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1977-78 Steve Durbano WHA Birmingham Bulls Game Worn Jersey
Lot #17

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1977-78 Steve Durbano WHA Birmingham Bulls Game Worn Jersey
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1977-78 Steve Durbano WHA Birmingham Bulls Game Worn Jersey
Lot #17

This road blue mesh gamer by Russel Athletic was worn by Steve Durbano during the 1977-78 WHA season. The New York Rangers selected Durbano in the 1st round of the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft, passing up other 1st rounders Larry Robinson, Terry O’Reilly, Rick Kehoe, Henry Boucha and Craig Ramsay to grab the prized defenseman with the 13th overall pick. Known as hockey’s baddest man, and one of the sports legendary enforcers, Durbano began his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues in 1972-73. During his 2nd season with the Blues, he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins where he played for parts of 3 years, missing all but one game in 1974-75 due to injury. Durbano next suited up for the KC Scouts and Colorado Rockies before leaving the NHL for a year when he became part of the first interleague trade and thus joined the WHA’s Birmingham Bulls in 1977-78. Durbano returned to the NHL with St. Louis, the place where his career began and played 13 more games in 1978-79 before retiring.

Durbano carried around the nicknames “Demolition Durby” and “Mental Case” during his playing days. He was a real life Slapshot character, known for doing the craziest things both on and off the ice. Legendary stories have been written about Steve and are worth a read if you’re a fight fan or just a lover of old time hockey. Durbano, who registered better than 5 PIMS per game, is the NHL’s all-time leader in that category. Durbano led the NHL with 370 PIMS in 1975-76 in just 69 games played and he finished top 3 in each of his prior two seasons despite playing in 49 and 69 games respectively. Durbano’s lone WHA season saw him play in just 45 games. Amazingly, it also saw him lead the league with 284 PIMS, registering better than 6 PIMS per game! Sadly, the life he led took its toll and claimed Durbano at just 50 years of age in 2002.

The game wear on this size XL sweater is solid and consists of stick marks, board burns, un-repaired burn holes, scrapes and abrasions and areas of heavy inner pilling. Fight abuse is readily evident; the fabric that makes up the inner lining of the tie-down collar has been thru the wars and has loosened while the front collar itself is stretched and popped from the stress it underwent at the hands of angry opponents. “Mental Case” as he was nicknamed, was famously suspended in every league he ever played in. He led the entire WHA with 284 PIMS having played in just 45 games while wearing this battered jersey during road contests. Finding a Durbano game worn jersey has been next to impossible, with this being the first we’ve had the pleasure of bringing to the block. A must have for any serious collector of tough guys and enforcers, choice!