Ever wondered why players have numbers on their helmets?

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You’ve probably noticed that NHL players are wearing numbers on their helmets this season. But if you didn’t know why, here’s your answer – television.

Via the Toronto Star:

According to TSN production head Paul Graham, broadcasters had been asking the National Hockey League to add helmet numbers for some time. The reason is to help camera operators and directors find players on the benches.

When the director calls for a shot of Nikolai Kulemin sitting on the bench, camera operators often have difficulty finding him — especially as they became less and less specialized. Camera operators often do multiple sports and aren’t as familiar with the players as those who do hockey regularly.

“The more identification for the broadcasters, the better,” says Graham. “It helps the viewers identify players, too.”

Makes sense. It’s way easier to put numbers on the helmet than make every camera operator memorize each player’s face.

Besides, some people just aren’t as good at recognizing faces as others. For example, how many of you have had the “nice to meet you — yeah, we’ve already met” exchange? That happens to me all the time, and I hate it.

At the end of the day, people’s faces should be far different than they are right now. But until evolution makes the necessary changes, the NHL will have numbers on the helmets.