The Arizona Coyotes plan to fully relax their game-day dress code for players, making them the first and only team in the National Hockey League to do so, according to an ESPN survey. According to a report by Emily Kaplan of ESPN, Exhibit 14, Paragraph 5 of the NHL's collective bargaining agreement states that players are required to wear jackets, ties and dress pants when traveling to and from games unless otherwise specified by their head coach or general manager.
Coyotes chief brand officer Alex Meruelo Jr. approached former team captain Oliver Ekman-Larrson prior to last season about easing the dress code before home games in the name of uniqueness and growing the team's fanbase.
"To be the first team to go no dress code was awesome. The guys loved it. I think it's great to be able to show a bit of your personality and your closet other than just your suits," Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun told ESPN. "I had fun with it. I enjoyed it. I'm glad it's something we'll continue to do."
The way for relaxed dress codes in the NHL was paved by the league's playoff bubble in 2020, as the league had told players that they could dress however they wanted during the postseason before reverting back to normal CBA policy. Since then, multiple teams around the league have relaxed the traditional suit and tie requirements.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators, for instance, plan to have their players wear team-issued track suits to games this season. The Seattle Kraken are also considering a relaxed dress code.
ESPN reported that the NHLPA has been pushing for relaxed dress codes, and one league source predicted to them that teams would fully relax their dress codes over the next five years -- though it would take some time to change long-standing norms around hockey and traditional ideas of player decorum.