Sharp skates, SHARPER SUITS

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - FRONT PAGE - By Ge­off Kir­byson

It’s not your stan­dard ac­ces­sory, but it comes in handy when you work in a Cana­dian hockey town. How­ever, he’s not go­ing to take credit for any cre­ative ge­nius that found him crowned him one of the team’s three style stars by a lo­cal fash­ion ex­pert.

“I usu­ally wake up from my nap and I don’t want to do my hair,” Lowry said.

Would you ex­pect any­thing dif­fer­ent from a 22-year-old who re­cently played his 100th NHL game?

Lowry, like ev­ery one of his team­mates, comes to the rink dressed to the nines. (Like most NHL teams, the Jets en­force a strict dress code.) Many of their en­sem­bles would be right at home on a fash­ion runway, even if the play­ers them­selves might not be.

The Free Press staked out the base­ment of the MTS Cen­tre re­cently to get a look at the Jets’ fash­ion choices as they walked to the dress­ing room be­fore a home game.

It’s not like the Os­cars — there’s no red car­pet, no one yelling, “Who are you wear­ing?” The Jets room is just a short walk down a hall­way from where the play­ers park their ve­hi­cles.

A few sec­onds of this is some­times cap­tured by tele­vi­sion cam­eras prior to a game.

The best-dressed play­ers can even get a thumbs-up from Hockey Night in Canada fash­ion, uh, maven Don Cherry.

But just be­cause play­ers don’t spend hours pos­ing for the cam­eras doesn’t mean they don’t put a lot of time and en­ergy into their jack­ets, trousers and ac­ces­sories. A de­signer flies in a couple of times a year to make madeto-mea­sure suits for many of the Jets.

The play­ers’ pre-game at­tire is the one time they’re able to add some in­di­vid­ual flair to what they’re wear­ing, con­sid­er­ing the only dif­fer­ences most of us see are the names and num­bers on the back of a jer­sey and whether they’re wear­ing a vi­sor or goalie mask.

Jets goal­tender On­drej Pav­elec is gen­er­ally re­garded as one of the team’s classi­est dressers. When asked about his at­tire, sev­eral of his team­mates said with a shrug, “He’s Euro­pean.”

Pav­elec has seven or eight suits, but he doesn’t merely throw one on and then put it back in the ro­ta­tion when he’s done. He makes a point of ac­ces­soriz­ing with a tie clip, a belt, a watch or a pocket square. Or maybe all four.

“I like to dress nice and feel really good,” he said.

Lo­cal de­signer Len­nard Tay­lor checked out some re­cent pho­tos the Free Press took of the Jets making their way to the dress­ing room and of­fered some fash­ion an­a­lyt­ics.

He took spe­cial no­tice of Pav­elec’s at­ten­tion to de­tail.

“I like that he’s rock­ing a bold belt but he’s also rock­ing the tie clip to bal­ance it out. You’ve got the watch in there as well. It’s just per­fect,” he said.

Tay­lor doesn’t go to many games but there’s no ques­tion he’s a fan of the Jets’ off-ice style. Check­ing out cen­tre Bryan Lit­tle’s pur­ple jacket and navy pants, Tay­lor was ef­fu­sive in his praise.

“That blazer is fan­tas­tic,” he said. “With the nice navy pants, the guy looks sharp. If this is what all the Jets are wear­ing, we’ve got a very fash­ion­able team.”

(The Free Press didn’t ask Tay­lor to eval­u­ate the fash­ion mer­its of some other ac­ces­sories play­ers were sport­ing — black eyes, miss­ing teeth and scars from stray sticks and pucks.)

Af­ter scrolling through the shots of vir­tu­ally all of the play­ers — we weren’t able to see them all, as some ar­rived prior to our stake­out — Tay­lor said Lit­tle was his fash­ion MVP.

That news had Pav­elec — whom Tay­lor named as one of his three stars, along with Lowry — laugh­ing his Euro­pean-style pants off.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that,” he said, barely able to con­tain him­self. “It was

PHO­TOS BY MIKAELA MACKEN­ZIE / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

Adam Lowry

On­drej Pav­elec

Blake Wheeler

Chris Thor­burn

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