Identification The second-year jerseys are the shiny Starter Mesh style. This style jersey was used for the first four seasons of the team's existence. They can be most easily identified by the placement of the size tag inside the rear hem. This is the only season the size tag was located there.
Crest Beginning with the second year, the Avalanche went to a slightly larger crest. The larger crest measures 12" from the top of the "A", straight down to the bottom-most portion of the puck.
Custom Sleeve Sizing Beginning in 96-97, the jerseys had custom sleeve measurements from the factory. Instead of a standard 7-8" cuff width, some players (not just goalies) were wearing jerseys with factory sleeves as wide as 11". The jerseys could also be ordered with sleeves in varying lengths. These numbers are all contained in the hem tag, however to my knowledge no one has completely figured out the numbering system. Additionally, some players began having their sleeves altered with the addition of a panel sewn into the underarm seam, creating huge sleeves.
Nameplates The letters measure 4". The letters are sewn to a nameplate, which is sewn to the jersey. Beginning in 96-97, the letters on the nameplates are uniform in their stroke width. The letters are not stylized as in 95-96. The curvature of the name varies greatly in 96-97, with shorter names being very curved and longer names being almost flat.
- Recycled Nameplates - a few 96-97 jerseys show nameplate changes, and/or a re-attached nameplate taken from a 95-96 jersey. Probably only on preseason jerseys, however.
- About the letter "G" - In 96-97, the letter "G" gained a foot on it that was missing in the inaugural year version.
Numbers 96-97 is the last year the Avalanche used the larger back numbers. The back numbers measure 12.75 inches, while the sleeve numbers measure 4.5 inches. After 96-97, the back numbers were reduced in size to approximately 12".
In 96-97, a new inlaid number layering was phased in (known as "kiss-cut"), in which the layering was reversed. Instead of the traditional top-to-bottom layering, the new construction featured the main portion of the number on the bottom, with the outer two colors raised even with each other, for an inlaid effect. Any particular jersey from this year could have inlaid numbers on the sleeves only, on the back only, on both, or not at all.
One particular curiosity has to do with the number "2". For most of the first two seasons, the tail of the "2" was pointed. Beginning with the 96-97 playoff set, the 2's tail became flattened, no more point, and has remained that way. This is a good way to distinguish between a playoff and a regular season jersey, if you have a jersey with a "2".
Set Markings Any set marks appear as hand-marked numbers on one of the collar tags. They do not always appear on the same tag, and many are smudged almost beyond recognition. The set numbers I have seen are "1", "2", and "P"(for playoff?). I have seen a few shirts that have no set number, which could mean they were used in the preseason or just didn't get marked.
Shrinkage The jerseys from this season seemed to have a shrinkage problem. While the jersey itself looks normal, it is not uncommmon for a 96-97 jersey to have the crest or numbers puckered out. The crest will also sometimes show excessive wrinkling because of this. This occurs to some degree in any of the shirts, but it seems to be worse in the 96-97's.
Size tag Unique to this year is location of the size tag in the hem. The tag contains not only the jersey size, but also numbers pertaining to the sleeve configuration. The numbers are screened on, with the tag sewn into the jersey.
Washing Tags The washing tags are located inside the jersey, stitched into the side seam. Most, but not all of the jerseys carry two tags. One tag is a soft cloth tag with the washing instructions embroidered on it. The other tag, which is placed right next to the first tag, is the "Ripon Athletic" tag. Unlike the inaugural year, however, most jerseys carrying the dual tag have the "Ripon" tag carefully cut out, with the remnant remaining in the seam. The cloth tags normally don't carry the Starter logo like the first year. Please note: though few, there are variations of these tags:
- Single cloth tag, washing instructions only.
- Dual tags with the Ripon tag still in place.