Baseball players don’t require their athletes to have their number on their helmet when they step into the batter’s box. Basketball doesn’t require players to tattoo their number on their forehead; they don’t need numbers on their headbands either. The NFL doesn’t require their teams to put player numbers on the front of helmets—although some teams rock the numbers as a fashion statement (we’re looking at you Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Football Giants). But the NHL doesn’t care about any of that noise. They’re setting their own trend and requiring NHL teams to add numbers to the front of all players’ helmets before the beginning of the regular season.
Who says the NHL isn’t a trailblazing league?
In a series of tweets, NHL Senior Manager of Communication Schuyler Baehman explained the new, required look for all 30 teams:
“Player numbers will be added to the front forehead (centered) location of all player helmets at the start of this season. Front numbers are not required to be placed on goaltenders headgear. Numbers on the front and back of helmets will measure no less than 1.25” and no more than 2” in height.”
Yahoo’s Puck Daddy has a preview of the new look.
Following the tweets that described the new numbers that will be required for the beginning of the regular season, Baehman explained the rationale for the new numbers:
“The new number placement is designed to aid on-ice officials, broadcasters, et al. by providing an additional point of player identification.”
Maybe numbers on the top of Wayne Simmonds helmet would have helped officials decipher the words that were coming out of his mouth?
Not all change is bad—there have been plenty of changes over the short preseason for the upcoming year. But what is the point of dropping the numbers onto the helmets? Broadcasters have seemed to be doing just fine figuring out which player is which on the ice for the last fifty years and on-ice officials do a pretty good job figuring out which player belongs in the penalty box. Is there another reason for making the change?
In a day and age that every single potential change is discussed and debated, it’s interesting that this move is coming out only eight days before the beginning of the regular season. In the grand scheme of things, the new numbers will affect equipment managers around the league than anyone else.
If nothing else, at least we’ll have yet new change to look forward to this season. Now if they could just change home teams back to wearing white, then we might be onto something.