The Ultimate Guide to Buying Jerseys for Your Hockey Team
It's time for new jerseys for your hockey team.
Team hockey jerseys are important. They inspire fans, unite players, and have the capacity to intimidate opponents. Your jerseys will represent your club and your community.
Everyone knows jerseys are important to the success of their team but the actual ordering and purchasing can be cumbersome and tedious. Anyone who has purchased custom team jerseys can recall a time when their order didn’t quite work out as they expected – numbers were backwards, names spelled wrong, sizes were mixed up, or colours were wrong. Maybe the jerseys didn’t arrive until the last game of the season.
There are dozens of things that can go wrong with your custom team jersey order.
That’s why we built this guide.
The Ultimate Guide To Buying Jerseys for Your Hockey Team will help you get it right every time. Regardless of your jersey supplier, you will be able to use this guide to make sure you get your jerseys how you want them and when you need them.
Everything you need to know about buying jerseys but didn’t know you should ask.
Let's get this party started...
Guide Contents (Click to jump to section)
- Introduction: Choose the Right Jerseys for Your Budget and Your Team
- How Jerseys Are Constructed
- Adding Personality to Your Jerseys
- Timelines: Order to delivery
- Surprising Pro Tip – Taped Up Numbers are Not in Vogue
- Adding Artwork – Let the Magic Begin!
- Handsewn Jersey Customization Takes Time
- Common Questions and Problems
- Get Ready to Order Jerseys Like a Boss!
1. Choose the Right Jerseys for Your Budget and Your Team
Like all general managers, you must build your championship team jerseys on a budget. Some budgets are high, some are low. You need to find the right jersey that fits your budget. Knowing how much you have to spend will help you narrow your focus and save you time.
If you know how much you can spend, you can literally ask your provider to provide you with the best options for that price range.
Pro Tip: Be upfront. Tell your supplier how much you have to spend so they can get you a quote that fits your pocketbook quickly. No sense getting a quote for a Ferrari when you have a budget for a Honda.
How much to spend on a jersey depends on several factors:
- Who is paying for them? The team or the individual players/parents? Do you buy them every year?
- How long do you need them to last? (i.e for a tournament or regular season play)
- How competitive is the league?
- League regulations
- Personal preference and/or team aspirations
These are just a few considerations, there are many more. The point is, start off by setting your budget.
HOW MUCH FOR JERSEYS?
We get asked every day, ‘how much for a jersey’. The answer is… it depends. Jerseys fall into three broad price categories (including customization):
- Low Cost $15-$40
- Mid Range $40-$100
- High End: $100 and up
Most jerseys are made out of 100% polyester. From there, jerseys come in a lightweight (‘practice jersey), mid-weight, pro-weight.
Higher quality jerseys will have reinforced shoulders and/or elbows. This means manufacturers have inserted an additional layer of fabric on these high impact areas.
Pro Tip: Industry Terminology: Single Shoulder / Single Elbow (no reinforcement). Double Shoulders, Double Elbows (reinforced)
Pro Tip: Always wash your jerseys in cold water and hang to dry.
2. Jersey Options: Stock Vs. Custom Jerseys
Stock jerseys are those jerseys that manufacturers make in bulk and you can order them off-the-shelf. Blank stock jerseys can be available quickly depending on urgency and stock levels. Until recently, stock jersey colour options were limited to basic colours, black, white, blue, red etc. Nowadays, clients have dozens of stock styles and colours from which to choose!
Custom jerseys are those that are designed and sewn completely from scratch and come in two types: 1. Custom ‘Cut and Sew’ or 2. Custom Sublimation.
Sublimation is a popular technique which gives you the ability to incorporate virtually any design or colour combination into a jersey. We’ve all seen these jerseys – Don Cherry jacket-jerseys, Tuxedos, Batman jerseys, etc. Designs range from zany to creative to subtle and simple. The process involves transferring colours onto white polyester fabrics.
One awesome advantage with sublimation: All the logos and numbers are included in the cost. Adding names usually will cost $4-$5 extra per jersey.
Custom Cut and Sew are jerseys made from scratch based on your colours and your preferred striping pattern.
Cut & Sew jerseys usually cost more than sublimated jerseys because you need to add customization – cresting, names, numbers, separately.
In short, stock jerseys are great because they are low cost, come in a variety of colours and can be made quickly.
Custom jerseys are great because you literally design them from scratch and bring out the personality of your team. Custom jerseys tend to cost more and you will wait longer but as they say ‘good things come to those who wait!’
Pro Tip: Always ask for a size chart or sizing set. If the players are buying their own jerseys you may want to get a size set so they can try on a sample. If ordering for a large club, the size chart is usually sufficient. Here is a link to a blog we made with size chart and helpful sizing videos!
Fun Fact: Jerseys are also referred to as Sweaters or Tarps!
|Stock||Cut & Sew||Sublimation|
|Reorder Minimums||No Minimum||6||No Minimum|
|Styles and Colour Options||Lots available but Limited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Timelines||3 weeks or sooner||4-5 weeks||4-7 weeks|
3. Adding Personality To Your Jersey
We LOVE personalizing jerseys! It’s what we do best and it’s the most fun. This is your chance to have a big impact and truly bring out the personality of your team!
Do you want your crest to have lots of colours or keep it simple? What type of font fits your team personality? Do you want numbers or names sewn on like the pros?
Jersey Customization options, also known as ‘cresting options’, ‘decoration’, are like options on your car. Do you want the base package or the deluxe version?
Starting at the top, most professional hockey teams go with Pro Twill stitched fabric numbers sewn on the jerseys and all crests are embroidered. Some pro teams have introduced even more advanced textures but we’ll leave that with the pros for now.
CRESTING OPTIONS FOR YOUR LOGO
Logos are typically found on the front chest and shoulders. However, they can be placed on sleeves, bottom hems, and upper chest areas (check out the European jerseys if you want to see how many areas on the jersey logos can be placed!).
- Embroidered crests – Most expensive and most professional looking. The entire crest is stitched or layered with Twill fabric. Costs will depend on a) stitch count (how many stitches are used) b) number of crests ordered.
- Sublimation to Pro Twill patch – Our most popular crest application. It is popular for logos with multiple colours and the cost can be 50% of an embroidered crest. Your logo is heat transferred on to a white twill fabric and sewn to the jersey for a professional feel!
- Silk Screening – Usually the lowest cost option – in particular for logos with one or two colours. Often a preferred option for large volume orders (over 50 jerseys)
- Front Lettering – When teams opt for their club names or initials on the front of the sweater it can be pretty vintage look. Front lettering can be applied with vinyl heat press (screen printing) or Pro Twill
Pro Tip: You can combine cresting types. For example, you can go with an embroidered front crest and, to keep costs down, go with sublimation to pro twill crests for the shoulders.
NUMBERS AND NAMES
Every player loves having their own number and, when possible, their name on the jersey.
When adding names and numbers there are two types of applications:
- Vinyl Heat Press – low-cost option. Best used if you are looking to save money or if you want a lightweight jersey. Note: some suppliers may ‘screen print’ your numbers on the jersey instead of using vinyl heat press. Often it depends on which process they are more familiar with.
- Pro Twill Stitched – Twill is what the pros wear. You will pay a bit more for ‘sewn on’ numbers but to feel what the pros wear is often worth it.
Pro Tip: You cannot remove vinyl heat press names/numbers that have been pressed directly to the jersey. Vinyl is a plastic synthetic material. Your jerseys are polyester (kind of like plastic). When vinyl is applied it is literally melted into the jersey, the jersey material and vinyl melt together. If applied properly, vinyl will not peel off for many years ( it may crack down the road but should not peel).
Fonts add personality to your jersey. It’s fun to check out NHL team fonts and ask to match those fonts! Most suppliers default to a standard block font. If you look at the pros virtually every NHL team has a specific font that they use for their team; it gives their jerseys a unique look.
By adding ‘layers’ of twill you can enhance the look and feel (and cost) of your jersey. For example, the Los Angeles Kings add character to their fonts by using a two-layer (two colour) number. They go a step further by making the second layer a Glitter twill which sparkles in the light!
Pro Tip: Ask your supplier how big the back and/or sleeve numbers will be. NHL numbers are usually 11.5”-12” on the back and 4” on the sleeve. At Keener Jerseys, our standard size numbers are 11.5” back numbers and 4” sleeve numbers. Your jersey supplier may have a default option which is usually 10” back and 3” sleeve numbers.
When adding names to your jerseys ensure you DOUBLE check spelling. This is key and is part of our Ultimate Guide for Buying Team Hockey Jerseys Checklist.
Many club team jerseys require that names be placed on a name bar so they can be removed at the end of the season. If you need to remove the name bars, be sure to tell your supplier so they apply the name bar in such a way to make it easy to remove.
Pro Tip: Sending Your Player Information: Important! Non Negotiable!
If your supplier does not have an online form to submit player information (sizes, numbers, names) be sure to send your player information electronically.
Sending your information electronically ensures you have a record of the information you provided (in case there are questions about your order later). When sending always send in MS Excel format.
Sending as a text or taking a photo of a list on a napkin opens the door for errors. Also, sending in several versions of your order is going to increase the chance for errors. If you’ve made changes, ask for a final list from your supplier to ensure they have prepared it correctly.
4. Timelines: Order To Delivery
Custom team jerseys take time to create. Consider the following order timeline:
- 1-2 weeks to get the team on board with colours, styles and budget.
- 1-2 weeks to get your order in place with your supplier (exchange ideas, mockups, etc)
- Production timelines are typically 3-4 weeks for stock jerseys and 6-8 weeks for custom ‘cut and sew’ or custom sublimation jerseys (usually from the date of deposit and/or artwork approval).
- Requirements will vary from supplier to supplier.
Timelines will vary depending on the time of year. Busy seasons (fall and spring) take longer than orders placed in the off-seasons (Jan/Feb or July).
It is very important that you communicate when you need the jerseys in-hand. Even if you are ordering well ahead of schedule.
Pro Tip: If ordering jerseys for a specific game or tournament: Order such that you will receive your jerseys 1 FULL week prior to the date your team will wear the jerseys. If possible. If something goes wrong you may need a few days to pull together a new set of jerseys (either a basic set of practice jerseys or reuse an old set).
Have a contingency plan. Let’s face it, even the best-laid plans can go array. Make sure you have a fall back option in case there is an event that there is a delay or problem (ie major snow storm)
Pro Tip: Get your delivery date in writing, email is best or written on the invoice. Ask for it it is important. If you are getting your jerseys shipped to make sure they’re timelines includes shipping if you need the jerseys in-hand for a specific date.
5. Taped-Up Numbers Are Not In Vogue
Not so long ago leagues allowed players to change numbers with stick tape numbers. For most leagues, that’s no longer allowed. Need a number on a jersey? Bring it to your supplier and ask them to apply a number (phone first, some suppliers are not able to do this in-house).
6. Artwork and Logos, Let The Magic Begin!
Do you have a logo? If ‘yes’ is your logo available in a high-resolution digital file format?
You will need it in high-resolution format. High-resolution Vector format allows for the logo to scale (print in large size while keeping the image crisp/sharp).
If your logo is not high resolution, that should not be a problem, most suppliers will ‘vectorize’ it for you (Make it high resolution). Standard accepted file types: .ai, .eps, .pdf.
Don’t have a logo? No problem. Here are some great ways to get a logo for our team:
- Search the internet (duh!) sounds simple, yes but there is a great way to do it. Take your team name and add the word ‘logo’ then click on IMAGEs above the search field. For example, an obscure name ‘ice dogs logos’ will turn up thousands of logos. Most teams can take an existing logo and repurpose it or make minor edits and whola! Quick team logo!
- Create a logo from scratch. We do this every day at Keener Jerseys. It’s a lot of fun to create your vision.
- Hire a designer. There are plenty of designers or consider using an online logo design service, for example, Vistaprint.ca, 99designs.com, Fiverr.com.
- Ask a teammate! Graphic designers are everywhere these days and some may be on your team.
Pro Tip: If you are having your logo made or ‘vectorized’ by your supplier be sure to ask for their policy on your rights to your logo. Some jersey suppliers will not send you an electronic version of your logo if they consider the logo their ‘intellectual property’. Other jersey suppliers may require you to pay additional fees to get it. The Keener Jerseys policy to send it to our clients upon request.
7. Handsewn Jersey Customization Takes Time
Keener has built a professional production team that is focused on making your jerseys the best in the game. We’ve hand drawn every NHL team’s on-ice font from each era to give our clients the closest feeling to being a pro as possible!
Each jersey is hand sewn specially for you and your team. Being that your jerseys are custom made, be sure to allow for the time, as outlined in section 4. Timelines: Order to delivery.
8. Common Questions & Mistakes to Avoid
Leave nothing to chance! Print off our checklist and feel confident you’ve nailed it!
9. Get Ready to Order Like a Boss!
You are ready! If we had a Keener Jerseys Certified Jersey Buyer certificate we’d give it to you! Remember ordering jerseys should be fun. You are creating the image that will define your team for years to come. Your players will thank you for it.