Sunglasses have made history during the recent 2015 Winter Classic ice hockey game at Nationals Park in Washington, as Karl Alzner of the Washington Capitals became the first NHL player to sport a pair of sunglasses during a hockey game, indoors or outdoors. The sun was a major concern heading into the game between the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks because of the glare and shadows produced by the sun. There was talk of the game being delayed, but it started on time without any problems; both teams did wind up switching ends of the ice about halfway through the first period however in order to give both goalies equal time in the sun.
During the game on New Year’s Day, players on both teams were squinting through sun glare, or had eye black slathered on their face; even though the players on both teams were given care packages that contained items to help battle the elements, including team-issued sunglasses. Karl Alzner was the only player who decided to take advantage of this NHL rule loophole, and instead of smearing black on his face, he instead wore sunglasses during the Winter Classic game. So which worked better, the black smear or the sunglasses? The consensus of the players is that black smear pain was not an effective solution at all, while the sunglasses worked perfectly for Alzner. After the Washington Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Blackhawks, Alzner stated that the sunglasses worked great for him and that he didn’t know how the other guys managed to play without them. Clear vision is critical in a sport where the puck can travel over a 100 mph, don’t you think?