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What to wear, what to wear? When considering what to wear to a hockey game, you’ll want to represent by wearing your favorite hockey clothing, which might include a favorite player’s hockey jersey or a team hat, but you’ll also want to be comfortable. In this case, comfort means warmth. Whether you’re parked outdoors in the snow for the local high school game or you’re fifty rows up at the Bell Centre, you can expect some cool, and sometimes downright cold, conditions.
If you’re not sure what to wear to a hockey game indoors, it’s always smart to wear layers. Whatever the sport, you can immediately identify the fan who knows the ropes—and veteran fans will have it down to a science. Start with a T-shirt, followed by a loose-fitting, long-sleeve shirt. Wear your hockey jersey over that. If you don’t think all that’s enough to keep you warm for a couple of hours, bring a lightweight jacket or a hoodie. If you need to remove a layer or two, you’ll be good to go. Just make sure to wear your hockey jersey on top, or rock a vintage-style hockey sweater for a extra snazzy gametime swag.
If you’re going to be outside, you’ll want a hat, scarf, and mittens—which are warmer than gloves—and a shirt or two beneath your winter coat. Loose pants hold heat better than skinny jeans, particularly when you’ve got long johns under them, but it’s your hockey outfit, not ours. And don’t forget the wool socks and some winter boots. Wear what you’d wear to shovel the driveway on a cold, dark morning. Bring along a hot seat to keep your bottom warm for outdoor rinks with metal seating, and a thermos of your favorite hot beverage—it’ll do you good, at least through the first period or two.
Well, the ice needs to stay frozen, but, depending on the venue, it might not be all that cold where you’re sitting. It’s going to be cooler the closer to the ice you are. Generally speaking, the ice will be about 25° and the air, for an inside game, will be somewhere between 50 and 60°. That’s not bad considering outdoor games must be played in freezing or below-freezing temperatures.
Hockey clothing will probably be a little different for fans of warm-weather teams, where the temperature difference inside the arena and outside the arena will be greater. You’ll always get the gang of rowdy, shirtless dudes, no matter where you are—even Las Vegas—but the temperature in the arena will probably be too cold for shorts and a T-shirt.
Many fans like to arrive at the game about 30 minutes before the puck drops. That’ll give you time to find your seats, get your concessions—maybe purchase a little hockey attire—and settle in. Remember: an empty arena will be cooler than a full arena. Once 18,000 fans are packed in, jumping around, and spilling beer on your newly acquired hockey clothing, the air will be warmer than it was when you first showed up.
If you’re outside, it’s probably going to be just as cold at the end of the game as it was at the start of the game, if not colder. Add to that the general inactivity of watching sports, and you’re in for a chilly couple of hours. If you’re not there to watch your child—you’ll have to show up early for drop-off—show up at game time. The national anthem is played at game time with the actual game starting about 15 minutes later. That’ll make a little difference.
An NHL game has three 20-minute periods. That’s an hour of play. There are also two intermissions, each 18 minutes long. If there’s overtime, that can go on as long as five minutes and shoot-outs can go on indefinitely. All told, the average NHL hockey game lasts about 2.5 hours. High school games are somewhat shorter, with 15-minute stop-time periods.
Either way, your hockey outfit should keep you feeling cozy through all of it.