The NHL has recently implemented a few new rules which have already started to make an impact on the 2013-2014 season. The rule that I was most surprised about was the jersey tuck rule. As of now, the league officials will be enforcing this rule by warning or penalizing players for having their jersey tucked into the back of their pants.
Whether you agree or disagree with this rule, I think the NHL should be focusing on more important matters instead of penalizing players that either accidently or purposely have their jersey tucked in their pants. This penalty is referred to as a “delay of game” penalty instead of an “equipment violation.” It should be called what it is. As an equipment violation penalty, it will now be showing up on the game sheet just as if the player played the puck over the boards in their defensive, instead of saying what it truly is – an equipment violation.
Some NHL players have already weighed in on what they think of this new rule. The majority of the comments made are obviously about their irritation with the rule and how it’s being implemented. In addition to the wrong classification of this new rule, I believe that players should be able to have their own personal flair on their equipment, as it creates an identity; similar to how Wayne Gretzky tucked his jersey in.
The questions we should all be asking ourselves are, “Does an NHL hockey player having their jersey tucked in really have too constitute a penalty?”, and “Is having a jersey tucked in really going to make a difference on the ice to make a team suffer for it in the end?” In the end, it is not giving the player an advantage over the other by having their jersey tucked in.
This new penalty has the ability to cost a team a valuable win to gain a playoff position, or win a playoff game. It would seem dumb to implement a new policy that has no effect on the players safety while still costing the teams valuable time; and, ensuring that their jersey is properly un-tucked is probably the last thing these players should have on their mind during play.
If the NHL jerseys served marketing purposes for teams and the league, I could see the value of having this rule. But since the NHL does not have marketing on team jerseys, why is this a big enough deal to make it a penalty. The league should be focusing on more important issues such as preventing concussions and increasing player safety, not these meaningless rules that penalize a player and team for a jersey malfunction or player choosing to have it tucked.
Rush, C. and McGran, k.(2013). NHL Makes Fashion Statement: No-tuck Rule Enforced. Thestar.com.