Sharp skates, sharper suits

Jets players score style points for their fashion sense from local designer

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When Adam Lowry walks into the MTS Centre prior to a game, the young Jets forward is often sporting a tuque that matches his fashionable suit.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/11/2015 (2563 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

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When Adam Lowry walks into the MTS Centre prior to a game, the young Jets forward is often sporting a tuque that matches his fashionable suit.

It’s not your standard accessory, but it comes in handy when you work in a Canadian hockey town. However, he’s not going to take credit for any creative genius that found him crowned him one of the team’s three style stars by a local fashion expert.

Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press Jets player Blake Wheeler struts his stuff on the way to the game at the MTS Centre.

“I usually wake up from my nap and I don’t want to do my hair,” Lowry said.

Would you expect anything different from a 22-year-old who recently played his 100th NHL game?

Lowry, like every one of his teammates, comes to the rink dressed to the nines. (Like most NHL teams, the Jets enforce a strict dress code.) Many of their ensembles would be right at home on a fashion runway, even if the players themselves might not be.

The Free Press staked out the basement of the MTS Centre recently to get a look at the Jets’ fashion choices as they walked to the dressing room before a home game.

It’s not like the Oscars — there’s no red carpet, no one yelling, “Who are you wearing?” The Jets room is just a short walk down a hallway from where the players park their vehicles.

A few seconds of this is sometimes captured by television cameras prior to a game. The best-dressed players can even get a thumbs-up from Hockey Night in Canada fashion, uh, maven Don Cherry.

But just because players don’t spend hours posing for the cameras doesn’t mean they don’t put a lot of time and energy into their jackets, trousers and accessories. A designer flies in a couple of times a year to make made-to-measure suits for many of the Jets.

The players’ pre-game attire is the one time they’re able to add some individual flair to what they’re wearing, considering the only differences most of us see are the names and numbers on their backs and whether they’re wearing a visor or goalie mask.

Mikaela MacKenzie/Winnipeg Free Press Chris Thorburn walks to the locker room in his game-day best at the MTS Centre.

Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec is generally regarded as one of the team’s classiest dressers. When asked about his attire, several of his teammates said with a shrug, “He’s European.”

Pavelec has seven or eight suits, but he doesn’t merely throw one on and then put it back in the rotation when he’s done. He makes a point of accessorizing with a tie clip, a belt, a watch or a pocket square. Or maybe all four.

“I like to dress nice and feel really good,” he said.

Local designer Lennard Taylor checked out some recent photos the Free Press took of the Jets making their way into the dressing room and offered some fashion analytics.

He took special notice of Pavelec’s attention to detail.

“I like that he’s rocking a bold belt but he’s also rocking the tie clip to balance it out. You’ve got the watch in there as well. It’s just perfect,” he said.

Taylor doesn’t go to many games but there’s no question he’s a fan of the Jets’ off-ice style. Checking out centre Bryan Little’s purple jacket and navy pants, Taylor was effusive in his praise.

“That blazer is fantastic,” he said. “With the nice navy pants, the guy looks sharp. If this is what all the Jets are wearing, we’ve got a very fashionable team.”

(The Free Press didn’t ask Taylor to evaluate the fashion merits of some other accessories players were sporting — black eyes, missing teeth and scars from stray sticks and pucks.)

After scrolling through the shots of virtually all of the players — we weren’t able to see them all, as some arrived prior to our stakeout — Taylor said Little was his fashion MVP.

That news had Pavelec — whom Taylor named as one of his three stars, along with Lowry — laughing his European-style pants off.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” he said, barely able to contain himself. “It was probably one of those days that he dressed nice.”

Little, no stranger to being named one of the three stars for his on-ice performance, was a little surprised to get the nod from Taylor for his fashion sense, but he took some pride in it nonetheless.

“That jacket is brand new. I picked that out myself,” he said.

“Half of my suits I picked out myself by looking at swatches and half of them my wife picked out. I’m glad I picked that one out.”

(It should be noted that forward Alex Burmistrov, who was singled out by several players for a fashion sense that matches his stickhandling prowess, arrived at the rink early that day, so there’s no photo of him.)

As Taylor studied the picture of Lowry, he said the big centre’s combination of blue and brown was “sharp.”

“The paisley tie will never really go out of style. This looks like a (magazine) cover shot here,” he said.

geoff.kirbyson@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Friday, November 20, 2015 2:00 PM CST: restores dropped word

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