Why Do Hockey Coaches Wear Suits?

Have you ever been watching a hockey game on television and wondered why the coaches always wear suits? If so you are not alone, most fans are aware that suits are worn in hockey but many don’t know why that is.

The answer to this question depends on which coach you ask but in most cases can be narrowed down to dress code policies, tradition, and respect.

Interestingly the NHL is the only major sports league that has a suit and tie dress code for the players. And since the players are forced to wear suits for each game the coach doesn’t have much of a choice when it comes to clothing for the game.

Dress Code

The dress code is likely the main reason that most hockey coaches wear suits to their games. As we stated earlier the NHL is the only one of the major four sports leagues that has this dress code for the players.

Though the interesting part of the dress policy in the NHL is that the CBA states that this league-wide policy must be followed “unless otherwise specified by the head coach or manager.”

This means that the head coach of the team or the general can decide that the players no longer have to wear suits to games. The Arizona Coyotes were the first to get rid of the dress code policy for their players.

This means for all the other teams in the league the coach and GM are the reason that the players are wearing suits to each game.

Now imagine how it would go over if the coach gets the players wearing suits to each game and then decides to show in sweat pants and a t-shirt himself.

In most cases, the coach is going to follow the dress code they set. And since the majority of teams have a suit and tie dress code the coach is going to follow it as well.


Tradition is another reason that suit and ties are worn by coaches in hockey. In this sport, tradition can go a long way. You don’t have to look any further than the wacky pre-game traditions players follow in order to give themselves good luck in the coming game.

Wearing a suit as a hockey coach is a tradition in the sport and has been for a long time. Most of these coaches in the NHL grew up watching the sport and saw coaches on tv wearing a suit during games.

To come into a game as a coach and not follow the dress code that has been followed for years is not something most hockey coaches want to do.

Instead, they respect the tradition and keep it going themselves by wearing a suit for each game.


Another reason that hockey coaches wear suits during games is because of the respect they feel for the team, fans and organization.

On many occasions, suits are worn as a form of respect to show that someone understands the importance of the setting. This is also true in hockey when wearing a suit can be seen as a sign of respect to the team itself.

For many coaches, the opportunity to hold a job in an NHL organization is a privilege they do not take lightly. Many of these coaches are happy to show respect to their team by dressing in a way that shows they care.

Why Don’t Other Sports Wear Suits

There are many reasons why other sports leagues do not have a requirement to wear suits and ties during games. For some leagues, it may be to allow players and coaches to show off some of their personalities.

Leagues like the NBA are big on letting players show off their personalities and build their brand.

While leagues like the NFL have a different approach to coach apparel during games. In the NFL coaches are actually not allowed to wear suits due to the dress code policy.

Coaches must wear team sponsored gear that comes from the brands the NFL has signed contracts with. This is why you will always see coaches in informal types of team gear on the sideline as opposed to something more formal.

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