I am a huge fan of ice hockey. I love watching the sport, and have been to more games in person than I can count. I have even gone to a few outdoor games, now those were cold.
But enough of that, let’s get into the reason you’re here in the first place.
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Are hockey games cold?
Hockey is a sport that is played on ice, so surely the temperature inside an arena has to be super cold in order to keep the ice frozen, right?
Well, that depends on whether you are going to watch a professional game at a large arena or if you’re going to a smaller local recreational arena to see a friend or family member play.
Professional hockey games like the NHL are not cold. The average temperature is 65ºF which is borderline room temperature. Minor league hockey games that are held at local recreational arenas do tend to be cold, typically in the range of 50ºF and 55ºF.
NHL arena temperature
The average temperature inside an NHL arena is 65ºF, with between 35-45 percent relative humidity. All NHL arenas are held to these temperature standards in order to provide optimal ice conditions for the players.
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, room temperature is 68ºF.
This would mean the temperature inside an NHL arena is only 3ºF less than room temperature.
Keep in mind, temperature can change based on where you are sitting, if you are close to the ice which is kept between 18ºF and 24ºF during the game you will feel more of a chill than someone sitting up in the nosebleeds.
Local recreational hockey arena temperature
The temperature at a local recreational hockey arena will vary, but they all tend to be fairly cold. Typically, it will stay between 50ºF and 55ºF.
However, many older arenas will use infrared tube heaters that when sat under will keep you nice and toasty. Sometimes you can even get too warm sitting directly under one.
When heading to a local arena to watch family or friends play, it’s a good rule of thumb to over dress rather than under dress.
How to Dress for a Hockey Game
First time heading to the rink to watch a hockey game and unsure of what you should be wearing? Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. Let’s take a look.
Remember, generally when there are hockey games on to go and watch, it’s that time of the year when the weather tends to be cold outside. Unless you live in a warmer climate, of course.
What to wear to a professional hockey game
If you’re someone that tends to get hot and overheat easily, you will be fine wearing a t-shirt and a jersey. The hockey Jersey will keep you warm, which makes sense seeing as hockey jerseys are so expensive, but that’s another topic. If you get too warm, you can just take it off and go with your t-shirt.
For someone who gets and stays cold easily, you should wear three layers:
If you don’t own a jersey, you can change it up and go with something like this:
- Long sleeve shirt
- Hoodie / Jacket
There is no need for gloves of any kind, and you are likely to overheat if you wear a beanie/toque.
What to wear to a recreational hockey game
If you’re going to watch your friend or a family member play at the local arena, you are going to want to dress much warmer than you would for say an NHL game.
At a smaller arena with less heating instruments you should dress as you normally would but with a warm jacket, hat and gloves. You could even bring a blanket just in case.
When I go to watch my local junior team in our smaller arena, this is how I dress:
- Beanie / Toque
- Warm winter jacket
- Long johns
That’s right, long johns. They are a lifesaver when it comes to sitting on cold bleachers in these small town rinks.
It’s always best to over dress than under dress when attending a hockey game. You can always take some layers off if you get to warm, but if you get too cold, you won’t have anything to help you warm up.
Really, when it comes down to it, it’s not as cold as you would think in NHL arenas. Anytime I’ve been to a game I have gotten away with just a t-shirt and a hockey sweater, and if my team is winning that game I tend to get down to just my t-shirt from overheating as the result of cheering too much.
Enjoy the game!