The Significance of Letters on NHL Jerseys

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NHL hockey may be a popular sport, but the rules are often hard to follow. One little-known rule concerns the letters on the front of some jerseys. The letters "C" and "A" are sometimes found on the front of some player's jerseys, usually near the shoulder. The reason why lies within another question: Who is your captain?

The Letter "C"

  • The letter "C" on a jersey designates the team's captain. There can only be one captain per team; co-captains are not allowed.

Captain's Duties

  • The letter "C" is for the referee's use, to identify the team's captain. If there is a penalty that needs to be explained to the team, only the captain--if he is on the ice--is allowed to speak to the referee.

The Letter "A"

  • The letter "A" on a jersey designates the alternate (or assistant) captains of the hockey team. A team can have two alternate captains, or three alternates if there is no official captain.

Alternate Captain's Duties

  • If an official captain is on the bench, an alternate captain on the ice assumes his duties with the officials.

NHL Rule for Letters

  • The specific rule regarding letters on jerseys can be found in section 2, rule 6 of the official NHL rules. It states a captain's letter must be no larger than 3 inches high and must be placed on the front of a jersey in a conspicuous place.

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