ST. LOUIS — As hockey fans gear up to support the St. Louis Blues during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Final, the National Hockey League wants to warn fans that another group is preparing for a Stanley Cup Championship run. 

The NHL stated that counterfeiters will be seeking to profit and take advantage of fans who think they're purchasing authentic NHL gear. 

These counterfeiters target major events, such as the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where fans are eager to take home memorable keepsakes.

During the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final, the NHL confiscated more than 5,400 pieces of unauthorized merchandise that had a value of almost $137,000. There also were 2,900 listings for counterfeit NHL products that were removed from online marketplaces in 2018. 

“Counterfeiting negatively affects legitimate, tax-paying retailers and the local economy, but it also hurts the overall fan experience,” said Tom Prochnow, NHL senior vice president of legal. “We’re here to help fans understand what’s real and what’s not to ensure they take home genuine merchandise that will last as long as their memories of the Blues’ Stanley Cup run.”

The League suggested some helpful tips for St. Louis fans in order to avoid being a victim by counterfeiters during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs:

  • Look for an NHL hologram sticker or hologram hangtag on retail products
  • Check for a sewn-in tag or screen-printed label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NHL to produce “officially licensed” merchandise, and make sure that any sewn-in tags 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 NHLShop.com or the STL Authentics retail store at Enterprise Center.

Along with providing fans tips for protection against counterfeiters, the NHL works closely with federal, state and local law enforcement officials, who will be enforcing laws prohibiting the sale of counterfeit merchandise and unauthorized vending throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final.

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