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Fraser: 'Jersey tucking' rule still has to be enforced

Kerry Fraser
10/4/2013 2:43:37 PM
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Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!

Hey Kerry,
 
I was at the Jets-Oilers game on Tuesday night and noticed quite a bit of jersey tucking - most notably Bryan Little and Tobias Enstrom. No penalties were called and as far as I know, no warnings were given. (there might have been?) any thoughts or insight on to how this will be called during the season?
 
Thanks,
Will Briganti
Edmonton
 
Will:

The "jersey tucking" mandate is designed to comply with Rule 9—Equipment and more specifically 9.5—Protective Equipment: "All protective equipment, except gloves, headgear, and goaltenders' leg guards must be worn under the uniform. Should it be brought to the attention of the Referee that a player is wearing, for example, an elbow pad that is not covered by his jersey, he shall instruct the player to cover up the pad and a second violation by the same player would result in a minor penalty being assessed."

When a player tucks his jersey into the top of his pants some portion of the protective padding becomes exposed (worn outside the uniform) in violation of this rule. From a safety perspective the gap created by a tucked jersey exposes a portion of the player's upper body and can act as a 'catchall' for flying pucks and sticks to the point of causing an unnecessary injury.

Aesthetically, it also violates rule 9.1 which provides that all players of each team shall be dressed uniformly with approved design and color of their helmets, sweaters, short pants, stockings and skates. The fact of the matter (beyond uniformity) is it just doesn't play well in the building or on TV. This also translates to the player's hockey pants that are ripped, torn, cut or altered (open zippers inside thigh) for comfort or otherwise that could expose a bare leg or sock in the thigh area.

I witnessed Walt Tkaczuk and other players that had huge thighs sometimes utilize zippers in the inside of their pants that would be half-zipped from the bottom for comfort. I thought at the time it made them vulnerable in this area but also as the pant continued to wear and curl just how poorly it looked aesthetically.

Whenever a rule like this was handed to us for enforcement I considered it a "babysitting" assignment for me and my colleagues. This ranged from telling players how they could dress, to color of tape and size of the knob on the end of a goalies stick to water bottles being placed back into the sleeve on top of the net.  As insignificant as they seem these rules still must be enforced.

There were far too many times to count that I had to advise a player to cover his elbow pad with his jersey. Super heavyweight Dave Brown (and super guy) used a very tight jersey sleeve from the top of his elbow down to a shortened cuff. This prevented much grab-hold by his opponents but also resulted in the lower part of his elbow pad to become exposed. Every time I asked Brownie to cover his elbow pad he complied without a fuss; albeit took some work to get it stretched for proper coverage.

The Officials are instructed to enforce the "sweater tuck" when they notice it as follows:

If a player comes onto the ice tucked in, he is warned and must comply (fix it immediately). Should it occur to the same player in that game there is no further warning and a minor penalty for delay of game results; following the assessment of the minor penalty should he return to the ice without making the necessary change he would be assessed a misconduct penalty; should this happen a third time, the player shall be assessed a game misconduct penalty (rule 9.5).

It is also important for us to know that the Referees were reminded that sometimes the sweater might become tucked just through normal movement in the action of a game. This is not a violation. If however, it were to become the norm with the same player (for example one who comes onto the ice un-tucked but during the course of play always seems to end up with his sweater tucked) the Referees are to notify the League office. Hockey Ops personnel would then follow-up with the team equipment manager to ensure that the jersey is not too short for the player and perhaps needs to be altered.

This may have been what took place with Bryan Little and Tobias Enstrom in the game you observed Will. If by chance the League office was unaware of these player's sweaters frequently getting tucked your question here just might have raised a red-flag!

Great job of "babysitting" Will.

Kerry Fraser

Kerry Fraser


Kerry Fraser is an analyst for the NHL on TSN and That's Hockey 2Nite on TSN2. As one of the league's most recognizable senior referees, he's worked 1,904 NHL regular season games and 261 playoff games during his 37-year career.


Got a question on rule clarification, comments on rule enforcements or some memorable NHL stories? Kerry wants to answer your emails at cmonref@tsn.ca!


You can also follow Kerry Fraser on Twitter at @kfraserthecall!

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