A must-see private collection of jerseys on display at Pointe-Claire’s cultural centre.
Qais Hafsi has a passion for collecting hockey sweaters from around the world — a selection from his collection will be on exhibit at the Stewart Hall Cultural Centre in Pointe-Claire until April 7.
Over the years, Hafsi, 37, has amassed around 200 hockey sweaters.
“I started to get creative and going into different leagues,” Hafsi said, adding he used online forums to gather some of his collection. “You can get stuff that is relatively pretty rare at times.”
While he has a few game-worn jerseys, the re-sale market for those tends to be costly.
“I don’t really differentiate between original and replica jerseys because I go more for the style and the different designs of the jerseys,” he said.
After playing minor hockey while growing up in Montreal, he later returned to the ice while working on a Master’s degree in Strasbourg, France in his mid-20s.
“I didn’t even know (at the time) that France had hockey teams,” he recalled. “When they learned I was a Canadian from Montreal, the first question was, ‘Do you play hockey? You should join our team.’
“I was representing Strasbourg in third division France. It was a great experience which literally got me back into hockey and I haven’t stopped since.”
After seeing first-hand how different the European jerseys were compared to the North American or NHL models, his interest in sweaters ballooned into a full-blown hobby.
One prized possession is an Ak Bars Kazan jersey from the KHL team in Russia. “It’s special because it’s a (modified) goalie-cut one,” Hafsi said.
The sweaters in the exhibit include models from Mannheim, Germany, as well as ones representing unusual places for hockey such as Algeria and Kenya.
Along with hockey jerseys, Hafsi has also collected around 250 soccer jerseys plus a selection of rugby and cricket jerseys.
Hafsi will showcase a portion of his hockey sweaters at the exhibit and will attend a meet-and-greet during a make-your-own-hockey-mask art workshop (passes required), Feb. 23 at Stewart Hall, 176 Lakeshore Dr., Pointe-Claire.