Replica jerseys of Toronto Maples Leafs rookie center Auston Matthews became available at retail Oct. 13, the day after the former No. 1 overall pick played his first career National Hockey League (NHL) game.
National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) rookie jerseys are available directly after their respective drafts, but the NHL has different licensee rules, according to NHL Players Association spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon in an ESPN,com report. Licensees — in this case, Fanatics and its other e-commerce sites — cannot use a player’s name and image until the player has made the team and signed a group licensing agreement. The Maple Leafs did not announce Matthews as part of the roster with the jersey No. 34 until the end of last month.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has similar rules, as rookie jerseys go on sale as soon as the player is called up to an MLB roster. — M.Q.