Why do players wear suits on game day? It seems so restrictive when I’d want something comfortable!
I hear this, so loud and so clear!
After my last article just chatting nonsense, including players’ styles back in the 1990s, I got the comment and question about game day attire. And when you think about it, hockey is really the only sport that players dress up to go to the game. Basketball, they’re all over the place, the NFL certainly doesn’t have a dress code before or during the game as I consider Bill Belichik’s hoodies, and Major League Baseball has moved away from it from what I understand.
For hockey, it also starts early. I’ll never forget one day on the job when I was in media, I had a cameraman who was irrationally angry that the kids were dressing up for the game. He thought it was too rigid and in all honesty, it does present a bit of elitism in the game of hockey. It never really bothered me and wasn’t something I considered, but after that day it did linger with me a little! Kids were taking the game so seriously and expected to be professional when they were barely teenagers.
So I decided to dive in and ask some questions about it. It’s a tale as old as time, as former Oilers assistant coach and current AHL Silver Knights head coach Manny Viveiros said he thinks he started wearing ties with his team jackets in u12 (ok Manny, I’m only kidding, not that old a tale). He said he loved it because he was so proud to be part of a team. It only became annoying in junior when they would have long bus trips and have to get changed on the bus. When he was head coach of the WHL’s Broncos in Swift Current, the coaching staff allowed players to wear team tracksuits into the rink those days.
Another local coaching pal of mine said that he thinks it has to do with team bonding and unity. He coaches women and said they absolutely eat up being able to dress up for game days… and this is something I totally understand. So is it actually the same for men?
When you’re in the NHL, you can afford these snazzy outfits. Manny said that he doesn’t care if his AHL players wear suits now, but they need to be dressed well as they’re considered role models. NHL players are also expected to set an example for younger generations of players.
What do you think? Is it necessary? Should hockey change? Will hockey change? Tell me your thoughts, and hit me up with your questions.