Muskies Jerseys Bring Old ABA Memories To Light



Muskies Jerseys Bring Old ABA Memories To Light


Kelsey Kroll
Wolves Editorial/Social Media Associate

Email

The Minnesota Timberwolves’ roster might have a fresh new look this season, but fans will soon be reminded of a Minnesota team from the past and will get their first glimpse next Wednesday night.

Representing the 1967-68 uniforms worn by the American Basketball Association’s Minnesota Muskies, the Wolves will showcase the historic jerseys for the first time in the franchise’s history Feb. 1 against the Indiana Pacers.

Fans voted at the State Fair between the Muskies and the Minnesota Pipers, both former American Basketball Association teams who each played a season at the Met Center in the 1960s. The Wolves will showcase the 1967-68 Muskies’ jerseys for five matchups known as the Hardwood Classic games, starting with Feb. 1 vs. Indiana, followed by Feb. 10 vs. Dallas, Feb. 11 vs. New York, March 5 vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, March 9 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers and March 30 vs. Boston.

Fans can purchase the Hardwood Classic Five-Pack for as low as $26 per game. Those who purchase their package before Tuesday, Jan. 31, will receive complimentary tickets to the Feb. 1 Indiana game. The package includes a ticket, a voucher for 50 percent off a limited edition Minnesota Muskies T-shirt and in-game stats delivered to your seat.

To purchase the Hardwood Classic tickets, CLICK HERE.

“It’s always great to know what came before you and the things that guys went through to get the NBA where it is today,” Wolves guard Wayne Ellington said. “And it’s always cool to get the retro jerseys, you know, the throw backs. We get to honor those things that came before us. It’s cool to keep it relevant and make sure it’s not forgotten.”

The predominantly white jerseys bearing the Muskies name on the chest with large blue numbers will remind fans, players and all spectators of the team that once was.

And while the Minnesota Muskies did not last within the ABA, former Muskies Public Relations Manager Dick Jonckowski is thrilled to see the Muskies take the court again.

“To me, I think it will be great,” Jonckowski said. “I just think it is a great idea. More and more people seem to like the throwbacks and the nostalgia stuff. People seem to like the old days coming back and I think is a perfect example of it. I think it is great.”

The Muskies were formed seven years after the Minneapolis Lakers departed for Los Angeles. They were not part of the National Basketball Association, but rather the defunct ABA.

With Minnesota having a team in the Twin Cities again, the ABA headquarters also were held in Minneapolis as the league chose George Mikan, former Minneapolis Lakers standout, as its commissioner. The Muskies had a success on the court in their lone year in Minnesota, sporting the second-best record in the league; however, the wins failed to draw in fans.

“It was kind of an unusual situation,” Jonckowski said. “We just had trouble drawing people. For some reason we couldn’t get it off the ground. Even though we had a lot of good players, guys who ended up in the Hall of Fame in fact, but it just wasn’t enough.”

Both Jonckowski and Minnesota Timberwolves President Chris Wright is excited to have the team represented once again.

"We're extremely excited to pay tribute to the great history of Minnesota basketball through the Hardwood Classic games," Wright said. "It will be fun to see Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and all of our current players wearing the Muskies uniform."

For the Wolves, who get to sport the retro attire on the court this season, it brings unique energy to the game.

“It’s cool to throw on a different jersey and get a different look,” Ellington said. “It’s always fun.”

Dick Jonckowski, nicknamed "The Polish Eagle," has been a guest speaker and emcee at various events since 1965. He has been the PA voice of Gopher baseball and basketball since 1986 with his motto "Laugh and Live Longer." He has entertained all over the U.S. and Canada with his quick wit and spontaneity. Major events include Legends Dinner in Newark, New Jersey, Roger Maris Golf in Fargo, North Dakota, Host "Jay Buckley's major League Baseball Tours,' and College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Dick is also the voice of the American Legion World Series at the banquet and PA for the games.


For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.