Top 10: Hockey Jerseys in Pop Culture
Today we’re going to shift gears a little bit and have some fun with a different kind of countdown. We’re going to rank the top 10 hockey jerseys worn in (non-hockey) pop culture. So, all-time classics and favorites like Slapshot, The Mighty Ducks, and even Happy Gilmore, are non-contenders in this countdown. The criteria is basically any movie, TV show or music video that is not centered around sports or hockey, essentially where a hockey jersey makes an unannounced guest appearance.
The ranking system is a complex points system based on the sum of a myriad of attributes that is then divided and cross-referenced by year and genre…just kidding, it’s largely arbitrary. However, the rankings are definitely influenced by how impactful, or iconic, the hockey scene/reference is and how it holds up over time. There’s no doubt a jersey scene here or there has been forgotten or omitted from this list, if so – let us know about it. And now, here we go…
Even though How I Met Your Mother was a very successful sitcom that ran for nine seasons, this particular writer has admittedly never seen an episode of it. It was brought to my attention as having several references to the Canucks over the years, with Vancouver native Robin sporting Canucks jerseys on numerous occasions. One episode even included Robin in full hockey gear as a Halloween costume. Set in New York, it’s nice to see a character reppin’ her hometown team of the Canucks rather than taking the easy way out and donning a Rangers jersey.
Full House was almost dropped completely from the rankings based solely on the producers, or show runners, or continuity experts, or whoever, from Full House that continuously placed goalie pads on the wrong legs of not only Uncle Joey, but Danny Tanner as well. It’s something that drives hockey fans insane and Full House was a multiple offender. You would have thought at some point noted hockey fan Dave Coulier would have said, “hey guys…whadya say we put those pads on the right way?!”
Uncle Joey’s Red Wings jersey remains on the countdown because of Dave Coulier’s efforts off-camera and on the ice during a charity hockey game back in 1995. It was there he introduced co-star Candace Cameron to former NHL player Valeri Bure. They met, they fell in love, they got married…thanks to Uncle Joey. Whoever said love and hockey don’t mix?
Noted hockey fan Kevin Smith’s debut film, Clerks, featured some classic street hockey…or should we say rooftop hockey. Convenience store clerk Dante looks for ways to avoid doing any actual work after being called into work on his day off, and that includes a rescheduled game of ball hockey on the rooftop of the convenience store.
Clerks is fairly polarizing, most people either really love it or they really hate it. No matter your opinion of the film itself, there’s no denying the greatness of mid-90’s era Penguins and Devils jerseys that are sported in the hockey scene…they even look fantastic in black-and-white.
Friends didn’t waste any time crossing over into the sports world once it hit the airwaves in 1994. Joey, Chandler and Ross attended a New York Rangers game in the series’ fourth episode of the first season. Despite the somewhat unrealistic nature of the hockey crowd scenes and the not-so-accurate trajectory of the puck that catches Ross right square in the nose, Joey rocks the classic Rangers white jersey quite well.
Additionally, nothing says mid-90’s like the Starter brand. Starter peaked in those mid-90’s years with fan and sideline apparel (Starter pullover jacket, anyone?) and expansions into the uniform supplier market for numerous professional teams. Starter was the official uni supplier for 10 NHL teams during that time, with the Rangers being one of them.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia follows the exploits of Philly bar owners and generally deplorable, but always hilarious, Mac, Charlie, Dennis and Sweet Dee. In the episode titled “Mac’s Big Break,” Mac calls in and wins a local radio trivia contest after answering the question of “which player holds the Flyers record for most goals in a single season”…at the last second Mac correctly guesses Reggie Leach.
The prize is the opportunity to skate during intermission of a Flyers game and do a center ice puck shooting contest. Mac is accompanied by his “hockey trainer” and hype man Charlie, who is wearing a Flyers jersey. However, Charlie isn’t just wearing a Flyers jersey and calling it a complete look. He has it gloriously paired with an American flag cape and a hockey mullet wig. A truly epic look. In the end, Mac’s quest to be a sports legend doesn’t quite pan out as he imagined it would.
If you’ve never seen the cult-classic Swingers, go do yourself a favor and watch it as soon as possible. It’s the 1996 indie film that launched the careers of Vince Vaughn and John Favreau and it’s a treasure. Plus, one of the most iconic scenes in the film just so happens to include hockey. The plot centers around a group of struggling actors in Los Angeles as they navigate relationships, acting auditions and parties.
The noted hockey scene takes place before the guys hit the town one evening and it follows an intense game of Sega Genesis (look it up, kids!) NHL Hockey. Trent (Vince Vaughn) is battling against Sue (Patrick Van Horn) as Mike (John Favreau) watches, provides commentary and handles the pizza delivery. Trent and Sue hilariously argue throughout the game as Trent mocks “superfan #99” Sue in his incredibly awesome Gretzky Kings jersey.
The trash talking reaches next-level status when Trent scores a goal with the Blackhawks and then forces Sue to watch the instant replay, all while proclaiming, “It’s not so much me as it is Roenick, he’s good.” Then cue the pizza guy ringing the buzzer and while the argument shifts to who will pay for the pizza, Trent un-pauses the game and bodychecks a stationary Gretzky so hard in the game that his head bleeds and he’s knocked out for the rest of the game….which then causes an actual scuffle between Trent and Sue.
The entire scene is classic, and it almost didn’t happen according to director Doug Liman. In an article from a couple years back, Liman noted that they filmed the Gretzky “head-bleed” scene in post-production and it took them several weeks to actually make it happen. Good thing too, as it would have been a shame for that scene to hit the cutting room floor.
We drop the puck on the Top 5 with a pair of hockey jerseys that helped ignite a 90’s cultural phenomenon of hockey intersecting with fashion and hip-hop. The NHL saw unprecedented growth in the early 90’s as it gained popularity in the southern half of the United States.
It was amplified to an even larger scale when Snoop Dogg sported not one, but two hockey jerseys in his video for Gin and Juice. The 1994 song was his second single from his debut album and the video was played virtually non-stop on MTV. The Lemieux and Jagr era Penguins jersey and the now defunct AHL Springfield Indians jerseys reached a whole new audience by the way of Snoop Dogg.
The Gin and Juice video is still regarded as one of the all-time greatest rap videos, and last season the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds paid homage to it with a “Blast from the Past” night featuring those iconic Springfield Indians jerseys.
Clark Griswold…the last true family man. Everyone’s favorite clumsy movie Dad dons the timeless Blackhawks white jersey in 1989’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Although sports are never directly referenced in the movie, Griswold is definitely a fan of his Chicago teams. He rocks a classic, script-style Bears hat in several scenes and even young Russ wears a red Blackhawks jersey at one point in the movie.
However, it’s Clark’s Blackhawks jersey that takes the cake. It ranks high on our list for one simple reason: the customized “Griswold 00” on the back is an all-time classic Dad move from an all-time classic movie Dad.
Checking in at #3 is another movie that takes place in Chicago, yet interestingly enough it’s a Detroit Red Wings jersey that takes center stage in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The #9 Gordie Howe Red Wings jersey worn by Ferris’ best friend Cameron is almost a character itself, as he wears the jersey in almost every scene. It’s never fully explained in the movie why a Chicago kid is rocking a Detroit sweater, so viewers can only assume it falls in line with Cameron’s loner or anti-establishment personality and it is his way of rebelling.
The true story takes place behind the camera and it’s definitely worthy of a top 3 ranking in this list. In different articles/interviews published over the last few years it has been noted that director John Hughes was a massive hockey fan that grew up in Detroit and later moved to Chicago.
While he adopted the Hawks as his new hometown team, he never stopped loving the Red Wings. He specifically put the Gordie Howe jersey in Ferris Bueller as a nod to his childhood hero, who personally provided the jersey to Hughes. Mr. Hockey himself thoroughly enjoyed seeing his jersey on the big screen. A pretty amazing personal touch that truly demonstrates the power of hockey fandom.
Season 6 of Seinfeld gave hockey fans “The Face Painter” in Elaine’s boyfriend David Puddy. The normally mild-mannered and somewhat dim-witted Puddy never said much more than monotone one liners. That all changed when he scored an invite from Jerry to a Devils playoff game in 1995.
To the surprise of everyone, including Elaine, he shows up in a #30 Brodeur jersey and full devil style face paint. He’s a rabid fan at the game, he talks trash to the players and other fans and then taunts Jerry, Elaine and Kramer afterward. Puddy as a hockey fan can be somewhat identifiable with other hockey fans…seemingly mild-mannered by day, but gets a little crazy come time for a hockey game.
Over the years the character of Puddy as a Devils fan has almost become a secondary mascot for the actual New Jersey Devils. Clips from that Seinfeld episode often air during home games and the actor who played Puddy, Patrick Warburton, has made several appearances at games.
Warburton, who was born in New Jersey and is now an LA Kings fan, has fully embraced the role and enjoys reprising it for all of the fun antics. Last season the Devils hosted a 90’s night where Warburton, in full Puddy face paint, dropped the ceremonial first puck and fans in attendance received a Puddy bobblehead. It was all for a good cause as well, Warburton refused an appearance fee and asked the Devils to make a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital instead. A tip of the hat to ya, Mr. Warburton.
One last note: back in 2016 Puddy actually saw the ice during a game…sorta. Scott Wedgewood worked with mask painter David Gunnarsson to bring Puddy to life on the side of his mask design. Even cooler, Patrick Warburton was sent a replica of the mask as a gift.
Party on Wayne; party on Garth. For our top spot we head out to Aurora, Illinois were an epic game of street hockey in Wayne’s World became a pop culture hit and an eventual rallying cry for the NHL itself.
It’s a scene that any hockey fan that’s ever picked up a stick can relate to: playing in a driveway or street while donning the jersey of your favorite team. Kudos to the movie’s prop department as well for absolutely nailing the gear. From Wayne’s Cooper street hockey gloves and Garth’s combo of Mylec and Cooper goalie gear, down to the dirty wear and tear on the Blackhawks jerseys, it feels very authentic.
We most likely have Mike Myers to thank for that level of accuracy because it’s probably taken directly from his childhood, just in a different city. Myers hails from the suburbs of Toronto and is a huge hockey fan, and of course roots for his hometown Maple Leafs. The scene is so relatable, making it an instant classic.
Wayne’s World also features the fictional Stan Mikita’s Donuts where Wayne, Garth and their buddies hang out and waste time as waitresses donning Mikita jerseys serve up coffee and donuts. Both are great nods to that classic red Blackhawks jersey.
Wayne’s World was a pop culture success and the declaration of “Game On!” during the hockey scene also ended up becoming the NHL’s official marketing slogan once the ‘94-’95 lockout ended. As you most likely recall, anytime Wayne and Garth had to pause their hockey game for a passing car, they would resume with a shout of “Game On!” as they’d drag the net back into place.
As the NHL’s popularity boomed in the early 90’s it was hit with a lockout at the most inopportune time. When the lockout finally ended in January of 1995 the NHL turned to that iconic piece of pop culture from Wayne’s World to reignite interest and attempt to build excitement for the shortened regular season. “Game On!” was then plastered everywhere…hats and apparel, TV spots, newspaper ads…you name it.
A true intersection of pop culture and hockey as the NHL borrowed from a movie made by a hockey fan to promote the sport in it’s biggest time of need.
Agree? Disagree? Did we forgot your favourite pop culture reference? Let us know what you think in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook! And don’t forget, we’re on Instagram too.