Thursday, December 9, 2010

Payday Memorabilia: Bill Downey jersey

First off, the essential playing career details.

Bill Downey
Right Wing
Born May 12 1981  -- Pittsburgh, PA
Height 6.01 -- Weight 180 -- Shoots R

                                        --- Regular Season --- 
Season   Team                    Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM
1999-00  Chicago Freeze          NAHL   47    4   11   15   49
2001-02  Pennsylvania State U    ACHA   26   12   16   28   29
2002-03  Pennsylvania State U    ACHA   32   15   20   35   21
2003-04  Johnstown Chiefs        ECHL    4    1    0    1   18
2003-04  Pennsylvania State U    ACHA   37   21   30   51   20
2004-05  Wheeling Nailers        ECHL    5    0    0    0    0
2004-05  Asheville Aces          SPHL    4    0    1    1   20
2004-05  Johnstown Chiefs        ECHL    2    0    0    0    0
2004-05  Richmond Riverdogs      UHL    15    2    2    4   21
2005-06  Wheeling Nailers        ECHL   44    4    3    7   13
2006-07  Reading Royals          ECHL    2    1    0    1    4
2007-08  Reading Royals          ECHL    1    0    0    0    2

Downey wore the blue and white with great distinction, averaging well over a point per game for his career, serving as captain in his senior year of 2003-04. And of course, there's those three ACHA national championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He was truly one of the great Icers of his era. Four years after his last game at Penn State, he returned as an assistant coach in 2008, a position he held for two seasons.

He left Penn State for a second time to become Harvard's director of hockey operations this season, the latest step in what's been a very successful (and mobile) post-playing career. It probably isn't logically deficient to think that Penn State will meet the Crimson for a weekend set or two come 2012. PSU, of course, will have dates galore available in those first two seasons as an NCAA D-I independent, just ask Alabama-Huntsville.

Oh, right, the jersey itself. As you can see from the patch on the back hem, it came from MeiGray, which is a great place to look if you want an Icers-related jersey that's a little bit different from the third jerseys and 1998-2000 models that everyone else wears - Curtiss Patrick and Justin DePretis are among those with pro jerseys on the site.

The Wheeling Nailers have one of the best, most recognizable logos in minor league hockey, and this jersey manages to avoid the usual pitfalls of minor league jerseys. Somehow, it even managed to escape that staple of jerseys in the ECHL or lower: the giant Best Western (or comparable) ad below the number - I'm sure this being a road jersey didn't hurt on that front. Borrowing the numbering style of the Penguins is a nice way to nod to the parent club without going overboard.

I have it on good authority that this particular jersey is from 2004-2005, not 2005-2006, which explains the fact that it has almost zero wear, as Downey only played five games with the Nailers that season. I'll be honest though, I very rarely wear it because it's a parachute. It's a 56, but from back when 56 meant something.

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