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What Is a Fight Strap on a Hockey Jersey?

by
author image Jeremi Davidson
Jeremi Davidson began freelance writing in 2005. Davidson enjoys writing about sports and personal fitness, contributing to a number of different health and lifestyle websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Thompson Rivers University.
What Is a Fight Strap on a Hockey Jersey?
Hockey players on the ice. Photo Credit Joseph Gareri/iStock/Getty Images

The fight strap on a hockey jersey attaches the player’s jersey to his pants, ensuring that his jersey cannot come off during a fight. Players who fight without a fight strap run the risk of receiving an extra penalty as a result. This rule prevents players from ending up with their jerseys over their heads, which could lead to serious injury during a fight.

Purpose

The tie down fight strap keeps the player’s jersey and upper body equipment on his body during an altercation. The fight strap attaches the back of the jersey to the player’s hockey pants, making it almost impossible for the jersey to come off unless the strap breaks. No rules govern what materials players can use, but the majority use a leather strap and attach it to the jersey and hockey pants with metal snaps. While not a mandatory piece of equipment in the NHL, most players now wear fight straps because of the penalties involved with losing equipment.

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Penalty

Players who engage in a fight without a fight strap and have their jerseys pulled off will receive an automatic game misconduct, in addition to the fighting major that they have received. The jersey must come completely off the player’s torso for this penalty to take effect. For this reason, the majority of players in the league wear a fight strap, even if they do not fight frequently.

Exceptions

In some cases, the player isn't to blame for his jersey’s removal because the strap breaks. In some cases, the fight strap might remain completely intact, but the jersey might somehow come off anyway, in which case the player will avoid a game misconduct. If a player’s jersey comes off during a fight, but his opponent receives an instigator penalty on the play, that player will not receive a game misconduct because he had no fault in the altercation.

Origins

Many within hockey attribute the fight strap rule to former NHL enforcer Rob Ray, who would constantly lose his jersey and equipment during his fights. Ray would purposely wear a loose-fitting jersey so he could slip his arm out and gain an advantage over an opponent during a fight. Ray stated that many players had their own tricks to gain an advantage during this time. Eventually, the NHL changed the rules to eliminate this practice from the game because it became too common.

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