Hi! I'm a relatively new hockey fan, and I don't really know anyone else who watches or goes to games. Could you maybe explain the 'jersey foul' thing to me? I'm getting the impression it's looked down on to wear the jersey of a player who's been traded - say, if I'd really liked Blake Comeau on CBJ, it wouldn't be okay to wear that jersey to a CBJ game anymore. Is that correct? And why is that a bad thing, if so? I don't feel like you stop liking a player just because they got traded. Thanks!
First off - and this is the most important lesson any hockey fan can learn - you should never ever ever care what old annoying gatekeepers think you should and should not do* when it comes to lovin’ your team and this sport as hard as you like.
That said, when it comes to getting nice and snazzy for the hockey viewing event of your choice, there are certain protocols a lot of hockey fans will stick to when it comes to wearing jerseys.
I don’t think I’ve ever run into someone who thinks wearing a recently traded player’s jersey is a foul, but who knows what absurdity lies in the brains of judgmental jersey police.
Here are a few of the most common “jersey fouls” you might see around a hockey rink:
1. Wearing a team’s jersey with the name of a player who was never on that team.
Find some chill, Oilers fans.
2. Putting your own name on the back of an NHL team’s jersey
I think the idea is that it’s a bit presumptuous to have your name on an NHL jersey if you are not actually an NHLer, but to be honest I don’t know why people give a damn about this. That said, I also would never blow nearly $200 to stick my own name on a jersey when I could get my favorite player’s name there instead.
3. Wearing the jersey of a team that is not playing that night.
This isn’t completely black and white. For instance wearing a Hawks jersey to a Sharks v. Caps game would generally be a jersey foul, but wearing a Niemi Hawks jersey to that same game is debatably fine given the player is on the ice.
Wearing the NCAA or Juniors jersey of player of the team you’re watching is always okay. And as far as I can tell people get a lot less up in arms about wearing unrelated jerseys to lower level hockey. No one really cares if you wear your awesome Ryan Miller Buffaslug sweater to an ECHL game.
4. Joke jerseys
The only time wearing a 69 jersey has ever been funny was in the movie Goone, so unless you’re Jay Baruchel please stop and think before dropping hundreds of dollars on a “YOURMOM #69” jersey. For all our sakes.
5. Pink jerseys
This is stems about 99.99% from sexism so feel free to disregard.
6. Jerseys from the wrong time period
This is a lot more nit-picky, and the vast majority of people won’t even notice, but some old school hockey nerds consider it a jersey foul to wear a player’s jersey if the design is one said player never actually wore. So getting a Mike Modano Stars sweater with the modern logo or a Teuvo Teravainen 2009 Winter Classic jersey would be a no go.
Personally I stick to the following rule with my jerseys:
- Is the person whose jersey I’m wearing currently in the arena I am watching hockey in? Then go for it.
That means both team’s gear, any players’ jerseys from past teams, or your own gross beer league swag is fair game.
That’s my own rule, though.
More importantly, getting worked up about what other people are wearing to a hockey game is tragically absurd** and one of the worst ways a person can spend their time.
So you do you, my wonderful hockey friends. And let me know if anyone gives you shit because I will put on my hideous pink Jeff Carter Flyer’s jersey, fly out there, and punch them right in the nose.
*Within the bounds of being a decent and non-incarcerated human. So much as I would like to sit on Jack Johnson’s front porch with a shotgun and threaten to take the life of anyone who would wrong him, I restrain myself because he would probably find it frightening and also someone would most likely arrest me. But beyond that YOU DO YOU YOU BEAUTIFUL HOCKEY FANS.
**Unless you are getting something truly horrible and offensive on your jersey LOOKING AT YOU “SEDIN SISTER” JERSEY BROS. NO ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU.