Best Places to Watch the World Series

Best place to watch the World Series Cubs vs Indians

What makes this year’s World Series so special are the participating teams. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs both haven’t won a World Series title in decades. Who would have guessed that two such teams would be facing off against each other in true American fashion.

The Cubs were 7-3 prior to this series; however, Cleveland looked a bit better going into it with a record of 7-1. Both teams undoubtedly have a chip on their shoulder, which can only make this series that much more exciting to watch. When we say these teams haven’t won a World Series in some time, we mean it! The Cubs haven’t won the World Series in 108 years! The Indians have also suffered a sizeable drought: 68 years. Get ready for a wild and emotional ride, Cubs and Indians fans.

While there is no bad place to catch a World Series game, there are some better ones. Great Lakes Brewing Company, for example, will take you to Progressive Field in Cleveland for $1 on its Fatty Wagon before the game if you’re lucky enough to have tickets. How could you beat that? If you find yourself ticketless, don’t fret just yet. We’ve done some digging for you and picked out the top 5 bars where you can yell your heart out at during this year’s World Series.

Sluggers World Class Sports Bar & Grill

Any bar named “Sluggers” sounds like the perfect place to be for a World Series game already. It’s the perfect place to watch the Cubs game near Wrigley Field. On its second floor, Sluggers has the ultimate indoor sports complex with batting cages and games. With over 30 HD TVs, this place is a destination that fits everyone’s gameday needs.

The Cubby Bear

As the saying goes, “location, location, location.” The Cubby Bear is located right across from Wrigley Field looking directly at the Wrigley Field Marquee. We are getting goosebumps already. Aside from the bar’s great location, it also has over 30,000 square feet of space filled with massive TVs. You won’t have to worry about that tall guy in front of you who just made you miss that Báez home run. You’ll get the game from all angles.


John Barleycorn

John Barleycorn is more of an upscale pub. With a view of Wrigley Field and a dance floor, what else could you need to celebrate a team win? It’s also one of the more spacious bars in Wrigleyville. This obviously matters when everyone and their mom is trying to catch a game across from the action. With its 20 TVs, you’ll be good to go with the World Series action everywhere you turn.

Great Lakes Brewing Company

The bars in Cleveland have it all figured out, especially this one, with the $1 transportation to Progressive Field on Great Lake’s eco-friendly Fatty Wagon. If you’ve got tickets to the game, this would be the place to go beforehand. If not, you’re still bound to have an amazing time, especially if you love a good handcrafted beer. They have plenty of seating upstairs in their Market and Rockefeller rooms as well as a beer garden next door. If you’re not so much into baseball but still want to be in on the action, Great Lakes offers a porch out front where you can enjoy lots of people-watching and even bring your dog!

Yes!!!! #fattywagon #greatlakesbrewery #wsm #CLE

A photo posted by Butcher Babes (@theporkchopshop) on

Winking Lizard Tavern

Only a hop, skip, and a jump from Progressive Field, the Winking Lizard Tavern is a great place to witness baseball history. The tavern is a great place to not only enjoy some drinks but to also indulge in some of their famous chicken wings, with 15 different sauces to meet everyone’s liking!

If you’re planning on catching the games in a social spot, don’t forget that most of these bars will have entrance fees or packages for purchase prior to the game. Once you set the scene, it’s time to snag your team’s colors. Head over to Fanatics right now to get your Cubs and Indians apparel. We’ve got you covered. Have a great World Series experience!


The History of the Chicago Cubs W Flag over Wrigley Field

When the Chicago Cubs win, the main sight around Chicago is a storm of white flags bearing a plain blue “W” on them. But the casual fan may not know why.

The origin of the Cubs “W” Flag has simple roots, coming to fruition in the late 1930s. Beginning between 1937 and 1938, a flag bearing the “W” would be raised over the scoreboard following a Cubs win, while a flag with the letter “L” would fly if the Cubs lost.

Chicago Cubs W flag Wringley Field

(Source: Chicago Tribune historical photo 1938)

It began as a way for Wrigley Field staff to let Chicagoans know the result of that day’s Cubs game, whether they were passing by the stadium on foot or traveling on public transit. Before fans could check the Internet, social media or even a transistor radio, the raised flag was their way of finding out the Cubs’ fate that day. Right after a win by the Cubs at Wringley Field, the white flag with blue W is raised above the center field scoreboard. The next morning, the flag is taken down during the morning commute hours, which give all Cubs fans the chance to know if their favorite cubbies have won the game.

In the 80 years since, the “W” Flag has become a central symbol for Cubs fans, just as much as the brick and ivy outfield walls or the outfield bleachers. It’s still used in the traditional sense – flown above the scoreboard, on cars or front porches of Cubs fans after a win – but has transcended its intended meaning to become an insignia of Chicago Cubs fandom.

The “W” Flag is no longer just a symbol to signify whether the Cubs won. It’s a rallying cry, a signal of Cubs pride worn on t-shirts and hoodies and emblazoned anywhere that Cubs fans are.

Chicago Cubs W on Tshirt

(Source: Fanatics at Chicago Cubs Majestic Youth W Flag T-Shirt – Royal)

2016 has been a special year for the Cubs, who advanced to their first World Series since 1945, but also for the “W” flag. Chicago’s 103 regular-season wins were the franchise’s most since 1910, decades before the “W” ever came to existence.

The Cubs haven’t just pumped joy into one of sports’ most passionate and longest-suffering fan bases throughout this historic season by hoisting a National League pennant. They’ve also given the “W” its most use in the flag’s extensive history.

If the “W” is raised four more times above the Wrigley Field scoreboard, it will mean a 108-year drought has ended and Wrigleyville will be rocking like never before.

Cubs fans can shop at for their W Flags, Cubs T-Shirts, Jerseys and Hats along with Cubs World Series Gear as the Cubbies go for their third World Series crown.

Strategy Game Changers: Jacques Lemaire


Getting to Know Jacques Lemaire

Jacques Lemaire – born in LaSalle, Quebec, Canada, in 1945 – was meant to know his way around a hockey puck. His natural skills led him to the NHL in the late ’60s, and his team, the Montreal Canadiens, definitely benefitted.

He spent his entire playing career with the Canadiens and basically ruled the ice from the start. His rookie season (1967-1968) saw him netting 22 goals and 20 assists during the regular season, but he proved himself a clutch performer during the playoffs, where he racked up an additional 13 points. He helped his team win the Stanley Cup that year, and over the next 10 seasons, he and the Canadiens would capture it seven more times.

After his playing career was over, he went to Europe to try his hand at coaching in Switzerland. Once he returned to the U.S., he took on a front office position and eventually made his way into coaching spots. He returned, in 1984, to the Canadiens as head coach for most of two seasons. He then made his way to New Jersey, where he assumed the same position for the Devils. This was where Lemaire perfected the strategy he’s known for – the 1-3-1 neutral zone trap.

Stifling Opponents With the 1-3-1 Neutral Zone Trap


Although the idea of a neutral zone trap was established long before Lemaire took over the reins in New Jersey, he is credited with perfecting the strategy. In fact, the Devils – under his leadership – are regarded as one of the stingiest defenses of all time. The neutral zone trap is a defensive strategy that works to prevent the offense from entering the zone by forcing players to the sideboards. It can also force them to dump the puck into the zone, causing a turnover.

The Neutral Zone Trap Now

While the 1995 New Jersey Devils are thought to have been the best example of the neutral zone trap – launching them to a four-game sweep of the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals – the strategy did not live and die with the team. Virtually all modern-day NHL teams use some form of the neutral zone trap. While it may not be exactly the same as the strategy perfected by Lemaire and the team he coached, his legacy still shines brightly in the years since that victory.

Crowning Achievements


Lemaire will always be remembered for his contributions to ice hockey, from when he was an invaluable player, who was part of eight championship teams, to his time as a head coach, where he revolutionized a style of defense that is still used today. In addition to winning the Stanley Cup in 1995, he captured the Jack Adams Award twice – once in 1994 and again in 2003. This is an annual award given to the head coach who has contributed the most to his team’s success.

From scoring goals to perfecting a defensive technique, gaining him yet another ring as a head coach, Jacques Lemaire will go down as one of the most influential figures in NHL history.

If you’re looking for that perfect NHL jersey for your own time on the ice, check out the huge selection at If jerseys aren’t what you’re looking for, no worries – there are a ton of sweats, T-shirts, baby clothes, and just about anything else a hockey fan could ever want.


Harrison Smith (Vikings) Opens Up About His Sports Fandom

Harrison Smith is on quite a roll. His Minnesota Vikings are 5-0 heading into Week 7. He’s the leader of their vaunted defense’s secondary. He took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about Harrison Smith, the sports fan.

Smith is coming off his first Pro Bowl selection last season, prompting the Vikings to sign him to an extension in the offseason that made him one of the highest paid safeties in the NFL. Many insiders consider him the best at his position in the game.

The Vikings front office will tell you none of this is a surprise to them. It’s why they drafted him in the first round back in 2012. And the 27 year old is not a Cinderella story – he played four seasons at powerhouse Notre Dame in South Bend. But if you think of Harrison Smith as just a football player, you’re shortchanging him.

In high school in Knoxville, Tennessee, Smith excelled on offense as both a running back and receiver and on defense. He was named the Gatorade Football Player of the Year in Tennessee in 2006. He also played basketball and competed as a jumper on the track team, where he won multiple state championships. He was rated a four-star recruit late in high school, and received scholarship offers from some of the nation’s biggest programs, including Notre Dame and his hometown University of Tennessee. He chose Notre Dame despite growing up a Vols fan, which he discusses:

“Growing up, it wasn’t Notre Dame; it was the University of Tennessee. I grew up watching Peyton Manning, Al Wilson on defense … there was a ton of greats that came through Tennessee when I was young and I got to watch them and be a fan of them.”

But Smith is quick to draw the line in the sand:

“If Notre Dame and Tennessee matched up in a bowl game now? No question. Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 100%, no hesitation.”

The multisport star was also quick to throw some love at some perhaps unexpected programs at his alma mater, saying, “I went to Notre Dame, so just a fan of everything they do. They’ve always got a good lacrosse team, good men’s and women’s soccer, softball … so they kind of have it all so it’s fun to watch.”

Smith is also a fan of playing in a market where all the major sports are represented.

“Being in Minnesota and having a team in every sport – you’ve got the Wild, the Twins, the T-Wolves – being a fan of each of those and being able to support those guys is awesome.”

And proving once and for all that Harrison Smith is all of us, when asked if he could trade places with any professional athlete in the world, he had this to say:

“I’d have to go with Cristiano Ronaldo. You know, they’ve kind of got it all because the whole world is watching them.”

We don’t know about the whole world, but we’re sure the number of people watching Smith play will only continue to grow. You can shop for all the best Harrison Smith and Vikings gear at Fanatics.

The Evolution of the Detroit Tigers Logo


The Detroit Tigers took the field in 1901, facing off against Milwaukee for their American League opener in front of 10,000 fans. The team has come a long way since, and has drawn in over 120 million fans to home games throughout its history. Fans flock to Comerica Park from all over the country to witness the Tigers play.

Tigers’ Origins

The team name officially comes from the Detroit Light Guard – a military group that “fought with the ferocity of the jungle beast” during the Civil War. Members of this group were referred to as “Tigers,” and residents praised them as one the most highly regarded groups to come out of Detroit. The city’s baseball team honored the military unit by naming their squad “The Detroit Tigers.” The unofficial story derives from the black-and-orange stockings worn by players in the 1890s.

An Old English “D” will go down in history as one of the most iconic logos in baseball history. The D – which stands for Detroit – was first adopted by The Detroit Free Press in the 1830s and later donned the team’s uniforms. Over the next 100 years, the Detroit Tigers would experience a branding nightmare: various versions of the “D” due to different manufacturers producing their uniforms and hats.

Creating a culture of their own, the Tigers are currently the only team in the league to utilize a color on their road uniforms that does not appear on their home attire – orange.

Domination in Detroit

The Detroit Tigers have had quite the history in the MLB. They have won a total of four World Series (1935, 1945, 1968, and 1984) in 11 eye-opening appearances. Detroit’s roster has also had its fair share of superstars, including Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Charlie Gehringer, and fan favorite Miguel Cabrera.

Read on to see how the #DetroitTigers have maintained their navy blue, white, and orange color schemes over the years, while still dealing with the ever-changing “D” emblem crested on their uniforms.

Notable Logo Changes


19011902: The inaugural logo for the Tigers features a smoked burgundy outline of a cartoon-styled tiger.

1903: Before the Old English “D” is adopted, the team utilizes a brown block-lettered “D” as their logo.

1904: Imitating the font used by The Detroit Free Press, the Tigers approve the use of the Old English “D” – perhaps one of the most iconic logos in baseball history.

19051907: Maintaining the same font from the previous year, the logo is recolored navy blue.

19081913: The outline becomes slightly thicker in spots, and minor modifications are made to the “D.”

19141915: Over the course of the next two years, the “D” is redesigned – now wider than ever.

1916: Parting ways with the Old English “D” for a bit, the team reverts back to the block-lettered “D” but keeps the navy blue.

1917: The Old English “D” swiftly makes its way back as the logo in a newly trimmed manner.

19181920: The Tigers introduce a new logo – a mix of both the block-lettered and Old English “D.”

19211924: After experimenting with their hybrid logo, the Tigers switch back to the Old English “D” – this time a tad thinner than previous years.

1925: The “D” loses one of the lines that runs down the center.

1926: Maintaining a similar appearance, the second line reappears.

19271928: Going for a new look, Detroit introduces an orange tiger head with white eyes as their new logo.

1929: Back to the basics, the Old English “D” returns, this time with an orange outline.

1930: The team ditches the orange border around the “D.”

19311933: Straying from the Old English “D,” the block-lettered “D” makes a comeback with sharpened edges.

19341956: Similar to the 1930 logo, the Old English “D” is greeted back with a warm welcome.

19571960: Echoing their logo from the ‘27–’28 season, Detroit brings back a more realistic tiger head as the team logo. The head is front-facing with its mouth wide open.

19611963: The tiger head is shrunk and placed inside a circular border featuring the team’s city and name.

19641993: This logo is quite similar to the previous year’s logo with a few exceptions: most notably that all shades of brown or black are replaced with a shade of blue.

19942005: The team brings back the Old English “D” with a tiger skulking through the letter.

20062015: The classic Old English “D” makes its return.

2016Present: The present day logo features a modified Old English “D” with horizontal accents taking the place of the second vertical line.

Heading over to Comerica Park to support the #TigersNation? Embrace the Old English “D” by picking up the latest gear from Fanatics – the one-stop shop for all your Tigers essentials!


The 2016 MLS Playoffs

After a long season of 34 league games,  the dust has finally settled, and a full 8 teams have been eliminated from the MLS playoffs, leaving 12 to compete for the championship.  While many MLS fans won’t be shocked by the Chicago Fire and the Houston Dynamo going home early, not many would have expected both of last year’s finalists to be sitting on a tropical beach in late-October, with the Columbus Crew finishing 6 points outside the playoffs and the reigning champions, the Portland Timbers, just missing out on the last day thanks to a 4-1 drubbing at the hands (or feet) of the playoff-less Vancouver Whitecaps.

In the East, both New York teams earned byes to the next round, with Frank Lampard coming on in the 73rd minute of NYC FC’s game against Columbus, when the score was tied at 1-1, to push the team to a 4-1 win and finish one point ahead of 3rd place Toronto. In the West, Dallas and last year’s bottom team Colorado got some additional rest time, as they finished in the top 2.

As for the first round matches… here’s a preview of each of the 1 legged, winner take all, games, which are to be played midweek this week.

Toronto F.C. v Philadelphia Union (Wednesday)

Regular season Toronto 1-1-0
Philadelphia UnionWith only 1 win in the last 6 matches of the regular season nobody can accuse Toronto of being the “in form” team, that solo win being a 3-2 squeaker against the basement dwelling Chicago Fire in the last game of the season.  One extra win in that period would have leapfrogged them above NYC FC, but it wasn’t to be. so they get to face a Philadelphia Union team that’s on an even worse streak than them, winless in 7.  On paper, Toronto should go through, they have the better team, have performed to a higher standard over the course of the season, and have home field advantage, but in a one game scenario anything can happen

LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake (Wednesday)

Regular season LA Galaxy 1-1-0

The star studded LA Galaxy may have recently welcomed Landon Donovan back to the fold, but there is speculation that Steven Gerrard has announced his farewell to the team through an Instagram post.  Real were sitting in 4th place, prior to their last game, but a loss to Seattle meant that both they and Sporting KC leapt above them, meaning that they now have to take on an LA team they’ve been unable to beat in both meetings this season.

D.C. United v Montreal Impact (Thursday)

Regular season  0-2-0

DC United Patrick MulllinsD.C. United were the form team in the Eastern conference, with 4 straight wins, before the final day loss to Orlando, propelling them from just outside the playoff picture to a 4th place finish, and home field advantage against a Montreal team who’ve only won 2 of their last 8 games, and have an upset star in Didier Drogba who was recently fined for refusing to be named as a substitute.  In the 2 games that they played against each other this season, neither team was able to register a win, in this game one of them has to win.

Seattle Sounders v Sporting KC (Thursday)

Regular season Sporting KC 2-0-0

Seattle rocketed into the playoffs with 5 wins out of their last 7 games, and thanks to Salt Lake losing on the last day, they took 4th place, and a home tie against a Sporting Kansas City team that’s beaten them twice this season, although the last time was when Seattle were going through a bad patch of form in July.  Now, it’s Sporting that’s stuck in a rut of poor results, with only 2 wins in their last 9 league games (both over the, now vacationing, San Jose Earthquakes).

The Evolution of the New England Patriots Logo


The New England Patriots are a well-known modern-day NFL powerhouse dynasty; they’ve racked up four Super Bowl wins in the last 15 years. The franchise, however, has been around for decades, getting its start in the waning years of the 1950s when a group led by businessman William H. Sullivan Jr. captured the eighth and final franchise in the brand new American Football League.

Locals poured name suggestions into the new team’s Boston mailbox. Sullivan ultimately chose “Boston Patriots,” a moniker suggested by 74 fans. The team’s first 11 seasons were spent in four different Boston stadiums, but they eventually moved to suburban Foxborough to set up shop in a brand new stadium in 1971. After the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, the team was placed in the AFC East, where they remain today. Shortly after, they also took on a new team name – the New England Patriots. This helped reflect their location change as well as their growing popularity throughout the general New England area.

Success in New England

The early years of the Patriots didn’t induce much cheering – the only time they reached the playoffs before 1976 was a 1963 roll that ended with an AFL Championship defeat. However, one of the bright lights of those days was fullback and Pro Bowler Sam Cunningham, who was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2010. The squad steadily gained ground after those years, though, and had two playoff appearances before finally reaching the Super Bowl in their 1985 season – which the team did not win.

Things started to finally change in the ’90s. Drew Bledsoe was drafted by the Patriots as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. He’d shone for the Patriots, throwing 4,555 yards his second year with the club, leading the NFL. He continued to be a prolific passer until the 2001 season, when he was sidelined with a serious injury during the second game of the season. Ultimately, this resulted in a quarterback change for the franchise.

That quarterback was Tom Brady. Brady was also drafted by the Patriots, but not as the first pick, nor even in the first round. He was a sixth-round draft pick in the 2000 NFL Draft and backed up Bledsoe for the first season and then some, but eventually took over the reins when Bledsoe was knocked out with his injury. Once he settled into the captain’s chair, Brady never looked back. When Bledsoe was medically cleared to return to play, Brady remained the starter. Since then, he has gone down in Patriots (and NFL) history as one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He has led the team to six Super Bowls, and he has won the Lombardi trophy four times.

The team has come a long way from their humble beginnings as one of the AFL’s first teams, and so has their logo. Let’s take a look at how it has changed over the years.

Patriot Pride


1960: The original logo is a simple blue and white tricorner hat. The design, much like the name of the Patriots themselves, is inspired by a fan named Walter Pingree.

1961–1964: The 1961 season sees the introduction of “Pat Patriot,” the brainchild of Boston Globe cartoonist Phil Bissell. Team owner Billy Sullivan is so inspired by Bissell’s cartoons that he makes Pat Patriot getting ready to snap the ball the official team logo.

1965–1970: Pat Patriot remains the team logo, but his features become more refined and realistic.

1971–1992: In 1971, there are a few minor changes to the logo, most notably to the skin color of Pat Patriot himself.

1993–1999: Pat Patriot is retired after the 1992 season, and a new logo makes an appearance. It features a gray-faced minuteman sporting a red, white, and blue tricorner hat, which seems to flap in the breeze.

2000–Present: The present-day logo is put into place for the 2000 season and is nearly identical to the prior logo, except that it is a darker shade of blue.

Whether you’re a fan of the Patriots early AFL days, or a newer fan of the modern squad, has a ton of Patriot garb, including jerseys, baby clothes, and even stocking caps. Check it out today.


The Beginners Guide to #NHL: Become a Fanatic Overnight: National Hockey League

Header_Fanatic_NHLGuide to Becoming an NHL Fanatic

Not only is it cold in the arena where athletes play ice hockey games, but if you’re unfamiliar with the rules, you might get a chilly response from a fan if you ask them to run you through the basics midgame.

Instead of earning a cold stare that sends shivers down your spine, it’s time to learn all the necessary details to start enjoying the NHL (National Hockey League). So lace up your skates and read our Guide to Becoming an NHL Fanatic. This will take you out of the penalty box and put you on the ice!

Puck Drop

Even though it’s called the National Hockey League, it is actually an organization that contains 30 teams located in the U.S. and Canada. There are seven teams in Canada, the most in any of the four major sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). The 30 teams are broken up into two conferences – Eastern and Western.

The Eastern Conference is made up of 16 teams across two divisions of equal size, the Atlantic and Metropolitan. The Western Conference is made up of 14 teams also in two divisions of equal size: the Central and Pacific.

These teams must win enough games in the regular season to make the playoffs (16 teams progress), with the goal of taking home the Stanley Cup. It is awarded to the final winner at the conclusions of the playoffs.

Center Ice

Hockey is a fast sport. While three 20-minute periods sound like a long time, minimal stops of play and quick transitions between offense and defense means there is no time to change the channel or leave your seat. In fact, the only times that the clock stops are when there is a penalty (rules infraction), the puck leaves a play, or a goalie secures it (known as “freezing”).

Each team tries to score more goals than the other, scoring when the puck moves into the goalie’s net. If there is a tie at the end of regulation (three periods), the game shifts to a five minute, three-on-three overtime. If they’re still deadlocked, the game goes to a best-of-five penalty shootout. If there’s still a draw, then the shootout continues as sudden-death penalty shots, where the next team that misses loses. Hockey isn’t short on action.

The last rule to keep in mind is the power play. Resulting from a player breaking the rules, and subsequently being forced into the “penalty box” for a period of time, this leaves another team with a man advantage on the ice. This is a great chance for a team to score and usually forces the disadvantaged team to become defensive with their play.


The Lineup

Each team lines up with six players on the ice, going head-to-head in the pursuit of a win.

  • Goalie: As men responsible for protecting the net, they’re the ones with the crazy cage masks protecting their faces. Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins are two of the best in this position. And they’re worth watching for the amazing saves they pull off!
  • Defensemen: Defensemen, charged with protecting the goalie and initiating the counter, play a dual role. With two on the ice, one is responsible for the left side of the ice and the other the right. Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks and Drew Doughty of the Los Angeles Kings are two to keep an eye on in this position.
  • Forwards: Playing either on the left or right wings, or as a center, these athletes score goals. Or at least that’s the plan. They generate the attack and put the defense on their heels. Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks are offensive players that light up the arena with their shooting skills.

Who is Icy-Hot?

Here are a few hot teams in the coolest professional sport that you should be watching:

  • Florida Panthers: Yes, they play ice hockey in Florida, and this team is really good! They set multiple franchise records this season – including sending four players to the All-Star game! And the future looks bright for the Sunshine State’s youngest NHL team.
  • Pittsburgh Penguins: Even though this franchise has only been around since the 1960s, they’ve won four Stanley Cup titles in that time, including the 2015-2016 series. They play with finesse, favoring speed and skill over brutal defense. If you’re looking for a team that’s set up for future success, look no further than the “Pens.”
  • Washington Capitals: Suffering an early exit from the 2015-2016 postseason, their captain Alex Ovechkin looks to lead them back to the playoffs next season. The three-time league MVP gives everything for his team. Will they be able to help him finally win the elusive Stanley Cup?

Play On!

You might not be ready to throw on some pads, lace up a pair of skates, or start body-checking other players into the boards, but you’re now ready to watch NHL games like a true fan.

You know the fundamentals, which teams to watch out for, and even the names of the different positions. Don’t forget – as you get ready to take in a game or root for your new team – to pick up officially licensed NHL merchandise or apparel from the best place to find them,


TOP 10 Best-Selling Soccer Player Jersey 2016

Messi, Ronaldo toppled in annual top-selling shirts countdown

After an extended period of dominance from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, a new king of has been crowned – but who came out on top in our third annual player printing countdown? reveals all, as we put our sales figures under the microscope.
Click here for last year’s rundown – or read on for the top ten best-selling player shirts 2016…

10)      Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Despite seeing his Belgian side unceremoniously dumped out of EURO 2016, midfield marvel Kevin de Bruyne has wowed Kitbag customers sufficiently to become the first of six new entries on our chart. Contributing the opener in September’s Manchester derby win at Old Trafford, the 25-year old was on target again a week later in the Premier League leaders’ 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth at the Etihad. Does a first career English domestic title await? Shop for De Bruyne jerseys.

09)      Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Shifting to the #11 shirt to accommodate the incoming Zlatan Ibrahimović, Manchester United’s Anthony Martial makes his first appearance in our October countdown, off the back of a successful first season in the English Premier League. Finishing up the Old Trafford club’s leading goalscorer for 2015-16, Martial has seen some of Jose Mourinho’s high-profile signings take precedence this season, but was able to net his first goal of the campaign at home to Stoke City in early October; albeit days after our period of focus concluded. Shop for Martial jerseys.

08)      Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Starting the 2016-17 season with an irresistible burst of form, Sergio Aguero has helped his Manchester City command a slender, one-point lead at the peak of the Premier League table, while helping himself to a formidable 11-goal feast across all competitions. Among Aguero’s early season victims, the likes of Sunderland,  Stoke City and Steaua Bucherest and while Borussia Monchengladbach may have weathered September’s Manchester storm, the Bundesliga side were ultimately unable to contend with Aguero’s attacking force, as the Argentinian claimed a hat-trick 24 hours later in UEFA Champions League play.


07)      Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

One of European club football’s proverbial Marmite figures, the inimitable Luis Suarez did enough in recent months to play his way into our top ten; the third newcomer on our list, yet far from a stranger to success. Providing an affirmative answer to any questions of marketability that his controversial career might throw up, Suarez opened his account for 2016-17 in Barcelona’s Supercopa triumph, before claiming a hat-trick in the Catalans’ 6-2 thrashing of Real Betis and making a landmark 100th appearance in Barcelona colours. Shop for Suarez jerseys.


06)      Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

The pride of Wales, Gareth Bale is the only player from the British isles to crack our top ten countdown and another newcomer on the 2016 list. Scoring his first goal of the new campaign only two minutes into Real Madrid’s La Liga opener, Bale would add a second in stoppage time to rubber-stamp the 3-0 win at Real Socieded, before nabbing the equaliser against Eibar at the Bernabeu in early October. Back on home soil, Bale would later edge ever-closer to Ian Rush’s international goalscoring record in Wales’ 1-1 qualifying draw with Georgia. Shop for Gareth Bale jerseys.


05)      Neymar jr. (Barcelona)

Moving up two places from our countdown a year ago, Barcelona star Neymar Jr. is yet to return to the heights of 2014, when he finished as runner-up. Nevertheless, his consistency as a shirt seller can only be commended, with the Brazilian one of only three players to rank in our chart in all of the three years compiled. A recurrent threat to goal, as demonstrated by his successful free-kick against Celtic, Neymar’s four assists in the Champions League humbling of the Hoops re-affirmed his status as a key component in the Barça team jigsaw. Shop for Neymar jerseys.


04)      Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Returning to Old Trafford after a starring role at EURO 2016, expectations surrounding Frenchman Paul Pogba have reached an almost-immediate high; and while the potential of Manchester United’s investment is still to be realised on the pitch, Pogba’s popularity has already been reflected by significantly strong shirt sales. Debuting in the 2-0 home win over Southampton, before breaking his deadlock for 2016-17 in the 4-1 defeat of champions Leicester, time will tell if Pogba’s promising start results in the silverware he covets. Shop for Pogba jerseys.


03)      Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

A familiar face on the list to say the least, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2016 has ranged from the sublime to the storybook, as the Portuguese pin-up pinned down UEFA Champions League honours, before becoming the only player in our ten to win the European Championship. Back in La Liga, Ronaldo returned from injury to help dispatch Osasuna, before scoring in each of the Spanish club’s latest European outings, as they begin their defence of the UCL title. Shop for Ronaldo jerseys.

02)      Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Finally heaved from his lofty perch, the majestic Lionel Messi continues to shift replica shirts like few of his like have before, yet the Argentinian has ultimately failed to repeat the level of sales success that led him to the top spot in 2014 and 2015. Taking solace in retaining his edge over career rival Ronaldo, one-club man Messi bagged a brace for his beloved Barcelona against Betis to begin 2016-17, scoring twice more in the 5-1 win at Leganes. Shop for Messi jerseys.4792243

01)      Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)

Literally towering above the competition, our highest-ranking newcomer and the king of 2016 is the mighty Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Recently turning 35, Zlatan is the oldest player on our list yet has emphatically captured the imagination of our customer base since Manchester was welcomed to Zlatan in typical style this summer. Scoring on his competitive debut at Bournemouth to continue an impressive streak of first impressions in La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League alike, Ibrahimovic was additional on target in August’s Community Shield and September’s Manchester derby; while scoring twice to see off Southampton in the campaign’s inaugural Friday night fixture. The duration of the Swedish star’s Premier League stay may currently be unclear; yet the support received by way of his phenomenal shirt sales to date offers a clear message from the faithful… Shop for Ibrahimović jerseys.

Long live the (new) king.


Relegation Zone

Memphis Depay is our countdown’s biggest faller; the Dutchman dropping off the chart from the dizzy heights of third 12 months ago, after falling out of first team favour in Manchester.

Bastian Schweinsteiger finished fourth in 2015, but has since been frozen out at Old Trafford, as Jose Mourinho moves to bring in his own in pursuit of EPL redemption.

Eden Hazard saw his Belgian side flatter to deceive at EURO 2016, much as his Chelsea team had done the preceding domestic season. Scoring twice against UCL holders Real Madrid in July’s International Champions’ Cup and again in Chelsea’s first two home games of new season, the midfielder nevertheless plummets off our list, from a high of fifth position.

Wayne Rooney will hardly need reminding of his downturn in popularity, following a veritable kicking from the media and public alike and the recent removal of his England captain’s armband. Once a mainstay in lists such as ours, Manchester United’s decorated marksman will require an upturn in form and fortune to return to our chart next time.

Alexis Sanchez reluctantly joins the England skipper in the doldrums; the Arsenal man plunging off our countdown, after two consecutive years among’s key sellers.

Phillippe Coutinho completes the list of fallers; the Liverpool forward failing to bring home the Europa League trophy and experiencing further defeat in the Copa America Cenentario, in spite of scoring his first international hat-trick in the colours of his native Brazil.

Numbers Game

Only four clubs are represented in our 2016 top ten, with Manchester United, Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid providing an even split of players from the Premier League and La Liga and an equal 50% share between the Nike and adidas brands. Eight different nationalities are featured in the countdown, with Argentina and France contributing a pair of players apiece and with two of the top ten currently in their 30s, four others were born in the decade of the ’90s. Meanwhile, the most commonly-selected shirt number in our list is #11, as worn by three of our leading shirt sellers. The total sum of the squad numbers featured arrives at a satisfying 101, with a gap of 11 between the highest (de Bruyne’s #17) and the lowest (Pogba’s #6). Elsewhere, in terms of footballing silverware, our top ten have snared a total of five Premier League titles between them, as well as 16 La Liga championships and 11 UEFA Champions Leagues. Finally, while our ten featured players have been capped 774 times for their respective national teams, not one of them has managed to win a FIFA World Cup; an intriguing fact to ponder, as we conclude our sales analysis. AC

As in 2014 and 2015, the 2016 list focuses on club shirt sales from 1 July to 30 September on

Greatest Debuts: Auston Matthews


First Pass at Greatness

Auston Matthews may have only made his NHL debut this week against the Ottawa Senatorsbut he’s already making history. At 19 years old, Auston was the first player ever to score four goals in his first game, and only the fifth to score a hat trick in their NHL opener. That puts him among others like Derek Stepan and Real Cloutier who also managed to pull off a hat trick in their first games.

Journey to the Top

So who is Auston Matthews? Besides being the first overall 2016 pick for the Toronto Maple Leafs and a self-proclaimed fan of Kobe Bryant, Matthews was born in Northern California and developed an affinity for hockey at a young age. In 2014, he helped the U.S. Under 17 Team and U.S. Under 18 Team win gold in the the World U17 Hockey Challenge and the U18 World Junior Championships. In 2015 he was voted MVP after leading the U18 World Junior Championship team to gold, and in 2016, he helped them win the bronze. 

In place of a collegiate or junior career, Matthews took the road less traveled to prepare for his entry into the NHL by playing in Sweden for the ZSC Lions until he became eligible for the draft. Matthews’ season with the Lions culminated in a tie for seventh place in scoring with 24 goals and 46 points in only 36 games – an average of 1.28 points per game, fourth overall in the league.

This year, Auston Matthews was the first American to be selected first overall in the NHL draft in almost a decade. While his legacy in the league has only just begun – he’s already performing to critical acclaim.

Reactions Around the League

Several of Matthews’ fellow players, as well as retired legends Martin St. Louis and Teemu Selänne, chimed in with their reactions after Wednesday night’s game:

Long Term Implications

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the NHL’s original six teams, but they’ve been down on their luck over the past few years. Auston Matthews is their first overall draft selection since 1985, and he may represent the best hope the team has had for decades to bring the Stanley Cup back to Toronto – a place it hasn’t been since 1967. While it may be too early to tell if Matthews is going to be able to lead the Maple Leafs to the promised land, or a postseason berth, it’s definitely not too early to start hoping.

If you want to jump on the Matthews bandwagon, at the start of his career, head over to where you can find everything you need to celebrate his success and show off your Maple Leaf pride!