Hockey is a team sport. Half the players on the ice are trying to help you. The other half are trying to take the puck from you. Nothing is worse than trying to figure out which guys to pass to, and which guys to avoid. Thus, every hockey player should purchase a black jersey and a white jersey. Buy one of each and keep them in your bag. You can get cheap practice jerseys for $15 each. They take up very little room and will make life so much easier.
When I played in the Franklin Park Original Six League a year ago, the team jerseys were not ready for our first game. So, players on each team ended up using whatever jersey they had in their bag. It was a mish-mosh of colors: white, orange, yellow and gray versus black, red and blue. I probably spent more time trying to remember the teams than actually playing hockey.
A few months later, when the Heartland Novice League started, we were told from the get-go that our jerseys would not be ready until our third game. So I asked the other team captain to have his team wear black, and told my guys to bring white jerseys.
"I don't have a white jersey," one of my new teammates said.
"So buy one," I replied.
My teammates probably thought I was a little OCD, but at least we knew what the teams were.
It surprises me when I play in a pickup game and you got guys in a variety of colors. Not everything has to be black or white. Dark blue is close enough to black. More so, it's the ambiguous colors that could technically be classified as either light or dark. For instance, my yellow Salmon Kings jersey could technically be a "light" jersey that puts me with the white team, or a "colored" jersey that puts me with the black team, so I don't wear it in rat hockey games. When players have to think too hard about the teams while out on the ice, mistakes invariably will be made, such as passing the puck to a guy you thought was on your side...and then feeling the pangs of betrayal when your opponent scores a goal because of your inadvertent pass to him.
Another reason for having both jerseys in your bag is that sometimes during a rat hockey game you may have to switch teams. Perhaps not enough players for one team show up, necessitating a few players to switch sides. Or maybe one team is clobbering the other. Usually, when this happens, the rat hockey organizer (if it the game is being run by a group like the Dire Wolves Hockey Club) will swap players around to balance the teams.
Plus, if one of the other players forgets to bring a jersey, you can always be nice and lend them the one you are not using. Extra points if it is clean.
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Filed under: Equipment