Despite being on ice, National Hockey League players can overheat. But new uniforms will keep them a few degrees cooler, and could become wardrobe choices in other sports leagues.
“Imagine your players are five degrees cooler than the other team.” If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you’ll recognize George Costanza’s pitch to put cotton uniforms on the Yankees. Cotton breathes, George explained to manager Buck Showalter. And cooler players would have an advantage on the field.
Turns out that scientists at Central Michigan University—and officials from Reebok—agree. Last spring, the scientists put three uniforms that Reebok had designed for the National Hockey League through their paces. They used a body scanner coupled to a thermal camera to determine which of the three outfits kept a hockey player coolest during a full workout. The winning uniform, unveiled last month, is made of a stretchy mesh type fabric designed to maximize players’ range of motion while keeping them four to 10 degrees cooler than the old material. Next on the drawing board: cooler threads for the NBA. If only George Costanza had had access to such technology. Perhaps he could have averted the comical fiasco that ensued when the cotton uniforms shrank. (Clip from Seinfeld: baseball announcers: “And what is with the Yankees? It’s their uniforms, they’re too tight, they’ve shrunk! They’re running like penguins! Mattingly just split his pants!”)