Our local Reading Royals Hockey Team is getting national attention and this time, it’s not because of the Kelly Cup! It’s all about what they plan to wear for their home game against the Elmira Jackals beginning at 7:05 p.m. on December 14. Spreading holiday cheer and helping benefit kids in need, the Reading Royals will hit the ice wearing classic ugly holiday sweaters.
O.k., so they aren’t actually “sweaters.” They are regular game jerseys but designed to look just like one of grandma’s kitschy knitted creations.
The idea for the sweaters came when talking about ‘ugly sweater parties’ during the Royal’s regular season planning meeting and merchandise manager Gregg Lewis ran with it. Originally, team general manager Mark Wallace HATED this jersey. He asked Lewis to come up with a ‘tamer’ version. They took both designs to team Captains Yannick Tifu and Ethan Cox who decided that the original “super ugly” version was ‘the one.’ They thought it would get the most attention and it has!
The Royals sent out a press release including a photo of the shirt design several weeks ago. Hockey web-blog Puck Daddy picked up the story and other national news sites started carrying it from there. Even NHL Live was talking about it!
Nate Scott, of USA Today, wrote “These hockey sweaters, which appeared to be designed by an inebriated person using Microsoft Paint, are … ugly Christmas sweaters in every sense of the phrase.” He added, “When I saw them the first time, I shook my head. Now, I can’t stop staring. What does this say about me? I don’t just want one of those ugly sweaters. I need one of those ugly sweaters!”
Mike Singer of CBSSports.com wrote, “They released photos of these incredible ugly Christmas sweater jerseys that deserve all the acclaim they're bound to get.” He continued, “Fans will have the chance to purchase the game-worn jerseys and have them signed, but why in the world would you ever want to tarnish such a wonderful holiday garment?”
Alex Ott, Assistant Sports Producer of Philly.com wrote, “Jersey gimmicks are no stranger to minor league affiliates, but this is one of the rare few that actually seems like a great idea. The jerseys are just a small part of a night with a much bigger purpose, gathering donations for Toys for Tots.”
Made by Athletic Knit, in Canada, approximately seventy adult sized shirts will be on sale online after the game at www.royalshockey.com. Pricing starts at $399.00 – with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit Toys for Tots! A limited number of shirts are also available with the purchase of a 50-ticket package offered specifically for the December 14 game.
“We feature specialty jerseys in each season, with the hope that they draw attention and give the fans the opportunity to own a novelty team item. We try to align them to benefit a charitable cause when we coordinate other fundraisers,” commented Mark Wallace. “I hope the fans enjoy this along with the night's other festivities including a Teddy Bear toss giveaway and a post-game ham shoot with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Toys for Tots”.
The Royals will host Elmira at the Santander Arena (formerly Sovereign Center), 700 Penn Street, Reading, PA 19602. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Tickets are available at www.royalshockey.com or by calling 610-898-PUCK. For any addition information, including 50-seat packages, contact Heather Adams at 610-898-7214 or firstname.lastname@example.org