Coming Soon to a Panini America Hockey Product: Sweaters Fit for Kings

November 29, 2010

I couldn’t help but notice Panini America‘s Alex Carbajal living like a king (make that “King”) early last week, nattily festooned in the most majestic, special-edition Los Angeles Kings sweater I’d ever seen. It was the purple-reigning “vintage throwback” gem the Kings’ Drew Doughty wore on Oct. 9, 2010, in the game at Vancouver that celebrated the Canucks’ 40th anniversary.

It’s one of three sweaters from that game Panini America acquired directly from the Kings — in addition to ones donned by Jonathan Quick and Jonathan Bernier; the company will incorporate the resulting game-specific pieces into forthcoming hockey products, beginning, quite fittingly, with 2010-11 Crown Royale Hockey.

“I’ve always thought the best collectibles are those that generate conversation, that give collectors something to talk about,” says Al Muir, Panini America Hockey Brand Manager. “So I get a kick out of creating memorabilia cards that leave no doubt as to the origin of the swatch.

“We managed to create some controversy earlier this season through the purchase of several throwback jerseys worn by the Montreal Canadiens; when I caught the Kings-Canucks game on TV, I knew those L.A. throwbacks could create the same sort of excitement. They’ll definitely lead to the sort of swatches that will make even the most jaded collector stop and take notice, and that’s the sort of reaction we want to create with all of our hockey programs.”

The sweaters certainly made me stop and take notice. And the more notice I took, the more captivated I became. I think you’ll see what I mean.