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1974-75 Gilles Meloche California Golden Seals Game Worn Jersey - Rare Name On Back
Lot #400

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1974-75 Gilles Meloche California Golden Seals Game Worn Jersey - Rare Name On Back
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1974-75 Gilles Meloche California Golden Seals Game Worn Jersey - Rare Name On Back
Lot #400

This home white knit gamer by General Athletic and Gunzo's was worn by Gilles Meloche during the 1974-75 NHL season. Meloche began his NHL career with the Chicago Black Hawks in 1970-71. The crowded goaltending situation, led by Tony Esposito in the Windy City, provided Meloche with little playing time, which is why he welcomed the move to the Golden Seals for the start of the 1971-72 season. Gilles became the man between the pipes for the California franchise that would later relocate to Cleveland. In fact he would spend the next 7 years playing the lion’s share of the Seals and Barons games in goal. When the Barons folded following the 1977-78 season, Meloche joined the Minnesota North Stars. Gilles spent the next 7 seasons in goal for Minnesota. During that time he helped lead his team to the 1981 Stanley Cup Finals and played in 2 NHL All Star games. Meloche’s last stop was to the Steel City where he represented the Penguins for 3 seasons before announcing his retirement.

This jersey comes directly from the recently discovered Gunzo's collection. The family recalls “Gunzo” being attached to this gamer. It isn't hard to imagine why "Gunzo" was attached to this gamer. He made sure to tuck this one away for safe keeping after the Golden Seals returned this jersey to the shop and asked for a replacement. Meloche had begun his NHL career in Chicago and suffered from a lack of playing time. “Gunzo” was also a former Hawks goalie that had trouble finding playing time thanks to Hall of Famer Glenn Hall and his record 502 consecutive game streak over the course of 8 seasons. Gilles of course had Hall of Famer Tony Esposito ahead of him on the depth chart and thus the two men had shared something rather unique in common.

Sewn into the neck of this gamer are the Gunzo’s, General Athletic and size tagging. The collar has been custom vented to Meloche’s specs. The game wear on this well-washed vintage knit is solid consisting of plenty of stick and puck marks, inner pilling and bloodstaining. Also worthy of mention are some other undetermined stains and some stitch pops on the upper corner of the back player number 7. Most incredible of all is Meloche’s surname on back in individually sewn tackle twill letters. This is exactly how the Golden Seals wore their names on the back of their gamers during the prior four seasons in the previous green and gold era. To our knowledge this is the only example of the newer UCLA styled jerseys that exists in the hobby with individually sewn letters directly to the verso!

We do know that the Seals commonly went to nameplates on these jerseys for TV games. In fact, to our knowledge there has been only one of these UCLA styled gamers ever found with a nameplate still intact, a Joey Johnston. We actually auctioned this rare example in May of 2007 to much fanfare. A careful comparison of the lettering on both of these gamers yields a perfect match! It’s simply incredible and quite thrilling that a treasure such as this could be unearthed after nearly four decades. This previously unknown variation is a true condition rarity and as such should appeal to a vast array of vintage collectors. An exciting new discovery brings this previously unknown gamer to the hobby, good luck in your pursuit of this sweater worn by the face of the California Seals and Cleveland Barons franchise.