In baseball, chicks dig the long ball. In hockey, the $98 million hometown forward gets all the love over the $98 million defenseman.
According to Sportsnet, Zach Parise's #11 was the top-selling NHL jersey in the month of July as Minnesotans flocked to buy anything with the new Wild forward's name on the back.
(For the record, I would love to see the email Sportsnet got from Wild PR. In my head it goes: "Dear Sportsnet, while you are certainly entitled to your opinion about the flashiness and glamour of our jerseys, they are not 'hunter green' as you so insinuate. The green in question is actually 'forest green'. The "spruce up" quip was funny, though.
Thank you, Nordy."
Yep, also like to assume Nordy spends his time in public relations. Hey it's August.)
Parise was joined on the list by another forward with a new location, Rick Nash, and 5 members of the team who beat him in the Stanley Cup Final. Los Angeles Kings fans went crazy with merchandise and Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Drew Doughty and Jonathan Quick are four of the top-seven sellers. Despite losing their captain, Devils Ilya Kovalchuk and Marty Brodeur were also represented along with the Sidney Crosbys and Alexander Ovechkins.
Surprisingly, free agency did not play as much of a role as one would have thought in July. Getting a top-end new player is a good time to boost sales for the first opportunity to get their jersey but that was not the case. In some cases, free agents signed too late to get on the list (Alex Semin), went to a team with established players (Matt Carle going to Tampa) or were even traded in June that took a bite out of July (Jordan Staal).
Then there's Ryan Suter, who despite also signing a $98 million deal and being the biggest free agent defenseman on the market, was absent in the top 15. It doesn't help that he signed with the same team as the biggest free agent forward but that's only part of the story being the second-highest selling Minnesota jersey. Of the top 15, there is only one defenseman (Doughty) while forwards dominate the list. Hell, there are more goalies represented (two). While it is surprising Suter isn't on the list of most popular jerseys in the NHL, defensemen aren't in as high demand as forwards.
(Also not in high demand: Western Conference jerseys that aren't LA Kings.)
So remember kids, forward jerseys are popular while defensemen - even the big names - are for hipsters.