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United States seizes $100,000 worth of phony Winter Classic gear bound for Pittsburgh

Dec 30, 2010, 12:02 AM EDT

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While the players, coaches, and staff at Heinz Field are busy preparing for the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh, there’s another group that’s already well into the game and doing their best off the ice.

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

The Feds seized shipments of counterfeit Winter Classic merchandise that was on its way to Pittsburgh to be sold around the city for the New Years Day event. If this seems like it’s not that big of a deal, you’d be very wrong.

In the past month authorities in Pittsburgh scanned incoming packages for counterfeit goods and intercepted shipments from overseas of almost 800 fake items. The counterfeits included NHL and National Football League jerseys, hats, T-shirts and other souvenirs worth an estimated $100,000, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said.

Recently, the NHL shared information saying that over 38,000 Winter Classic jerseys alone have been sold in advance of the game and after walking around Pittsburgh the last couple of days, I almost think that number is grossly under reported. Much like a rock concert or any other big pro sporting event, there’s always going to be some shady characters selling questionable merchandise for well under market value in the vicinity of the venue. It is, however, good to see that the number of brutal fakes will be less than anticipated.

There won’t be a shortage of places to get Winter Classic gear at Heinz Field as there’s numerous booths inside and outside the stadium including this truck from Dick’s Sporting Goods that’ll be setting up shop next to the stadium.

If you want the real stuff, just stick to the guys selling from the booths. If you want shoddy, sketchy merchandise I’m willing to bet there’ll be guys with duffle bags and cardboard boxes to feed your need.

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