Hockey Hair: Camaraderie in Sports Via Unofficial Uniform

Like all official sports team, professional hockey players wear a uniform when playing sanctioned games. This includes jersey’s, regulation skates, headgear, as well as hockey sticks. However, hockey players, more than any other group of athletes, seem to have developed an unofficial uniform for when they are not on ice: hockey hair.

Hockey Hair for Group Cohesion

As a group, hockey players are often viewed as unruly and aggressive. While all athletes, to an extent, are also associated with these characteristics, hockey players are particularly infamous for their tendency to fight amongst each other. Often, hockey games are just as much about player interactions as they are about one team winning or losing. The fights are something of a spectacle, which, while entertaining to viewers, breeds a potentially dangerous view of aggressive behavior among players.

So, how does the hairstyle hockey players wear fit into this dynamic?

For starters, hockey hair, is a lax, pushed back style in which hair flows backward from the forehead. The fact that it is medium/long hairstyle is significant in and of itself, as longer lengths in men are often associated with rebellious figures. However, the style’s prevalence among so many members of the team alters this association in a key way — it provides a common identity for the group.

Group Identity Via Long Flowing Hair

The result of a group of unruly, aggressive men with similar hairstyles, is a unity that transcends the uniform worn on the ice. The ubiquity of the style throughout virtually all teams in the NHL marks the style as a reminder that while on opposite sides, members are playing the same game. This is especially important for players, considering the troubling view of aggressive behavior on ice rinks by both coaches, referees, and even viewers.

Role of Unity in Aggressive Behavior

A 2001 study on the perception of aggression in minor league hockey players and coaches shows an interesting change in how certain behaviors are more tolerated with age. As players progress to the next age group (Atom, Peewee, Bantam), they viewed hostile aggression as less of an issue. The troubling trend suggests a lack of awareness of other players on opposite teams as equals. Rather, it shows a perception of the other as an obstacle to success.

A significant characteristic of hockey hair, also known as the ” Bro Flow”, is that it is long enough to be seen peeking out from underneath the regulation helmets worn during matches. This means that other players can see that beneath the expected identifiers of jersey number and last name, the opposing player underneath the gear is a living, breathing person. This may make a player think before slamming another player into a wall in an overly-hostile way.

In sum, the Bro Flow look presents a unique phenomenon among a group of infamously aggressive athletes. The expression of free-spiritedness, often associated with long hairstyles in men, is tempered by group dynamics, resulting in an overarching unity among players.



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Famous People and Hairstyles through the Years

Hairstyles date back hundreds of years and generally reflected what was happening socially at the time. Hairstyles have gone through many changes over the past several decades. The one consistency has been that the hairstyles that were worn by icons of popular culture symbolized what was thought to be the ideal. To find out more about the inspiration for particular hairstyles over the last century, read on.

In the early 1900’s wealthy women set the standard of wearing hair jewels and hats with veils and lace. They dusted their hair with gold and silver powders for the nights. Antoine of Paris created a look of hair parted in middle and swept back in smooth bands over the ears. In 1907 the Marcel wave swept the United States and Europe. In 1910 American nurses in Europe cut their hair short to avoid a flea infestation and the women in America began to cut their hair short for fashion.

The Louise Brooks’s bob became the popular hairstyle in the 1920’s as women began to express their freedom. They also began shedding their corsets to enter the workforce and in 1931 Jean Harlow starred in the movie “Platinum Blonde.” This hair color then swept the nation. Also in the 1930’s, Shirley Temple’s ringlet curls had women of all ages pinning their own hair into tight curls.

During WWII when feminine was ideal, women began copying Hollywood hairstyles. In the 1940’s, Rita Hayworth began the hairstyle trend of side-parted finger waves the sexiest style of that time. Veronica Lake and her cascading blonde hair defined glamour.

The 1950’s brought a trend of highlighting and Lucille Ball’s flaming red hair was an example. Also Doris Day had a helmet like hairstyle that inspired her fans and Audrey Hepburn started the pixie cut.

During the 1960’s people were letting their hair down and the rock group The Beatles, wore their hair long. This ended the gender norm in hairstyles. The Beatle look became a very popular hairstyle for men of all ages.

In the 1970’s, the musical “Hair” came out during a time of sexual revolution. Angela Davis’s afro became a symbol for black pride. One of the most copied hairstyles of the 1970’s was the Farrah Fawcett feathered back hairdo.

The 1980’s were an economic boom and women began the mall bang trend. Big hair and poodle perms were the big thing.

The 1990’s found many women heading to the hair salons looking for the Jennifer Aniston hairstyle. Her hair at the time was an angled, layered, shag haircut. And the millennium brought Sarah Jessica Parker’s flowing curly look back into style.

There have been many hairstyles over the last 100 years. They seem to cycle in and out with some variations.



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