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Hockey jersey

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Display of 1959-60 Montreal Canadiens jersey worn by Maurice Richard

A hockey jersey is a piece of clothing worn by ice hockey players to cover the upper part of their bodies. They also are worn by fans to show support for a team, or to create ties to a hometown or region.

A "hockey sweater" is terminology originating from the sport's earlier days when the game was predominantly played outside during winter and where the sweaters worn by players was a warm wool-knit covering. This term has fallen out of standard since the switch to polyester.


Back of the France men's national ice hockey team jersey, circa 2008

Hockey jerseys today are typically made of tough synthetic materials like polyester, to help take away moisture and keep the wearer dry. Most professional ice hockey teams sell replica sweaters of their famous players at sports memorabilia stores, as well as being available at arenas.

For most leagues around the world, in accordance with the team's colours and matching the socks, they are usually emblazoned with the team's logo on the front, the player's last name on the upper back, and a designated number below, from 0 to 99. A team captain wears an uppercase "C" above and to the right of the team logo on their sweaters (although a few NHL teams have the letter above and to the left). Two other players, designated alternate captains, wear an uppercase "A" on theirs.

Sweaters worn in European leagues and tournaments are adorned with sponsor advertisements, a concept borrowed from football jerseys. The NHL first allowed ads on jerseys in the 2022-23 season.[1]

Alternate jerseys[edit]

Many hockey leagues across the globe also have an additional third or alternate jersey, like the NHL. These jerseys usually have a special design as the crest and are sometimes part of a special event or leaguewide initiative, such as the Winter Classic or Stadium Series. However, many other leagues have different alternate jerseys for many different things. For example, the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL rebrand to the "Sioux Falls Fighting Wiener Dogs"[2] for a night and wear a special jersey with a group of dachshunds stampeding forwards, although they changed the logo to a dachshund holding a hockey stick.

NHL teams also have special nights[3] where they recognize a significant cultural group or event where they will have special jerseys worn in warmups to show their appreciation. Leaguewide events like Pride night will have special LGBTQIA+ designs on the jersey and players can opt to have rainbow stick tape to show support in addition to the jersey worn during warmups. However, each team has their own nights for special events.


An Oilers jersey with Bear in Cree

The design is often adapted for specific cases, such as former NHL Vancouver Canucks teammates Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Their last names are accompanied by their first initials, since being twin brothers they share the same last name on the same roster. Similarly, Aku and Aatu Räty wear jerseys with two letters from their first names when playing for the same team to distinguish them.[4] During an exhibition match between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, defenseman Ethan Bear, who is of Cree descent, wore a jersey with his last name on it written in Cree syllabics.[5]

The National Hockey League no longer permits 0 nor 00 for jersey numbers, as they cannot be entered into the NHL's database,[6] and the available numbers only go up to 98 since the League retired the number 99 in honor of Wayne Gretzky.[7]

Cultural impact[edit]

Fashion and media[edit]

The cultural impact of the hockey sweater in Canada is encapsulated by the short story The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier. In it, a young hockey fan asks his mother to order a Montreal Canadiens sweater from an Eatons department store catalogue, but instead accidentally receives a sweater for the team's arch-rival, the Toronto Maple Leafs, much to his embarrassment and the derision from his friends. The story was later made into a short animated film of the same name, which was produced by the National Film Board of Canada; a quote from it appears on the 2003 Canadian five-dollar bill.[8]

In Ferris Bueller's Day Off the character Cameron played by Alan Ruck wears a Detroit Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey. Ruck said this was to give the character more depth and independence that wasn’t shown directly in the movie.[9]

Fan versions of Hockey jerseys for sale

Hockey jerseys started to become more popular as a fashion choice with the general public starting with the expansion of teams like the San Jose Sharks and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to southern California. As well as Wayne Gretzky being traded to the Los Angeles Kings around the same time.[10]

Jerseys started to be made with fashion in mind first at this time, with the NHL’s first alternate jersey program starting in 1995.[11] For example, the first alternate of the Edmonton Oilers introduced was meant to be worn by fans of the team and fans of fashion alike, and to speak to skater culture. While pulling from team history for inspiration, it featured completely new elements such as bold new logos and the introduction of silver to the team.[12]

Starting in the early 2010's tossing a jersey onto the ice has become an extreme way of vocalizing displeasure with a team. This is seen mostly in Canada. It is done to show the fan is "giving up." The practice is mostly frowned upon, being seen as attention seeking.[13] Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment the owner of the Toronto Maple Leafs and their arena have banned and fined fans for throwing jerseys onto the ice.[14]

Hip-hop and music culture[edit]

In the mid 1990's hockey jerseys became popular in Hip-Hop culture. The first major appearance is from Snoop Dogg in his Gin and Juice music video. In it he is seen wearing a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey with "Gin and Juice" and the number 94 on the back. In other scenes in the music video he is wearing Springfield Indians jersey. In an interview with the Athletic, when asked why he chose to wear them, Snoop Dogg responded "I always thought that the hockey jerseys were fashionable and a good fit. No one in rap was really reppin them."[15]

Hockey Jerseys also appeared in multiple other music videos during this time from artists such as Nas in "The World is Yours", A Tribe Called Quest in "Oh My God", LL Cool J in "Hey Lover", and Smif-N-Wessun in "BuckTown" and "Let's get it on." Tupac Shakur was seen wearing a Detroit Red Wings jersey in an infamous photo and video of him spitting at reporters while appearing to court.[16]

In the late 2010’s there was a revival of the trend,[17] with artists such as Drake and Post Malone wearing jerseys of local teams when performing tours.[18][19] Artist SZA being from St. Louis has featured St. Louis Blues jerseys in many of her works, such as the cover of her grammy winning album S.O.S.[20] and in a music video appearance for her feature on “Sweet Baby Daddy”[21]

The NHL has tried to capitalize on the revival of the trend,[22] seen most with artist Justin Bieber and his Drew House brand collaborating with Adidas in 2022 to create the Toronto Maple Leafs “Flipside jersey.” The outside being a black Toronto jersey with blue accents and the Toronto skyline in silhouette on the sleeve. The jersey also has a feature when reversed inside-out being black with gold accents, and features a combination of the yellow Drew House smile logo, and the Leafs front crest.[23] This collaboration would resume in 2024 when the NHL revealed Drew House inspired jerseys for the 2024 NHL All-Star game.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wyshynski, Greg (2021-08-17). "Source: NHL team jersey fronts can have ads starting in 2022-23 season". ESPN. Retrieved 2022-08-27.
  2. ^ "Wiener Dog Night". Sioux Falls Stampede. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  3. ^ "NHL Cultural Celebrations/Community Theme Nights blog | NHL.com". www.nhl.com. 2024-03-11. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  4. ^ "Suomen nuoret puolustavat maailmanmestaruutta, Ruotsi jahtaa revanssia" (in Finnish). December 26, 2019. Retrieved March 25, 2022.
  5. ^ Monkman, Lenard (May 28, 2021). "Teacher calls on fans to wear Indigenous athletes' jerseys on Friday". CBC. Retrieved 2024-04-02.
  6. ^ Pinchevsky, Tal (November 30, 2016). "Why goalies are increasingly ditching traditional No. 1". ESPN. Retrieved August 28, 2017.
  7. ^ "Perfect setting: Gretzky's number retired before All-Star Game". CNN Sports Illustrated. Associated Press. February 6, 2000. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  8. ^ "Roch Carrier and The Hockey Sweater". Retrieved 2024-04-30.
  9. ^ McDermott, John (2016-06-11). "Why Cameron Frye Wore a Gordie Howe Jersey in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'". MEL Magazine. Medium. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  10. ^ Berglund, Bruce (2020-12-18). "How Hockey Jerseys Became Standard Wear for Fans". University of California Press. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  11. ^ "ARTICLE The 95-96 NHL Third Jersey Program: A Retrospective". Jersey Nerds. 2020-05-29. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  12. ^ Swane, Brian (2021-10-01). "Oilers' McFarlane Jersey Remains Divisive 20 Years Later". The Hockey Writers. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  13. ^ Gretz, Adam (2021-12-15). "The jersey toss has become Canada's ultimate sign of hockey frustration". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  14. ^ Wilson, Codi (2015-01-20). "Fans ticketed for throwing Leafs jerseys on ice banned from MLSE properties". CP24. Retrieved 2024-04-28.
  15. ^ Gentille, Sean (Dec 14, 2021). "Snoop Dogg on the Penguins, the return of the 'Gin and Juice' jerseys … and 'Sid tha Kid'". The Athletic. Retrieved 2022-08-27.
  16. ^ "The troubling context around Tupac's infamous Red Wings jersey photo". BLAC Media. BLAC. 2016-09-13. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  17. ^ Gallagher, Jacob (2020-12-15). "How Nostalgia (and Snoop Dogg) Sparked a Retro Hockey-Jersey Craze". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  18. ^ Aziz, Adam (2023-01-31). "Hockey jerseys have returned to hip-hop". Andscape. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  19. ^ "Post Malone wears Tie Domi jersey on stage in Toronto". NHL. 2023-07-22. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  20. ^ Kulesa, Anna (2022-11-30). "SZA rocks Blues jersey on new album cover". NHL. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  21. ^ "SZA rocks Blues jersey in new music video". NHL. 2024-02-24. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  22. ^ "Retro wave: NHL embraces hockey jerseys". Sports Business Journal. 2023-02-01. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  23. ^ "Maple Leafs, Justin Bieber collaborate on unique 'Next Gen' uniform". SportsNet. 2022-03-22. Retrieved 2024-04-21.
  24. ^ "Justin Bieber Brings 'Joy of Drew House onto the Ice' in Adidas Collab for 2024 NHL All-Star Jerseys". People. 2024-01-14. Retrieved 2024-04-21.

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