1) The Gretzky Tuck
Wayne Gretzky, for obvious reasons, is the Godfather of cool style trends in hockey. From the enviable lifestyle to the unbreakable records, there isn’t much this guy hasn’t done. If Gretzky is the Cool Whip of hockey, then the “Gretzky Jersey Tuck” is the cherry on top. A simple top hand-side tuck caught fire amongst a generation of ankle-biters with every kid born between 1975 and 1990 stuffing their oversized minor hockey jerseys into their hockey pants. This style was so persuasive that some current NHLers continue to carry the Gretzky Tuck torch.
2) Blue Skate Blade Holders
The Great One was also the driver behind one of hockey history’s coolest signature trend: The Blue Perfecta Skate Blade Holders. During the ‘80s. Wayno rocked the blue holders, which were rumoured to be a playoff superstition adopted during an Oilers Dynasty Stanley Cup Playoff push. When Gretzky took his show to Hollywood in 1988, he swapped out the blue holders for black ones, which he continued to wear for the rest of his career. Other players tried to mimic this trend (See Ryan Smyth and Jaromir Jagr), but failed to capture the natural suaveness of The Great One.
3) Tongues Out
Skating “Tongues Out” is one of those trends you can either pull off and look like a rock star or fail miserably with, looking like a duster. NHLers who have famously pulled off this look include the ridiculously talented Alex Kovalev and ultra-beast Shea Weber. Nuff said.
4) The Boucha Headband and Hrudey’s Blue Chiffon
Henry Boucha, affectionately known as “The Chief” was one of the most stylish NHLers of the no-helmet era. Blessed with silky black hair and a moustache that would make a jungle cat purr, Boucha used the power of the headband to thrill the ladies as he streaked up and down the wing for 6 seasons in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings, Minnesota North Stars, Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies, before an unfortunate stick swinging incident left him partially blind, essentially ending his career.
Bred out of practicality, Kelly Hrudey’s dashing blue bandana made him one of the most stylish netminders in NHL history. Hrudey adopted the headband in order to keep his beautiful dark salad in check while keeping sweat out of his contact lenses. After a 1989 trade to the Los Angeles Kings, Hrudey reached rock star status, earning the nickname “Hollywood”, putting the blue chiffon look on full display in Tinseltown.
5) Visor/Cage Combo
After going to the movie theatre to watch Mighty Ducks 2, the thing I wanted most in the world was a visor/cage combo like the one team Iceland sported at the Goodwill Games. There was something extremely cool about the swagger of that Iceland team. Their coach was nails with a cool hairstyle. They had a hot trainer. Their uniforms were nasty and their captain, Gunnar Stahl (You can’t find a cooler name than that), was the real deal. Gordon Bombay’s Ducks might have beat Iceland in the end, but they couldn’t hold a torch to those sweet visor/cage combos.
There is nothing that says “hockey” more than some solid flow. From Ronny Duguay’s Hollywood mullet to Wendel Clark’s brush-cut with curtains to Al Iafrate’s skullet, there have been some sweet signature coifs.
7) Playoff Beards
The playoff beard is the greatest tradition in all of professional sports. There is nothing scarier than staring across the ice at a guy with a big bushy playoff beard that says, “I don’t give a shit, I’ll bite your nose off to win.” From Mike Commodore’s Viking Nest to Scott Niedermayer’s grizzled salt and pepper face bib, a solid playoff beard illustrates an epic journey.
8) Campbell/Wales Conference All-Star Jerseys
Over the years, we’ve seen some pretty nauseating jerseys. From last season’s All-Star Game jersey debacle to basically anything from the mid-to-late ‘90s (Remember the Captain Highliner New York Islander jerseys from the 96-97 season?), we’ve seen some forgettable designs. Aside from the classic look of the Original Six franchises, one of the coolest set of jerseys belongs to the glory days of the Campbell Conference vs. Wales Conference All-Star Game setup.
The Cooperall era didn’t last very long in the NHL. It was first tested in the OHA (Now OHL) in the late ‘70s before it made its way into the NHL camps of the Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques. A similar style, the CCM Propac, was used by the Philadelphia Flyers during the 1981-82 season and the Hartford Whalers the following year. In 1983, the long pant was outlawed in the NHL but continued its popularity amongst beer leaguers the world over.
10) Goalie Masks
There is nothing more artistic in pro sports than the goalie mask. From the earliest inception, goalie masks have taken on the personalized expression of the finest art form. From Gilles Gratton’s tiger mask to Eddie “The Eagle” Belfour’s eagle mask, each depiction is an outward extension of the quirky persona of the goalie, because, let’s face facts, goalies are nuts!