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Plenty of gifts for the hockey fan near you

by Adam Schwartz / NHL.com
Not sure what to get that hockey-crazed fan in your life? NHL.com has provided more holiday assists than Marc Savard and can help you supply the NHL fan in your life with the perfect gift. 

Player apparel is flying off the shelves at Shop.nhl.com, but there still are authentic jerseys and name-and-number T-shirts in stock. Friday, in a special one-day sale, Shop.NHL.com is offering 10 percent off player apparel for one purchase, 15 percent for two purchases and 20 percent for three purchases. 

Need some help with what player's jersey might light up the face of that special fan in your life; let's consult some experts.

NHL Director of E-Commerce and Development Joslin Warren notes that it is no surprise that a pair of high-profile Penguins and Alexander Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals star left wing, top the best-selling list.

"It's the usual suspects that top the list, particularly Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin," Warren said. "Obviously, the Penguins are one of the more popular teams and are probably in the top-three in sales and Sidney Crosby, being the most popular player; of course he's going to be a top seller. Ovechkin is a top-seller, as well, and the Capitals were one of our top-10 teams in sales last season."

Along with the superstars of the League, Manager of E-Commerce and Development Frank Sexton sees some of the popular up-and-coming players are also grabbing fans' attention. Among those players are Boston's Milan Lucic and Marc Staal of the New York Rangers.

"Lucic has picked up a lot of steam," Sexton said. "We have been selling a lot of his jerseys lately. I think the Bruins' hot play and Lucic's rough-and-tough style, as well as being a skill player, makes him popular. Marc Staal has picked up a lot this year for the Rangers."

Staal's teammate, Nikolai Zherdev, also has seen his jersey become a high-demand item since arriving on Broadway.

"Any time there's a new player for a team, their jersey sells more," Sexton said. "Like Zherdev has been a popular jersey this season after he was traded to the Rangers from Columbus."

While pre-made jerseys such as Zherdev's are popular, shop.nhl.com also offers custom personalization of NHL sweaters.

"We have a tool called the custom configuration on our Web site," Warren said. "When a customer goes onto our Web site, they can pick out how they want to customize their jersey. It walks the customer through a three-step process of customizing a jersey." 

Sexton recognizes that not every player has a pre-made jersey waiting around to be sold, which is why personalizing jerseys can be such an effective tool. 

"The advantage of customizing jerseys brings you the ability to get a fourth-line player's jersey or you can get the star player. It's your choice. Or, you could put your name and number."

Those who prefer a classic look, however, might prefer throwback T-shirts, which honor retired players of past teams. These distressed, vintage T-shirts honor old-time stars, such as Eddie Shore and Gordie Howe, to more recent retirees, such as Scott Stevens and Ron Francis. When it comes to this item, though, the most popular player is surprising.

"Last spring, we introduced the alumni player T-shirts," Sexton said. "They are great because they help make people remember players they grew up watching. We have about 35 or 40 players in this product. The most popular is Dino Ciccarelli, which is a green (Minnesota) North Stars shirt."

While Ciccarelli's green North Stars jersey lives on in vintage fame, players who played more recently are more likely to receive this nostalgic honor when their number is retired.

"Luc Robitaille and Glenn Anderson also have vintage T-shirts," Sexton said. "What we try to do when a player's number is getting retired soon -- like Glenn Anderson's was -- we will introduce Glenn Anderson's shirt. It's a great program and retirement nights are big. Last year, Brian Leetch night in New York was huge for us."

Contact Adam Schwartz at aschwartz@nhl.com

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