Ice Hockey referee dancing to 70’s style disco

On this Day:

In 1955, NHL officials wore new vertically striped black-and-white sweaters for the first time in Montreal Canadiens’ 5-2 win over Toronto Maple Leafs. But hockey referees were rather dapper dressers before the introduction of the black and white striped uniform…

Where did the black and white striped jersey start? According to:

“In the early days of football, referees wore white, dress shirts, bow ties and beret-style hats to add an air of authoritative control to competition. White signaled purity and an unbiased attitude – which is what one hopes they’re getting when the fate of a game boils down to the judgement of one/a few people. As The New York Times noted, “The trouble was that some teams also dressed in white, including a group of Arizona football players. In 1920, a quarterback passed a ball to a referee named Lloyd Olds, after mistaking his white shirt for a team uniform. The mix-up so bothered Olds, [so] he appealed to a friend — George Moe, proprietor of a sporting goods store — to make an eye-catching shirt that would set him apart from the players.”

According to Slate, “Olds figured this white-on-white confusion could be avoided if officials wore stripes – which he first wore while working the 1921 Michigan state high-school basketball championships. As Olds continued to wear stripes while officiating in several different sports, the idea spread rapidly throughout the world of high-school and collegiate athletics.”

In ice hockey, an official is a person who has some responsibility in enforcing the rules and maintaining the order of the game. There are two categories of officials, on-ice officials, who are the referees and linesmen that enforce the rules during gameplay, and off-ice officials, who have an administrative role rather than an enforcement role.

As the name implies, on-ice officials do their job on the hockey rink. They are traditionally clad in a black hockey helmet, black trousers, and a black-and-white vertically striped shirt. They wear standard hockey skates and carry a finger whistle, which they use to stop play. They communicate with players, coaches, off-ice officials, both verbally and via hand signals. Starting in 1955 with the introduction of the black-and-white jersey, NHL on-ice officials wore numbers on their back for identification. In 1977, NHL officials removed the number and had only their surnames on the back of their jerseys for identification, normally in a single row across the shoulders. (Some officials with long names would have their name in two rows, the most notable example being Andy Van Hellemond.) However, in 1994, NHL officials returned to wearing solely numbers on their shirts, a procedure adopted by other sports leagues.

In the early days of hockey when the NHL was formed (1917), the referees would be clad in a vest and tie along with their pants and carry a bell, not a whistle, to stop the game in progress. In those days, penalties were assessed more on common sense rather than following strict rules, and the official would deem what was allowed and not, as well as the length of the penalties.

Later, NHL referees wore cream-colored sweaters over a shirt and tie, from the 1930s to the early 1950s. They then briefly wore orange sweaters with half-zip fronts (and without neckties), until the black-and-white-striped jersey was introduced in 1955 (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

The president of the NHL’s National Referees Association has been arrested for corruption. Investigators haven’t released the name of the whistle-blower.

Second, a Song:

Here is an Ice Hockey referee dancing to 70’s style disco. The actual referee hand signals are turned into cool dance moves, per Accidental Arts and This was produced in honor of the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship and the NHL Playoffs. I hope you enjoy this!


Thought for the Day:

“Having one child makes you a parent; having two, you are a referee.” – David Frost

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Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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