By John Rolfe
May 30, 2008
Silk suit, black tie
I dont need a reason why
They come runnin' just as fast as they can
Coz every girl crazy bout a sharp dressed man.

--ZZ Top

Last week, this space took the plunge into the wonderful world of wine and sports, two things that are, to my addled way of thinking, somewhat strange bedfellows. Continuing with our exploration of the existential non-sequitur, we present the mushrooming relationship between hockey and high fashion.

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin (photo, right) will unveil his own line of designer streetwear at a ritzy cocktail party/fashion show in Toronto on June 11 that features the presence of "Toronto-based, international award-winning designer" Roger Edwards, and a gaggle of Canada's most fetching models flouncing about in the new line of A.O. duds.

Now, I don't pretend to know if A.O. will roll out the latest look in water-repellant shorts and thick knee socks, but the blood 'n guts, icy playoff beard ethos of hockey seems to, um, clash with the snooty world of high fashion, yet NHL players have been clothes horses -- the Rangers' Ron Duguay and his early '80s pitches for Sasson jeans come to mind -- and these days they seem to be gravitating toward haute couture like toothless moths to a glowing goal lamp. Sean Avery, the New York Rangers' infamous instigator is already hard at work as in intern at Vogue, no doubt waving his arms in Anna Wintour's sour puss when not poring over the latest glad rags from Paris. Last year, Penguins wunderkind Sidney Crosby introduced, in conjunction with Reebok, his own line of sportswear for the guy on the go.

With that in mind, there are still a few glaring holes in the NHL fashion catalog:

Given this common query on fan message boards -- "Can someone please tell me where Don Cherry buys his suits?" -- and this common reply -- "Wherever discerning Canadians purchase their Halloween costumes" -- it seems pretty darn obvious that the NHL's greatest living fashion statement could make a killing making those mind-blowing bonnaroo duds he wears on Hockey Night In Canada (see this little companion gallery for details) more readily available to the general public, along with the natty shades and cutting edge headgear that often top off each of his outfits like a bing cherry on a psychedelic sundae.
No cool jerk should attract attention without first augmenting his wardrobe with such Avery-authorized accoutrements as an MP3 player that spouts only trash talk and Yer Mama jokes, designer toothpaste (for leaving a minty-fresh sheen on that last proud tooth), joy buzzer, whoopie cushion, embossed can of pepper spray, and cup of maple syrup.
I don't know about you, but when I think Laraque, toiletries come to mind. The Penguins enforcer's name just sounds like a vaunted French designer and he should take full advantage of his cachet by putting out a line of cologne and aftershave that re-arranges your face with the bracing scent of a wet hockey glove as it gives you a face-wash.
A little retro, as the wooly blueliner's bathrobe was all the rage way back in 2006 when his Carolina Hurricanes were winning the Stanley Cup, but a good idea is a good idea is a good idea, and some looks are classic as well as timeless, such as the red fright wig. Soap-on-a-rope and bath toys (sure to be a hit with Ducks and Sharks fans) seem like naturals for the Commodore Catalog.
Yeah, he already has his own line of clothing, but after seeing that playoff 'stache he's sprouted (is still sprouting?), a well-crafted can of beer- or zamboni exhaust-scented wax to keep it in check seems like a sound marketing opportunity. As an enticement, each tin can come complete with a natural boar-bristle brush for smoothing, grooming and keeping even the most unruly upper lip foliage out of the sin bin on nights when the camera's glare is brightest.

Photos: Crosby (AP), all others Getty Images

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