Pittsburgh has been in the American hockey forefront way before the Penguins moved into the Civic Arena in 1967. We had the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, the Pittsburgh Pros, the Yellow Jackets, the Pirates, the Shamrocks, the Hornets, and then the Penguins. Pittsburgh hockey can be dated as far back as 1895. Take that Canada.
These shirts were made in celebration of Pittsburgh hockey and it’s illustrious, and often overlooked, history. An incredible amount of effort was put into recreating each design from hand, using vintage team photos as references. The prints are done meticulously; as to not disappoint passionate, detail obsessed fans, nor myself, often the worst critic.
The “Pittsburgh Professional Hockey Club” logo was recreated by hand and eye, by referencing two original team photos. Only minor accounts of their existence and black and white photos are available to the public, so this recreation’s colorway was up to a good amount of interpretation. Keeping the logo lighter than the medium was the only self-imposed guideline, and a very sharp looking combination of blues was the eventual result. Alternate versions are always in order if any hockey historians can help verify the actual Pro’s jersey colorway.
A brief history of the Pittsburgh Pro’s:
The Pittsburgh Professional Hockey Club, often referred to as the “Pittsburgh Pros”, was the first inter-city pro hockey team in Pittsburgh, and was associated with the International Professional Hockey League (IPHL) from 1904 to 1907. The club formed with players from the defunct Western Pennsylvania Hockey League (WPHL) after the 1904 season, and played its games at the then spaceous 5,000 seat Duquesne Gardens. The IPHL showcased teams from Houghton, Ontario, and Michigan, and adopted a 60-40 home-visitor split revenue sharing plan to make the long trips worth it for the visiting team. However sensible this program seems, it would lead to the demise of the team and league in 1907. The revenues would prove inadequate to maintain player salaries, particularly with the advent of other professional leagues.
Due to the pre-established hockey tradition in Pittsburgh, the Pro’s where able to make significant attendance draws to the large Duquesne Gardens, and the largely working-class fan base took to nicknaming their team the “Coal Heavers”.
Even though the team existed for only 3 years, 4 future NHL Hall of Famer’s (Jimmy Gardner, Tommy Smith, Bruce Stuart, & Hod Stuart) dawned the Pro’s uniform.
As we know, this would not be the end of pro Pittsburgh hockey, merely the historic beginning…
* This design is printed with custom-mixed “Dull Baby Blue” plastisol ink on Tultex’s premium “Indigo” fine jersey tees, and offers a light (yet durable), comfortable, loose fit. These tees are great because they aren’t boxy, and aren’t super-slim, but land right in the middle. This color is reactive-dyed, and has a great vintage look and feel, which is why it's used for this design. Specs: 4.5 oz., 30/1 Fine Knit 100% Ring Spun Cotton Jersey.
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