What's the most metal sport? 'Hockey!' says Metal Blade Records chief

Brian Slagel

THIS PLACE IS MENTAL! WHAT DO YOU COLLECT?

“I started with hockey jerseys but I’ve got a pretty good collection of pucks and I used to collect schedules and little knick-knacks here and there. I’m not as fanatical as I used to be, but I still collect jerseys and merchandise like t-shirts and stuff like that. If I go to a hockey tournament, I always buy a t-shirt. I have tons of shirts from minor league teams, too.”

THERE ARE NEARLY 10 RACKS HERE – JUST HOW MANY FUCKING JERSEYS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?!

“I have 2,500 jerseys, total – 750 of which are game-worn. Most of this started in the 90s and early-00s, when eBay first started. Nobody cared about any of these minor league jerseys, so you could buy them in lots – like 20 jerseys of one team for a hundred dollars! Then I was a part owner in what used to be called the Western Professional Hockey League, so I also used to get stuff through the teams and the league.”

WHICH IS THE RAREST ONE?

“Years ago, the WPHL brought this minor league team to Tucson, Arizona and called them The Tucson Scorch. The league folded before the team ever played a game, but they made up some mock jerseys that, for us collectors, were the hardest jerseys to get. They made 10, I think, and I’ve now got two or three of them.”

A few of the items in Brian's epic hockey collection

A few of the items in Brian's epic hockey collection

IS IT EVEN POSSIBLE TO NAME A FAVOURITE?

“Probably my Ken Baumgartner jersey. Ken used to play for the LA Kings and we ended up doing a heavy metal single with him. His nickname was ‘Bomber’, so we did Bomber by Motörhead with Mark Zonder, the drummer for Fates Warning and a couple of guys from Armored Saint. Ken was the nicest guy in the world and for me it was super fun to do. He gave me a game-worn, autographed jersey of his, which is pretty cool. I also have a Mario Lemieux autographed jersey with the original Penguins logo on it. Lemieux’s one of my all-time favourite players, so that’s probably the coolest thing I’ve got in my collection.”

AT THE JEFF HANNEMAN MEMORIAL, YOU TOLD A STORY ABOUT GIVING A PAIR OF STANLEY CUP TICKETS TO HIM NOT LONG BEFORE HE TURNED GRAVELY ILL.

“Jeff had become a huge Kings fan right around their first Stanley Cup run. When they got to the finals, he called me up and said, ‘Hey, is there any way you could get me two tickets to
a Stanley Cup game?’ He had called me at the perfect time because I actually had two tickets to one of the games and I couldn’t go! This was after he’d been really sick and he had all of those problems before things got really bad.
I gave him the tickets and he called and said that he had a great time. It was just really cool to be able to do that for him and then hearing that he had such a great time was awesome.”

WHAT’S YOUR HOLY GRAIL OF COLLECTIBLES?

“The Mario Lemieux game-worn jersey. There weren’t very many of them and who knows what they go for, probably $20,000-30,000?”

ON A SCALE OF 1-10, HOW METAL IS YOUR COLLECTION?

“It’s easily a 9. Hockey’s got violence, blades that are sharp as knives… It’s a pretty heavy metal sport. Not to mention they play tons of metal during hockey games. It’s awesome! There’s nothing better than being in a huge arena with 18,000 people and hearing them crank Amon Amarth.”