Have you ever watched a hockey practice and noticed that players on the same team are wearing different coloured jerseys? This article is on hand to answer any question you may have about these different jersey colours.
The main reason that teams wear different coloured jerseys is to designate different lines. Coloured jerseys are also used to designate an injured player as “no contact”. In some cases, the jersey colours at practice may be used for breaking the team into different positions.
Below we have broken down the main reasons a team might wear different coloured jerseys when practicing.
Breaking The Team Into Lines And Pairings
When you look at a hockey practice and see a large number of different jersey colours the most likely answer is that the team is dividing up the players into lines and pairings.
When this technique is used each line of forwards and each defensive pairing will have different jersey colours. This is done for several reasons.
First off, it’s easier for the coaching staff to get things organized. Whether you want to call out a colour to start a drill or simply find players quicker. Specific colours for each line makes organization easier.
On top of the organization, the different coloured practice jerseys also make it easier for teammates to find one another. Recognizing your jersey colour as your linemates colour will make it easier to identify which players to pass to/work with in practice.
Oftentimes when these jersey colours selected by line can result in some pretty funny visuals. Since there are four lines as well as several defensive pairings the colours used can get pretty out there. Some teams end up using pink or bright yellow jerseys for fourth-liners and third defenseman pairings.
Splitting Up Positions
Another reason you may notice different coloured practice jerseys is due to the team breaking the players up into positions. This is similar to breaking the team down into lines as it makes the practice easier to organize for the coaching staff.
Splitting teams by positions is done in three different colours in most cases. This means there will be one colour jersey for the forwards, one for the defensemen, and one for the goalies.
Though for some teams this may mean a large number of jersey colours for each position. Meaning different colours for the left wingers, centers, and right wingers. Though this method of splitting up jersey numbers is much less common.
Overall these colours make it much easier to break the team up for drills in practice. Especially if you are doing position-specific drills.
Another reason you may notice a different colour jersey in a hockey practice is due to injury. Some players in practice will wear what is referred to as a “non-contact jersey”. This refers to brightly coloured jerseys that let their teammates know you cannot physically contact this player.
In most cases, non-contact jerseys are used when a player is partially through their recovery from an injury. Meaning these players are able to skate yet are not recovered enough to practice with physical contact from other players.
In most cases, a non-contact jersey is red though other colours are used as well.
The other reason you may see teams using multiple jerseys in practice is when scrimmaging. Some teams have yearly scrimmages in which players of the same team go against one another such as the blue vs white game.
A scrimmage against your teammates requires that the two teams have separate jersey colours. This is a less common reason for jersey colours to be different but it still happens from time to time.
An example of this would be the Toronto Maple Leafs White vs Blue game.