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Rink Think: How to Stay Warm Watching Hockey

When you’re going to watch a hockey game — whether it’s your kid’s game at the local rink, or an NHL contest at a stadium — dressing for the event can be a challenge.  Luckily, we can teach you how to stay warm watching hockey.

Regardless of the weather outside, count on the rink being chilly. Hockey playing surfaces are generally in the 20- to 24-degree range. Even if the building is huge, spectators close to the ice might find themselves spending a few hours seated where air temperatures are hovering in the 50s.

On the other hand, if you’re expecting to be part of a large throng, body heat will skew the “feels like” temperature. Or, if you’re up in the cheap seats, there’s that whole “warm air rises” thing.

In short? Preparation is key when you want to stay warm watching hockey.

Stay Warm Watching Hockey: On the Glass

If you’re sitting near the ice, say up to 10 rows back, you’re either well-heeled enough to pay for a steady stream of lattes, or you’re someone who’s going to have to plan well. Tend first to your extremities — i.e., your feet and hands.

Feet first

Cold cement a few steps above ice level will likely be underfoot. A wedding isn’t the only event where cold feet can damper it. Two pairs of socks might be a good idea. Warm shoes or boots are a must. And, ladies, the hockey socks worn by the players aren’t a lot different than any knit, over-the-knee socks you might care to wear.

Tech gloves


You want your hands to be warm. You want to be able to text updates, take pictures of the action, or Instagram your fabulous look/seats/beer vendor to the world at large — without taking your gloves off and putting them back on a couple of dozen times.

Bleacher features

This will apply only to smaller facilities. Of course, if you’re at a place with metal bleachers near the ice, you’re probably also there to see your kid play or practice. Meaning, you’re probably also lugging a duffel full of his or her accouterments. If so, slip a stadium blanket into the bag. You’re going to want the extra layer separating you from icy extruded aluminum.

Lay on the layers

Speaking of layers, think T-shirt, Henley, sweater, jacket. Or, if you’re like some of us and every layer pushes you closer to muffin-topped Michelin Man territory, make your base some sort of compression gear, followed by slim-fitting workout gear, then the sweater. The great part about layers is they work in reverse, too. If you’re getting a bit warm, peel off a layer or two.


Unless you’re a man, and it’s 1953, leave the fedora at home. Warmth is the point. Besides, since everyone from your barista to your spin instructor can wear a knit cap indoors these days, why buck the trend? Especially when they’re so cozy. If you’re close to the ice, you might even be able to toss your toque over the glass in case of a hat trick. Speaking of 1953 and hat tricks: Did you know that in the 1953-54 season, Gordie Howe twice had a goal, an assist and a fight in a single game — a triple-play that later became known as a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick”?

Stay Warm Watching Hockey: In the Big House

So, you find yourself attending an NHL game. This is one time women may have it easier — or at least no more difficult — than men to dress perfectly for the occasion.

(OK, it’s not like the guys have it hard. Jeans first. Then, a look that will transition from the chilly end of the golf season to the beginning of the NHL calendar: a mock turtleneck under a quarter-zip team pullover, with a team ball cap.)

Or, for women unsure of what to wear, think fashion meets function: Consider leggings. Heavy winter or hiking boots overflowing with scrunchy socks, and a knit hat to stay warm.

Speaking of team jerseys: Heck yes, they’re warm. Why do you think those guys skating on the ice wear them? Here are a few tips on wearing them:

  • If possible, wear a jersey and a number of a current (preferably healthy and performing to or above the level that his contract suggests) player.
  • If it’s the jersey of a former player, it should either be a Hall of Famer or a personal favorite about whom you can share an anecdote when asked, “Where the heck did that come from?”
  • That Hall of Famer’s jersey should be era-specific. In general, throwback jerseys are fine. Though if you aren’t sure of the year you’re wearing, you just look like you’re trying too hard.
  • At all costs, avoid clearance racks, typically filled with last year’s now departed, underperforming free agent.
  • If given a choice between no name or your name on the back of the jersey, go with no name.

Stay Warm Watching Hockey: The Final Layer

The only thing we haven’t covered is a jacket that tops off the ensemble. Go with the lightest jacket that gets you from the car to the arena. It’s really just the top layer. In crowd situations, bulk is not your friend.

(However, toe protection is. Resist the temptation to go with sandals — even if you’re sitting in the 300 level at a Florida Panthers game.)

I just put together a Facebook group called Hockey Mom Hacks.  I really do think we are a unique breed of moms who could benefit from sharing tidbits of advice to keep us going. Please join me at Hockey Mom Hacks, and let’s talk hockey!

Got tips for staying warm watching hockey?  Please share in the comments below.  We’d love any advice you can share.

Author bio: AJ Lee is Marketing Coordinator for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. He was born and raised in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, and has been a huge Blackhawks fan his entire life. AJ picked up his first hockey stick at age 3, and hasn’t put it down yet.