While the NHL’s newest expansion team was set to make its debut Tuesday night in Las Vegas, MeiGray’s Barry Meisel was making sure everything used on the ice—or prepared for use—was properly authenticated. Interest in the inaugural Seattle Kraken game has been off the charts and collectors of both the team and NHL game-used gear are lining up for it.
Meisel traveled to Las Vegas, where the NHL’s last expansion team was hosting its newest in one of the two games that will launch the NHL’s 2021-22 season—its first “normal” 82-game season since 2018-19. His job was to oversee the authentication of jerseys, sticks, pucks and other items from Seattle’s first NHL regular season contest. It’s part of the company’s deal with the Kraken, which was announced last month.
“We intend to authenticate and help preserve the Kraken’s history from that first step on NHL ice,” Meisel remarked. The Kraken players changed jerseys after each period. Meisel told SC Daily that all were authenticated along with those worn in warmups and the sticks that were in each player’s hand when the game ended.
MeiGray has long held game-used contracts with numerous NHL teams, authenticating, marketing and selling gear to collectors around the world and the new Seattle franchise is its latest partner.
The company offers direct sales—even the chance to pre-order a game jersey and watch it being worn on the ice before it’s authenticated and delivered. Meisel says MeiGray has already received 350 requests from collectors who want to buy a game jersey at some point this year and that number will undoubtedly grow as the season gets underway.
MeiGray will open an online auction of items from the inaugural game later this week.
Exactly which jerseys from the first game would be game “worn” was a little uncertain as of Tuesday afternoon. The Kraken had five players in COVID protocol earlier in the week but most returned in time to take the ice in Las Vegas Tuesday night. As is often the case, jerseys created for players who don’t appear in a game will likely still be offered by MeiGray but listed as game “issued” rather than game worn.
The Kraken is the NHL’s 32nd franchise and the first to join the league since the Golden Knights in 2017 and their arrival has been a marketing bonanza. Sales of Kraken jerseys and other items on Fanatics’ website have surpassed the record-setting sales numbers set by the Vegas franchise in its first season.