COLE HARBOUR, Nova Scotia -- If any residents of this town of a little more than 25,000 people went looking for a last-minute purchase of a Colorado Avalanche jersey with No. 29 on the back Sunday -- the day before Nathan MacKinnon plays against his idol, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, for the first time -- they went home disappointed.
While Crosby-related memorabilia has been a huge seller dating back to his days with Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior League, stores in Cole Harbour and neighboring towns are moving MacKinnon merchandise about as fast as they can get it.
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"The Nathan MacKinnon jerseys ... they're sold," said Matt Mroz, 18, who grew up down the street from MacKinnon and sharpens skates at Cleve's, the sporting goods store in Cole Harbour, when he isn't a first-year engineering student at a local university. "We had probably close to 20. Before the season we had four Avalanche jerseys and then after the first game [the MacKinnon jerseys] came and we sold out in about two days. The [Halifax] Mooseheads jerseys have been going like crazy. I think we have one left, and that's just a Mooseheads jersey."
Green and red MacKinnon jerseys with the No. 22 on them from his days winning the Memorial Cup with the Mooseheads are indeed available. Burgandy and blue sweaters, with the No. 29, not so much.
Sports Fanatic, a sports memorabilia store in the Mic Mac Mall in neighboring Dartmouth, had two of Colorado's third jersey (blank) Sunday and has an order in for two dozen MacKinnons and more blank ones of each style. One sales representative said he's fearful they might not show up until near the end of November, because the demand across Canada has been so high.
Lids in the same mall didn't have any Avalanche hats after MacKinnon was drafted, but a sales rep said the American-based company didn't know about the connection. They were sold out on Sunday too.
Pro Hockey Line, a hockey superstore in Dartmouth Crossing, had three size small Avalanche jerseys (none with MacKinnon on the back). A sales rep said the lettering kit for MacKinnon has been ordered, as has more blank Avs sweaters so they can produce them in-house.
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"Nathan has been the hot topic here lately, but especially people who come from out of town -- they have to get Crosby stuff," Mroz said. "You always see people having pictures out by the welcome sign, stuff like that. It is cool that we have two of the top draft picks in the last 10 years. It is good for business too, I guess."
There were jersey-style t-shirts of MacKinnon in all three stores, and they were displayed prominently. Actual jerseys couldn't be sold until he made his NHL debut, and now stores are doing what they can to get them in stock.
"It was the same thing with Sidney and the Penguins," said Brendan Duke, a Cole Harbour native and current member of the Mooseheads who has been teammates with MacKinnon at multiple youth levels. "I've seen people wearing No. 29 Avalanche t-shirts now too. People take a lot of pride in those guys."