As anyone who has read Empty Netters for any length of time will tell you, hockey jerseys are something we are extremely passionate about. From our endless resistance to Reebok's reign of terror to fairly harmless faux pas by the general public, we take the business of wearing a jersey very seriously. Perhaps too seriously.
So with that in mind, we've decided to let you in on our little system of values when it comes to hockey jerseys. We call violations of this system "jersey fouls." A few of you have asked what exactly a jersey foul is while many of you have asked for clarifications to this system. Hopefully today's post will answer all these questions.
With no further ado, here is the Jersey Foul Bill of Rights:
1.) Getting Personal
Easily the most common of jersey fouls, a personalized jersey is a blight on humanity. No one cares who you are. If they wanted to see your name, they'd dig it out of a phone book. Additionally, a jersey like this sets you up for ridicule if you're on the road. Instead of simply being "that guy in the Crosby jersey" you're "that jerk Skolnick from Pittsburgh."
2.) Splitting Up
This is a practice that came into being during the 1999-2000 when Bruins legend Raymond Bourque was traded to the Avalanche in hopes of winning the Stanley Cup. It became popular wear a split jersey which was half Bruins and half Avalanche. Frankly, the idea of taking a pair of scissors to any jersey just sickens us. Then to splice them together Dr. Moreau style is just incompresible. Who are you to play God?
A new phenomenon we've observed has been to get a certain style of jersey personalized with a specific player's name and number despite the fact he never played in that era. Just because Marc-Andre Fleury is one of the most dynamic players in the history of team, that doesn't give you the right to be historically inaccurate and insult the likes of Denis Herron.
4. eBay Watch:
Shopping for jerseys on eBay is like drafting a player out of Russia. Occasionally, you can get an Alex Ovechkin or an Evgeni Malkin for a good deal. But you can also end up getting an Alexei Yashin and having it blow up in your face. Sometimes the telltale signs of a knockoff jersey are fairly obvious such as in the above picture. Occasionally, they're a little bit more subtle. The font on the player's name and number can be a little off or the gold in a Penguins' jersey can be a little too "mustardy." Sure it's might be cool to get a deal for $20, but these little flaws really undermine your jersey street cred.
5.) Pitiful in Pink:
We understand and accept women have certain curves and body features which hockey jerseys really don't compliment well. But that doesn't excuse the abomination known as a women's jersey. Hockey jerseys are meant to big and bulky in order to fit over padding. They're not intended to show off the results from your Pilates class. That's why they came up with the little black dress.
6.) The Hiding Hood:
This doesn't really apply to anyone in a blank jersey but a sight like this is almost like an annoying canker sore to us. During our pregame travels around Mellon Arena, we run into plenty of quality jerseys that are obscured by hoods. Granted, hockey is a sport which is primarily played during winter months so you need to dress accordingly, but if you have a Kevin Stevens jersey, show it off. Don't hide his name. If your head is cold, buy a hat. This problem also plagues men and women with long hair.
7.) The Third Party
Something that is always a head scratcher for us is the presence of a jersey for an NHL team not involved in the game the bearer is present at. The above picture is of a Flames jersey we saw during a Flyers-Penguins game in March. The occasion of a hockey game isn't an excuse to wear something simply because it's hockey related.
There are many exceptions to this rule however. If one of the teams involved is a rival, the practice is acceptable. We remember seeing a Dave Keon Maple Leafs jersey at the Penguins' first playoff game against Ottawa last season. Since Ottawa and Toronto are rivals, that's cool.
Also, international jerseys are acceptable assuming a player of that country is involved with the game. If you want to wear a team Russia jersey in honor of Evgeni Malkin, go for it.
8.) What's in a Name
Many fans are eager to show off how they respect history by wearing the jersey of an old-time player. But often times, they display ignorance of that history. Players like Maurice Richard never wore a name on the back of their jersey in their playing days. If you don't realize what the No. 9 on a Habs jersey means without slapping a name on it, you don't deserve to wear it.
9.) Frequent Flyer
Unless you're cleaning the restroom of a Shop 'n Save, there really is never an appropiate time to wear this poor excuse for a PennDot worker's uniform.
10.) The Self Explanatory
Some flaws stand out alone without an explanation.
So there you have it folks. Pending ratification from South Dakota and New Mexico, these rules will become federal laws in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. You know them. They're clear as day. Observe them. And feel free to contact you're nearest EN representative with any potential jersey fouls so we can correct the situation.
(All photos not credited are either from us or have been submitted from EN readers)