September 28, 2011
Yeah, so, apparently this is happening in the National Hockey League this season:
Minnesota Wild Head Equipment Manager Tony Da Costa tweeted these images of Dany Heatley's(notes) helmet, adding that it's "no joke" and that players will have numbers on the front and back of their lids beginning on opening night.
Here's Schuyler Baehman of the NHL with the specifics on the numbers:
Player numbers will be added to the front forehead (centered) location of all player helmets at the start of this season. Front numbers are not required to be placed on goaltenders headgear. Numbers on the front and back of helmets will measure no less than 1.25" and no more than 2" in height. The new number placement is designed to aid on-ice officials, broadcasters, et al. by providing an additional point of player identification
This might just be the newness of it, but that number just seems to throw off the balance of the uniform's look. The number, the Easton logo … are they just overcrowding the lid now to condition us for advertisements later?
Is it really that essential for the NHL to have a number somewhere near the player's face, with these helmets following the numbers on the front of last season's All-Star sweaters? We assume newbie fans will eventually follow the puck; can't we assume they'll be able to identify players based on the four sets of digits already on them at all times?
Look, if it's between numbers on the front of the sweater and numbers on the front of the helmet, we'll choose the latter every time. We believe they call it "the lesser of two evils." But seriously, if it's an issue with player identification, just hire EA Sports to digitally create numbers around the players on every broadcast. And a giant blue star for the puck-carrier. That too.
So, with that, we ask you, dear readers:
Pass or Fail: Sweater numbers on the front of NHL helmets.