What to Wear to a Hockey Game – Hockey Game Attire 101

Posted on April 16, 2024 by Dan Kent
Sidney Crosby

Wearing the proper clothes or attire to a hockey game is essential for enjoying and showing support for your team. Out of any event or professional sport, hockey is the most important to wear the proper clothes due to the cold conditions in the rink or arena.

From the era of people congregating at ponds to watch loosely organized hockey games to professional leagues being developed with more advanced technology, it is still important to know what to wear while watching hockey. One constant in both scenarios is that hockey spectators have always tried their best to stay warm by bundling up. Let's go over some guidelines.

How should I dress for a hockey game?

Wearing warm or winter clothes to a hockey game is best to protect you from getting cold. Most hockey fans wear a jersey with layers underneath or will wear winter clothes with team-matching colors. Depending on your preference for being cool, a jersey from your favourite team could be good enough. Consider bringing in additional layers and removing them as you see fit.

As you can see below, there are a multitude of ways people dress for hockey games, from t-shirts to winter jackets.

The crowd

In addition, you could wear a baseball cap with your favorite team on it. A team hat can keep your head warm and add some team spirit to the game.

Is it cold during a hockey game?

The temperature inside indoor arenas can vary wildly depending on how many people are inside the rink. The average temperature inside an NHL rink is 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. However, a rink that is half full will be colder than one that is full.

In addition to this, recreational, high school, or minor league hockey arenas are typically much colder. This is because they do not have the technology the NHL does underneath the ice to keep it cold while the arena is warmer. As such, they must compensate and have colder ambient temperatures for an ice hockey game in smaller arenas.

How cold is the ice on an NHL rink?

NHL ice typically varies in temperature throughout the game. Initially, the ice will be colder. As the players come out for warmup, the ice can be anywhere from 16-18 degrees Fahrenheit and near the end of the game, the temperature can go as high as 24 Fahrenheit.

This is because as the players skate on the ice and the fans stay in the building, the ice will naturally warm as the game progresses.

Temperature difference between the NHL and a local recreational rink

The average temperature for an NHL hockey game is roughly 60°F, which allows fans to be more selective in what they wear. The arenas in the NHL are warmer because they have unique technology under the ice to keep the ice frozen at warmer surrounding temperatures.

hockey-day-in-canada

Minor league ice rinks or even local ones will be cooler by about 10°, requiring warmer clothing to stay comfortable. Typically, fans wear jerseys at NHL games and more winter clothes at lower-level hockey games.

Again, this purely has to do with the temperature. However, it is also because purchasing lower-level hockey team apparel is harder than for NHL teams, for example.

What do you wear under a hockey jersey?

Most will typically wear a sweater or a t-shirt with long sleeves under a hockey jersey if they want that added warmth. What you wear under your hockey jersey will largely depend on your cold tolerance. If you like the cold, you'll be OK with a t-shirt underneath your jersey. 

However, if you find yourself getting a bit chilly, put a hoodie and tee on underneath your jersey, and you can always adapt and remove the hoodie if need be.

Should I wear shorts or jeans to a hockey game?

Unless you're very comfortable with cold temperatures, shorts may not be wise to wear to a hockey game. An arena, on average, is about 8 degrees Fahrenheit colder than room temperature, so if you wouldn't be comfortable sitting in your house in much lower temperatures with shorts on, you probably wouldn't be comfortable in shorts at a hockey game.

However, jeans are an excellent choice for pants when going to a hockey game, as they're typically more comfortable in colder temperatures. Just keep in mind if you're wearing something like skinny jeans, they may not be as comfortable temperature-wise as regular blue jeans.

Should I wear leggings to a hockey game?

Leggings and a jersey or leggings, a hoodie, and a jersey over the top are prevalent attire worn to a hockey game. Although It is modestly cold inside of a rink, it's not cold enough to justify full-blown winter gear unless you are from a very warm climate. 

Wearing a shirt, hoodie, jersey, and leggings can be excellent for comfort and warmth. You can remove The hoodie throughout the game and wear your jersey if you find yourself too hot.

Should I bring a jacket to a hockey game?

If you bring a jacket to an NHL game, make sure it's a hoodie or lightweight jacket. Because the arena is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, a heavy jacket may have you sweating and uncomfortable.

Can you bring a blanket to a hockey game?

If you don't feel like bringing a warm jacket to a hockey game or want both, a blanket is an excellent option. Whether you are attending a recreational hockey game or an NHL game, you should be able to bring a blanket to the game.

It doesn't hurt to call them and ask if you're worried about it not being allowed in the arena. But generally, the majority of NHL arenas will allow it.

What should I take to a hockey game?

Besides wearing the right clothes to a hockey game, as I have outlined, you can bring other fun and exciting things to most hockey games to enhance your experience. A cowbell is a classic accessory you can bring into youth hockey games to get the players and crowd going.

A flag or banner with a team logo is another great item you can add to your apparel, except it sticks out even more and inspires other fans. The NHL is strict on what you can and can't bring into the arena, but it is also generally safe to bring posters to youth hockey games.

Wearing the right clothes and bringing the proper accessories enhances the experience of attending hockey games which are the most fantastic sport to watch in person, no matter what level it may be.

What about additional things to bring to recreational rinks?

I suggest bringing feet or hand warmers to youth, local, or minor league games, as it is much colder than the NHL environment. Wearing closed-toe shoes is also essential because cold feet equate to your entire body feeling chilly, which is not pleasant in the slightest.

In recreational or minor league rinks, bringing a hot beverage such as tea or hot chocolate to the game is brilliant to help you stay warm. Often professional or local hockey games will serve hot food and drinks, which is another great method to stay warm throughout the game.

Depending on the arena or venue for the hockey game, it is also smart to bring padded portable seats, especially if the viewing area is metal bleachers. The bleachers absorb the arena's cold, so bringing a portable seat cushion would be a heads-up play.

Do most people that attend hockey games wear a team jersey?

Most hockey fans wear a jersey of the team they are rooting for because it shows direct support and affection for the team, which other fans and players love to see. Wearing a jersey is the perfect combination of ensuring you stay warm throughout the game while also showing strong support for your favorite players or teams you are cheering for. Hockey jerseys are thicker than most other sports, primarily because the sport is played on a cool rink. 

hockey stadium

Besides a jersey, another great way to stay warm while supporting your team is to wear a winter hat or other clothes with the team's logo. This can be a winter hat, jacket, pants, or anything that represents the team you are rooting for.

What is the perfect outfit for a hockey game?

There is zero doubt that a jersey representing your favourite team, some pants, and a hoodie or light jacket, if need be, is the perfect attire for a hockey game. 

If you do not have any official team apparel, your best bet is to wear the same or similar colors as the team you are rooting for. This is a good way to compromise between staying warm and aligning your support with the team you are cheering for.

Especially at local games in colder rinks, wearing your warmest clothes and a jersey isn't going to cut it. A great example of a non-jersey hockey game fit could be a winter hat, long-sleeve shirt, sweatshirt, and jeans.

Sticking to the basics during a hockey game is your best option for staying warm and enjoying the game. Even though there are a lot of different clothes to wear and accessories for a hockey game outfit, it is not very complicated, and the process gets easier as you attend more and more hockey games. Consider the following items for your next game:

What should I wear if my team is at an opposing arena and I’m at the game?

I would wear something neutral to not identify with the opposing team you are supporting because hockey fans can be unpleasant.

I am not telling you that you can't wear your team's colors or a jersey. I certainly do it. I would just prepare for people to give you a little bit of a hard time.

Visually representing your team in an away setting is a strong move and truly shows your passion for the sport and team, which hockey fans do respect. So if you don't mind people calling you out or even razzing you in a friendly competitive way, then represent your favorite team even in someone else's arena.

Have fun when dressing up for hockey games

Wearing the proper attire (jerseys, a team hat, or accessories of the hockey team and warm clothes) makes the experience of attending the game awesome. Fans of the same team, players, and coaches appreciate it when you support the team, as it boosts the team morale during the game.

Wearing clothes that support the home team at professional games will make for a fun and easy conversation with many like-minded people. It can lead to friendships with many people at the game. Along with your friends and family, it is enjoyable to watch the game with people who share similar values and are wearing matching clothes.

You will meet many people at the game wearing similar attire because a mutual commonality allows you to connect with many people and, more importantly, enjoy the game in spirit!

Dan Kent

About the author

Growing up in a hockey hotbed (Calgary, Alberta. And yes, I'm an Oiler fan), I decided to put my love and knowledge of the game to work. I started at five and am still playing today into my early 30s. By acquiring Brave Stick Hockey and rebranding it to Big Shot Hockey in 2023, I plan to teach people about this great game and educate them on the best equipment and history of the game. On a career level, I am in finance, running one of the largest financial websites in Canada, Stocktrades.ca.

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