NHL's Arizona Coyotes Dress Down the Dress Code and Ditch the Business Suits
We are in the year 2021, and many things are frequently changing all around us. The coronavirus pandemic shifted conventional standards, pushing various industries into a new direction of normalcy, especially our way of dressing. Sweatpants and pajamas are frequently worn in a remote environment, and many workers are ditching business attire for
casual attire. Major sports teams like the NBA and the NFL have also been a part of the relaxed trend for a long time, transforming their designated arenas into fashion shows.
However, it is not a coincidence that the NHL league is now trying to join in for the same leisure.
Beyond its history, the NHL is the only one among the four North American prominent men’s professional sports leagues with the strictest game day dress code spelled out into its corporate business agreement. According to ESPN, “Exhibit 14, Paragraph 5 of the CBA reads: “Players are required to wear jackets, ties and dress pants to all Club games and while traveling to and from such games unless
otherwise specified by the Head Coach or
As the 2021-22 NHL season begins, the Arizona Coyotes are one the fewest NHL teams in the country, with plans to relax their game-day dress code for all players.
The NHL announced to players they could dress however they desired to tournaments throughout the 2020 postseason bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton, something players commonly enjoyed. Still, the league reverted back to the CBA policy last season.
Before last season, Alex Meruelo Jr., the team’s chief brand officer, proposed this idea to former team captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson to loosen the dress code for home games, and Ekman-Larsson agreed with it.
Coyotes team defenseman Jakob Chychrun told NHL, “I think it’s just good for the game. We’re letting guys be creative and be themselves. I think it’s important that they have an opportunity to do that. It’s just good to get guys to show what they are like away from the rink.”
His fellow teammate, Christian Fischer, also expressed to NHL his gratitude toward the relaxed dress code. “I think it’s where the game is heading, instead of having that old-school, suit-and-tie rule.” “You look around other leagues, these teams when they walk into their games — and it’s actually pretty exciting to see what players are wearing, what their taste is.”
Fans also seem to enjoy the opportunity to see their favorite players’ personalities and sense of fashion off the ice. “It’s good for growing hockey fans,” Fisher said. “It’s a different part of the game, to see players’ personalities and their fashion choices. That goes a long way with some people. And it’s good for the personal brand.”
Another benefit of the new dress code is comfort. The Coyotes feel way more relaxed commuting to games without sitting in a suit and tie for a good hour and less perspiration. Lawson Crouse is a dress code traditionalist; however, he agrees on the comfort aspect as he told NHL, “There’ve been games where it’s been upwards of close to 90 degrees out,” Crouse said. “And the arena isn’t a close drive from North Scottsdale. So, sitting in a suit for 30-45 minutes in traffic can get very hot.”
Every Coyote has their own personal style, and it reflects on its individual personality. Like Conor Garland, who often wears blue on turtlenecks and sweaters, he doesn’t consider himself a “colorful” dresser and shops at Kohls often. “I’ll shop at Kohl’s, for all I care. In the summer I wear the same thing — I wear my black or brown vest, with maybe a long sleeve Lululemon shirt and joggers. That’s my style in the summer; it’s just casual for me.”
Chychrun is also a huge sneakerhead. His most extensive shoe collection was his “Off– White” collaboration with Nike, and he is applauded by his teammates and fans for his style. He, in fact, credits his girlfriend for his “road
trip” fashion. “I’m going, to be honest, my girlfriend does a lot of that for me. She picks a lot of my outfits and packs a lot of my clothes. So, I just kind of open up my bag to whatever I have, and it’s usually a surprise. She’s great.”
Altering the dress code so players could attend games in casual attire is something the Coyotes believe will help grow their fan base and show a sense of uniqueness and personal expression hidden behind the jersey and business attire. It also spreads awareness to other NHL leagues looking to join the bandwagon and grow their brand as a team.
NHL.com/Coyotes https://couchguysports.com/NHLShouldAbolishSuitAndTie ESPN.com/ArizonaCoyotes