Game-used hockey jerseys, sticks, gloves, and pucks will take center stage on Saturday, March 18, at the 17th Annual Northern Virginia Game-Worn Hockey Jersey Expo.
About 40 dealers and a few hundred collectors from around the country and Canada are expected to descend upon the Holiday Inn – Washington Dulles at Sterling, Virginia, from 9 AM-5 PM. The gathering will include plenty of hockey stories, banter about the upcoming NHL playoffs, and of course, a collector’s dream supply of game-used memorabilia and collectibles.
“Some stuff that people bring you never see except at different expos,” show promoter Francis W. Rady told SC Daily. “We usually have a nice collection of Capitals jerseys in the room, so this draws people in too. A dealer will set up with hockey cards because there’s usually a hockey tournament in the area, and it’s been a big success.”
The MeiGray Group, which Rady credits with doing “an amazing job” of authenticating memorabilia, will have a table at the show.
From humble beginnings, Rady has grown the Northern Virginia Expo into one of the most anticipated events for game-worn hockey collectors. Eight people, including the dealers, attended the very first show at the Holiday Inn.
“I said, ‘Well, we tried,’ and thought it would be a one-day event,” Rady recalls. “We started talking to other collectors and dealers about doing another expo the following year, and it just started to grow from there. The passion everyone has shown is what keeps the show going. Now we have over 40 tables.”
The show is well-known for its supply of vintage game-worn materials, ranging from current gamers to those from defunct minor league teams and relocated NHL franchises like the Quebec Nordiques, Minnesota North Stars and Hartford Whalers.
“I enjoyed seeing all the jerseys and equipment, and listening to folks talk about the history of how they acquired their items,” says Bill Bride, who attended last year’s event. “I’m a Capitals fan and love seeing their old jerseys and gear. It brings back good memories as my dad was an original season ticket holder from 1974-’80 and we used to go to the Capital Centre to watch the Caps.”
Some attendees will also have their collections on display. Rady, who grew up in Boston, will show off his Bruins memorabilia, though he notes his items are not for sale or trade. Some collections will include game-used jerseys dating back to the NHL’s Original Six.
“There will be some amazing collections,” Rady said. “We’ve put a lot of work into our expo with the help from some of our great collectors and dealers.”
The event is open to the public and there’s no admission charge.