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Mom Mondays: Down with the Dress Code

If the shoe fits, does it really mean you have to wear it? 

 

Next week, we’ll be heading off to our first hockey tournament of the season. To those of you who’ve already attended three or four of them by now … slow clap

I know what we’re going to see at this hockey tournament, too. Without question, there will be many teams that will show up at the arena decked out with matching team hockey bags, jackets, pants and whatnot. Heaven knows some of them will probably be wearing matching underwear for the sake of a coordinated appearance.

As many of us know, cost is a huge barrier to many in participating in organized hockey. Why then, is it so important that some teams insist on all this matching equipment and attire that all cost a pretty penny?

Unless I’m missing something, they do precisely nothing in making a kid a better hockey player. I don’t think this gear and attire should be part of a team budget and I don’t think parents should be forced (er, ‘strongly encouraged’) to fork over the bucks.

And while I’m at it, I may as well take a stab at that other mainstay of hockey – the game day dress code. I know the ‘shirt and tie’ code for hockey games is pretty ubiquitous in hockey.

In case you’re curious, the dress code for NHL players is actually part of their collective bargaining agreement. They have to wear jackets, ties and dress pants to all games.

However; a) not many of our young minor hockey players are going to be signing that collective agreement any time soon, and b) it’s pretty gender-specific, which hockey is most decidedly NOT these days.

Besides, how many of those hockey players show up at the game with a giant ketchup stain on their white collared shirt from their pre-game dinner?

Or is that just my boys?

I get the argument for both the coordinated team gear and dress code for those who are older and playing at a highly competitive level: it is part of the team spirit and unity. It identifies the team. It’s a disciplined and respectful approach to attire and game preparation.

I’m sure it also helps ensure players don’t show up in their pajamas (which seems to be the game day dress code of my daughter’s). But I’ve seen the dress code and team uniform custom even at the most junior level of teams and I think it’s just too excessive – especially considering that at that age, they’ll outgrow it all every six months!

I pretty sure my position on this will be unpopular since it goes against something pretty sacred in hockey. Then again, given how many charities, like Kidsport and The Big Play, are doing good work putting kids on the ice; let’s not add to the reasons they’re not getting on the ice in the first place

Hockey should be inclusive not exclusive. We will never run out of young kids willing to play hockey and abide by team dress code. I’m just worried that soon we’ll run out of young kids able to play hockey because of a dress code.

Three cheers for team unity – may it come from a team cheer and not from team gear.

Note to my children: Don’t get any ideas – I still expect you to dress nicely for Christmas dinner.

Tags: minor hockey

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