NHL Fit Check: Stylist to Premier League stars ranks the NHL’s best-dressed

Tim thinks Elliotte has awful taste in sneakers, so he takes Elliotte shopping for kicks in Stockholm, Sweden. Along the way, jokes are had, jabs are taken and stories are shared, as Timmy reveals all about his Senators’ teammates.

Three months into the 2023-24 NHL campaign, with three chapters of our series on NHL fashion in the bag, the best-dressed in the game have begun to emerge from the crowd. 

Each month until the end of the season, we’re breaking down the best style from around the league — but rather than just spill our own thoughts on the subject, we’ve turned the mics over to the experts, to professional stylists who craft looks for elite athletes across the sports world.

Through Parts I and II of this series, led by stylists who’ve worked with some of the biggest names in the NBA and NFL, four players managed to remain among the top 10: Auston Matthews, Matt Duchene, Nikita Zadorov and Alexandre Carrier. In Part III, with our top 10 selected by a stylist working in a sports culture a world away, all four return once again, holding their crowns as the league’s most fashionable characters.

Granting us a professional perspective in this third instalment of NHL Fit Check is stylist and creative director Algen Hamilton, who’s made his name styling Premier League mainstays like Arsenal’s Kai Havertz and Reiss Nelson, Chelsea’s Trevoh Chalobah, Manchester City’s Mateo Kovacic, and a number of other footballers dotted throughout Europe’s top leagues.

For Hamilton, the fact that his journey through the fashion landscape intertwined with the sports world wasn’t simply happenstance. It was in fact the union of the two that served as the original seed of his career.

“A lot of my friends play for Premier League clubs — we all grew up together. I’ve always been the fashion guy, they’ve always been the footballer, the athlete,” says Hamilton, who used to play football himself alongside his eventual starring mates in his early days. “As time went on, I was styling my friends. They would all go off to international duty with the England squad, and they would introduce me to their friends out there that also wanted to get a stylist, change their wardrobe up a little bit. And it’s kind of just grown and grown and grown. 

“It’s really organic. I stayed in my niche, I didn’t really branch out too much. I stuck with what I knew.”

In the years since, Hamilton’s client list has sprawled out from his boyhood friends to stars all over the Premier League — and further still, beyond England, to others in France’s Ligue 1, Germany’s Bundesliga, and Italy’s Serie A.

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Exposed to the hockey world’s sense of style for the first time, what stood out most to Hamilton, he says, was the NHL’s similarity to the top league in his own world — not in terms of the looks created, but in its adherence to tradition, its slow embrace of individuality.

“The NHL is very traditional — so is the Premier League. It’s not very far off,” he says. “I was so struck by the fact that it was only formalwear that they can wear. I was thinking, in America and Canada, you guys are one step ahead. When it comes to innovation and change, I feel like you guys are always looking to do something new, something exciting that not everyone else is doing. So, I was surprised that the league is very strict on dressing — I thought that was just an English thing. 

“But looking at what the players are wearing, it does show personality. … They’re not just going and picking up a suit off the rail. Some of them did, but you can see that some of them actually have bespoke suits on, some of them are really thinking about the detail, the way the suit was actually made. They’ve changed things to make it really personal to them.”

Much like the NHL, which has begun to lean slowly toward an embrace of the fashion world in recent years courtesy of its younger generation, the sporting culture Hamilton operates within is seeing its own youth movement push things forward.

“It’s definitely not stuck where it used to be. It used to be so strict, you would only see players wearing training gear,” he says of the Premier League’s own history with fashion. “Now, some Premier League clubs like Crystal Palace, Liverpool, they’re shooting [photos of] their players when they go to training. … Now the players are beginning to wear nice outfits to training just so they can get that shot — that’s their version of a tunnel fit, basically. So, you know, it’s like pebbles, building steps.

“But fashion has definitely changed in football, for sure. Because even when you look at high luxury houses, like Off-White, Gucci, they’re teaming up with Inter Milan, PSG. It’s changing — it’s not like the luxury houses are not noticing football in general. They’re tapping into it. They’re working with them on their kits. So, it’s just about seeing where it can go now.”

Turning his attention to where the NHL sits in its own pursuit of that progress, here’s how Hamilton ranked the best fits from around the NHL over the past month.

10. Luke Glendening, Tampa Bay Lightning

Courtesy Tampa Bay Lightning/Twitter

HAMILTON: “I don’t think the suit is made for him. It doesn’t look cut to him — I can tell by the shoulders, the excess fabric. It’s a black two-piece, he’s wore it with a bowtie. There are no satin lapels or buttons, which means it’s not really a tuxedo — it’s like a tuxedo, but not.

“I don’t really know what he’s trying to do here, but I still like it, because he’s got a bowtie on. He’s the only one wearing a bowtie, so I’ll give it to him.”

9. Erik Karlsson, Pittsburgh Penguins

Courtesy Pittsburgh Penguins/Twitter

HAMILTON: “Do you know the show, Peaky Blinders? When I saw this, I thought Peaky Blinders. Tommy Shelby. Really nice long coat. I really like it — it’s very clean, very neat. I like the shirt as well, the colour. The grandad hat. Mateo Kovacic always wears the grandad hats. I like it. Italian mafia vibes.”

8. Liam O’Brien, Arizona Coyotes

Courtesy Arizona Coyotes/Twitter

HAMILTON: “He looks like a Viking. Three-piece suit, I’m not sure if it’s wool or linen. Single-breasted, double-breasted waistcoat. His lapel’s a bit different. It’s slightly more unique. Nice bit of shirt cuff showing at the bottom. I like the colour as well — it goes well with his hair. It kind of looks like he’s going to his wedding.”

7. Matt Duchene, Dallas Stars

HAMILTON: “This is a nice one to talk about. It seems like they all like double-breasted. It’s a standard—thin lapel, still standard peak. But I like the colour. It stands out, it goes well with his skin tone. … You know, you have the colours that you know you wear, that you know are going to look good on you. I know the colours that I wear that I know are going to look good on me. I can tell he’s doing the same thing.

“It’s obviously custom-made. If you look at the detail, they’ve made the buttonhole threads white, so they’re also matching the buttons. It’s easy just to make it the same colour as the actual linen. So those are the small details I noticed.”

6. Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins

Courtesy Boston Bruins/Twitter

HAMILTON: “He’s a madman. He’s like Marmite — some will love it, some will hate it. I like it. He doesn’t care — he’s wearing exactly what he likes. It’s one of my favourite things when it comes to fashion — don’t care about what people think, just wear what you feel comfortable in, how you want to portray yourself, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. It reminds me of, like, Real Housewives of The Hamptons, or something. But it’s nice, it’s a good one.

“Straight pockets, and a ticket pocket, so it has a traditional touch. Single-breasted jacket, normal peak lapel. I like that ticket pocket — it’s a nice touch.”

5. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins

Courtesy Boston Bruins/Twitter

HAMILTON: “He looks like a guy that says, ‘They told me to wear formal — I’m going to try and make this as less formal as possible.’ I like it. I like this fit a lot. This is how they dress in London. I love the colours, I love the jacket, the wool hat, the glasses — he’s got some swag on. The trainers. He looks lit, you know what I mean? He’s vibing. He just needs some Apple AirPods in there. He looks cool. I like that.”

4. William Nylander, Toronto Maple Leafs

Courtesy Toronto Maple Leafs/Twitter

HAMILTON: “It’s a very classic pinstripe suit. I like the scarf. I like how he’s playing with the scarf underneath — it’s different, to see that scarf with a tie. It’s very French, Italian, old-fashioned. It’s usually worn in the summer. He’s doing what I do — I always wear what I like to wear no matter what the season is. So I definitely feel like he’s just said, ‘I like this, let’s just slap it on top.’ And it looks good. The colours work really well. It makes him stand out from the rest.”

3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs

Courtesy Toronto Maple Leafs/Twitter

HAMILTON: “This is all personality. That’s the main thing that I like — someone that’s bold. It’s definitely an eye-catcher. He’s done a full double-breasted with peak lapels. I like what he’s doing with the mock-neck knitwear sweater. With the Amiri [sneakers] as well — that’s sick. It’s not like he’s wearing it with just some black shoes, to make it standard. I like that. And it goes well with the suit, the colours are nice. It’s catching to the eye.

“I feel like a lot of young fans would love this outfit because they probably don’t like seeing their players every day coming with a suit like they’re going to a wedding. But to see one of them coming with a bit of oomph, some panache, it’s nice.”

2. Nikita Zadorov, Vancouver Canucks

Courtesy Vancouver Canucks/Twitter

HAMILTON: “That suit is definitely made for him. It’s probably made to fit the boots — the trousers have clearly been shortened. So he’s paired the whole outfit. It’s not just the suit itself and then him finding a pair of shoes — he knew the shoes he wanted to wear. I have players that will hit me up and be like, ‘I’ve got this in my wardrobe and I need to put this in an outfit, I’ve got nothing to wear it with.’ I feel like he’s probably done this. They made him a nice suit to go with the shoes.

“It’s pinstripe fabric, which is always nice — you can’t go wrong. Nice contrast with the brown. Another six-button, double-breasted jacket. He’s doing his thing.”

1. Alexandre Carrier, Nashville Predators

Courtesy Nashville Predators/Twitter

HAMILTON: “It’s definitely made and styled for him. It’s definitely bespoke. It’s cut perfectly to his body — there’s nothing there that shows that it’s just picked off the rail. It’s definitely bespoke to his measurements. He’s got a six-button, double-breasted, with a peak lapel — so he knows what he’s doing. Peak lapel also adds a bit of swag onto it, so I like it.

“Brown is my favourite colour, brown and black, so I was always going to go with this. It’s just incredible everywhere — the shoulders, the waist, it all complements his shape. So I’d definitely put him first, for sure.”

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