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A dream come true…for the designer

Players aren’t the only ones in the hockey world who fulfill a childhood dream when they clutch their first professional jersey.

The same holds true for professional jersey designers.

When Courtney Mahoney, the Chicago Wolves’ senior vice president of operations, asked Wolves senior graphic designer Troy Mueller to create the St. Patrick’s Day jerseys, presented by Jewel-Osco, that the team will wear on March 11, 14, and 15 at Allstate Arena, he needed a moment to take it in.

“When you’re 10 years old and you tell yourself that one day you’re going to design a professional hockey jersey, you’re like, ‘Yeah, whatever,’ ” Mueller said. “You don’t really believe it’s going to happen.”

The 27-year-old Mueller, who started playing hockey at age 5, began inventing his own hockey teams, logos and jerseys (such as the “Las Vegas Pharoahs”) when he was in grade school. He used pencil and paper in those days, but he used nothing but his computer to create the team’s 19th set of St. Patrick’s Day jerseys.

It was no easy task. Many of the best ideas, as you can imagine, have been used over the years as the Wolves’ commemorative jerseys have raised tons of dollars for Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago and Chicago Wolves Charities.

After reviewing the previous 18 jerseys, consulting the “Hockey Hall of Fame Book of Jerseys” that Mahoney gave him as a holiday gift two years ago, and dipping into his bag of creative tricks, Mueller came up with a unique yet timeless St. Patrick’s Day design.

“I wanted to keep it traditional,” Mueller said. “But it’s a specialty jersey, so you want to make it different from the normal home and road jerseys. I definitely wanted to have a Celtic pattern in there. I wanted to have some plaid, but didn’t want to make the whole jersey plaid. That’s why I ‘hid’ it in the striping.”

“It’s really challenging to come up with the green jerseys year after year,” Mahoney said. “Our designers always impress me with the thought process they’ve put into it. Having a new take and some fresh eyes on the jersey really worked. I think it’s a great look and a classic jersey and I think our fans will really like them.”

The fans’ perspective is important because the Wolves faithful get to participate in the process via the auctions and raffles that begin during Wednesday’s game versus Utica and close at the end of the second intermission of Sunday’s game against the Rockford IceHogs.

Right wing Shane Harper, who ranks second in the American Hockey League with 25 goals, has taken the lead on behalf of Easter Seals. The 26-year-old Valencia, Calif., native will wear a different jersey in each of the three games and they’ll be available via raffle, silent auction, and online auction.

Forwards Philip McRae and Benn Ferriero and defenseman David Shields will join HARPER in having their jerseys available through in-game raffles. Tickets are $5 apiece or five for $20. The jersey worn by center Colin Fraser will be available via blind auction.

All other jerseys, including ones for head coach John Anderson and assistants Mark Hardy and Brad Tapper, will be available via silent auction in Allstate Arena’s Southeast Lobby.