Burns ended up detaining me and having McGinn take a picture with his phone. The two of them (and Clowe) ended up tweeting that picture. Every game I go to I get 2 or 3 people asking basically the same series of questions as Kyle, sometimes with a "Can I touch it?" thrown in. And if anyone is going to be at a Sharks game and wants to see it first hand, I'm at about half of the games in section 212 (the next one I'll be at is against the Avs on the 15th).
We'll obviously leave the final judgment to you here, but this chain mail sweater looks so much like a regulation jersey that we're leaning towards a PASS. (Also, frankly, because we're pretty sure this man owns a broad sword and would hunt us down to brain thee if we FAILed him …)
By the way: Nik is willing to make some jerseys by commission. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone is interested.