Product Review: Sota Stick Jerseys
I’ve been playing for the same beer league team going on five season now. For the first four season we wore some simple league supplied jerseys with the league logo on them. It always bugged me that a bunch of grown men couldn’t pony up a few extra bucks to have some nice jerseys to look like a team, and not District-5. After our past winter season ended I approached our team manager, and asked him if I could come up with a jersey design for the team. He said he’d ask the fellas if they would be willing to pay for jerseys, and the response was an overwhelming yes.
Let me back up some. The team I play on is name the Hosers because many of the guys are active or retired firemen. Once I started playing on the team I always envisioned a logo where Hosers was written out in fire hose. I have a bit of a graphic design background so when I had time I put a logo together, I came up with the word ‘Hosers’ spelt out in script with a fire hose. The hose is connected to a hydrant, with a nozzle on the other end.
Once I had a logo I started playing with different jersey layouts. I’m not going to lie, I started with the Chicago template as I’m a Blackhawks fan. I’m also a fan of design though, and think there are some great looking jerseys out there. The color scheme would be red, white and black as those are the colors of the fire engines. I learned some jerseys I really like simply didn’t work with those colors, while others looked surprisingly good (San Jose with gold added as a fourth color). I added a shoulder patch to all my designs as well. The patch is only on one shoulder, and is a helmet shield with the number 343 – the number of New York firefighters killed on September 11, 2001. The other shoulder was left blank so guys can place their department patches there. My dad spent nearly 30 years on the Chicago Fire Department. I’ve ordered a patch from one of the engine companies he was on to put on my shoulder to honor him.
For some reason though, my eye kept coming back to the Chicago template.
Back to the team agreeing to new jerseys this season.
So after the team manager got the green light to move forward with jerseys, I shared the design with the fellas, and they all liked it. The next step was to find a supplier. That was a no brainer – Sota Stick, a Minnesota inspired goods company. I knew the quality of their jerseys after playing in their Sota Stick Hockey Classic last fall.
I emailed Landon at Sota Stick that we were interested in ordering team jerseys. He quickly sent over the pricing sheet with jersey sizes. I shared my logo art files and design idea. It took him no time to get a proof back to me for approval. In the meantime I was getting numbers and nameplate names from my teammates, and started collecting money. Half of the total payment for the order was due at the placement of the order, then the balance when we picked them up.
The proof of the jerseys looked great, and I couldn’t wait to see the real thing. We ordered just in time, and I picked them up two days before our fall season started. When I pulled my jersey out of the box I couldn’t have been happier. The quality is top notch.
Things I like about the jerseys
- The goalie cut has big sleeves that actually come down to my gloves. They’re not those short ones that end at about the elbow.
- They’re surprisingly breathable. My teammates commented how they didn’t get hot during the game.
- The stitching on the seams is strong. I’ve been wearing a Sota Stick jersey from the tournament last fall for all my fill-in games, and while there are many puck marks on it, it shows no sign of wear.
- The printing on the jerseys (logos, stripes, etc.) is super crisp. Having a graphic design background I know sometimes things can get grainy or fuzzy. Not these jerseys.
- The price is amazing for the quality. Based on the quantity we ordered, jerseys were $65 a piece. Sure we could have gotten some cheaper, but they wouldn’t be full color, top quality like this. Not one guy grumbled about the price. In fact, after handing the jerseys out at the first game one guy even mentioned that he couldn’t believe the price was so low.
- They was easily. The jerseys are premium polyester. I throw my tournament jersey in the wash in cold water, and tumble dry on low heat with no problems.
In the end it is pretty simple. If your team is in the market for new jerseys, isn’t cheap, but appreciates quality, then support a family run small business that couldn’t be easier to work with. I was so pleased working with Sota Stick that I even brought a six pack of home brewed coffee stout beer for the Sota Stick crew.