FAN ALERT: NHL warns about counterfeit Lightning playoff memorabilia

TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – With the Tampa Bay Lightning playing in the Eastern Conference finals, the Bolts fever is sweeping our area, and the NHL officials warn the excited fans about becoming victims of counterfeiting.

Everybody wants a piece of the playoff history, whether it’s a hat, a jersey or a keychain. That’s why the NHL Conference Playoffs and Stanley Cup Playoffs are the prime territory for counterfeiters, according to the NHL.

Since 1992, the NHL has been partnering with the local law enforcement to help prevent production and distribution of fake merchandise.

“Counterfeiting negatively affects local retailers and the local economy, and it also hurts the overall fan experience,” said Tom Prochnow, group vice president, legal and business affairs for the NHL. “Fans deserve genuine merchandise that will last as long as their memories of the Lightning’s Stanley Cup run. We want to ensure that Tampa Bay fans understand what’s real and what’s not.”

Here is a list of tips on how to tell real merchandise from fake:

  • Look for an NHL hologram sticker or hangtag
  • Check for a sewn-in or screen printed neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NHL to produce “official” merchandise, and make sure that any sewn-in tags or labels are intact and not ripped
  • Look at the overall quality of the product before making a purchase, i.e. make sure player and team names are spelled correctly and team colors appear accurate and assess the quality of the embroidery or screen printing
  • Purchase merchandise from established retailers, such as the Tampa Bay Sports store at Amalie Arena and NHL.com

During the last year’s Stanley Cup run the NHL was involved in the seizure or voluntary surrender of more than 8,200 pieces of unauthorized merchandise with an estimated retail value of approximately $600,000, according to the league representatives.

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