I remember when I was quite young (perhaps my mid-20s) and living cheque-to-cheque. I watched a Toronto Maple Leafs commercial on television where I think it might have been Dave “Tiger” Williams showering after a game – headshot only – and advertising the quality of the Life Brand shampoo that Shoppers Drug Mart provided free for the team. I recall thinking at the time how lucky NHL players were to have things like shampoo provided free for their use.
I had a similar feeling today that I described having 50 years ago when I read about Auston Matthews talking about the NHL’s new dress-code policy.
The NHL’s Dress Code Has Changed
For the first time in however long I can recall, the NHL’s rather conservative dress code has been dropped and players can now wear whatever they choose to games.
That’s quite a change. During a normal regular season, NHL players would be required to arrive at every game in a suit. And, although these suits might be “dressed up” a bit by a variety of flashy fashion accessories (headwear is probably the most interesting personal expression of choice), some kind of a suit is required.
The Maple Leafs Auston Matthews, who himself can be a walking fashion catalog, said recently:
“I’m really looking forward to it, honestly. It’ll be a pretty cool opportunity for guys to express themselves like other leagues are able to. We have a lot of young guys on our team and I think that’s kind of a trend now nowadays, and I think, at times, hockey can kind of fall behind as far as that stuff goes. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Does the Relaxed Dress Code Mean Players Will Wear Anything They Want?
However, the relaxed dress code might not mean that players will wear anything they want – especially when it comes to the Maple Leafs. The team captain John Tavares noted, “We don’t have any dress code, guys have the freedom to do what they want going to games.”
But then Tavares reminded me why 50 years ago I was jealous of NHL teams when he casually added, “And then we do have an apparel package (emphasis mine) that the team was great on getting out to us and going above and beyond with having some stuff for us [to wear] around the hotel and going to practices and meetings.”
An “apparel package” is even better than free shampoo. Tavares did note that players were able to dress as they chose headed to games, but were given apparel to wear around the hotel and in practices and meetings. Not that my approaching-75-year-old body would look as flashy as – say – William Nylander might, but still – wouldn’t all Maple Leafs fans like something from that package?
Each NHL Team to It’s Own Policy
In these different times, with an NHL-relaxed dress code policy, we’re likely to see some seriously-different player fashions. Still, some clubs have chosen to keep a team-imposed dress code with more comfortable attire (like matching golf shirts). However, Maple Leafs fans will get to see their favorite players wearing whatever they wish as they move from their team bus to their dressing rooms.
That’s all great and should be fun to see every game. But really, if you’re a Maple Leafs fans, wouldn’t you want something of that “apparel?” I know I do.
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