As of 2017, 94% of all NHL players wear visors.
Of those that wear visors, only a handful wear them tinted.
So, what’s the deal with tinted visors? Why do NHL players wear them?
Is there a benefit other than style points? Won’t it be hard to see—especially if they get fogged up?
Keep reading to find out.
In this article, we’ll go over exactly why NHL players wear tinted visors, which NHL players wear a tinted visor, and where you can get one.
Let’s dive in.
Here’s Why NHL Players Wear Tinted Visors:
There are two main reasons NHL players wear a tinted visor. First, many players wear one for medical reasons—some have had past concussions and the dark tint makes it easier on their eyes. And, some wear tinted visors simply because of the style. Some wear them for outdoor games (like the Winter Classic).
Are Tinted Visors Allowed in the NHL?
So, what’s the rule on tinted visors?
In 2010, the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) stated that tinted visors are not to be permitted during their games.
However, in the NHL, there isn’t a rule against them.
In fact, (regular) visors are mandatory for all players who have played fewer than 25 NHL games. But, it’s up to the player to decide whether they want to wear a clear visor (like most players) or wear a tinted one.
What NHL Players Wear a Tinted Visor?
Even though over 90% of NHL players wear visors, only a small percentage of those wear them tinted.
Here are some of the most prominent NHL players that wear a tinted visor:
- Alexander Ovechkin (Washington Capitals)
- Anze Kopitar (Los Angeles Kings)
- David Pastrnak (Boston Bruins)
- Evander Kane (Edmonton Oilers)
- Brayden Schenn (St. Louis Blues)
- Max Domi (Columbus Blue Jackets)
- David Perron (St. Louis Blues
- Matt Calvert (Colorado Avalanche)
- Marc Staal (Detroit Red Wings)
- Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadiens)
Can You Tint a Hockey Visor?
Yes, you can tint a hockey visor right from home.
However, you should be very cautious with this DIY method as you could permanently damage your visor.
1. Grab a Big Pot to Boil Water
The pot should be big enough to completely submerge your hockey visor.
2. Add Rit Liquid Dye
Use ½ to ¾ of a bottle (about 6 ounces) of Rit Liquid Dye for a large pot of boiling water. You can choose what color you want your visor to be tinted.
Warning: If you use Rit Black Liquid Dye, it can tint your visor slightly blue (not black).
3. Bring the Water to a Boil
Fill the pot up with water so your visor will be covered. Then, bring it to a boil.
4. Place a Pan Near Your Stove
Put a pan nearby that you can place your visor on after it’s done boiling. You should put some parchment paper on top of the pan so it doesn’t stain the pan.
5. Boil Your Visor for 5-10 Seconds
Grab your visor with some tongs and place it in the boiling dyed water for 5-10 seconds (or until you reach the desired tint). Then place it on a tray to let some of the dye drip off.
6. Repeat Step 5 If You Want a Darker Tint
After dipping your visor underneath for 5-10 seconds, if you still want it darker, just repeat step 4. You should just do 5 seconds at a time though so you don’t over-tint the visor.
7. Wash It off With Cold Water
After you’re done tinting your visor, place it under some cold water for a few seconds to wash off excess dye and cool down your visor.
Here’s a video that explains the process:
Can You Un-Tint Hockey Visors?
If you recently came into possession of a tinted visor, but you’re wanting to remove the tint, you can follow the steps below.
Warning: By using this method, you will likely remove any anti-fog and anti-scratch coating that your visor has. So keep that in mind if you’re considering removing your tint.
1. Grab Vinegar and a Cloth
Pour a small amount of regular vinegar onto a cloth.
2. Wipe the Outside of Your Visor Down
Wipe your shield down in a circular motion. You’ll have to apply quite a bit of pressure to ensure the tint comes off.
3. After 5 Minutes, Switch to the Inside
Once you’ve completed the outside of your visor, repeat step 2 but on the inside.
Why Does Alex Ovehckin Wear a Tinted Visor?
When most hockey fans think of tinted visors, there’s one player who comes to mind the most: Alexander Ovechkin.
You could argue that he popularized tinted visors when he took over the league by storm in the 2005-06 season.
So, why does he wear a tinted visor? Is it for a medical condition?
No, Alex Ovechkin wears it for another reason.
In a 2005 interview with Hockey News, Ovechkin stated, “Tinted visor is just my style… I only wear it for that reason.”
So, there you have it. Ovechkin doesn’t have eye problems. He just wears his tinted visor for style points—along with his signature yellow laces.
According to a tweet by Theo Fleury, Ovechkin wears it because of him.
“Went down to the Dome this morning and found out Ovi is a big Theo Fleury fan. Said his yellow laces and tinted visor inspiration came from me wearing them back in the day!!!! He also asked me for an autographed stick. Who’d of thought. Great morning.
Can NHL Players Wear Mirrored Visors?
In 2005, Alexander Ovechkin made an elaborate entrance into the league with his mirrored visor.
However, after a few years, he stopped wearing it in exchange for a “normal” tinted visor.
So, can NHL players wear mirrored visors?
Technically, yes—they can. But… no one currently wears one (and they probably wouldn’t).
There were a number of complaints against Ovehckin wearing the mirrored visor. One of the biggest complaints came from hall of fame Goalie Martin Brodeur who claimed that Ovie’s visor gave him a competitive edge (since Brodeur couldn’t see his eyes).
In 2006, general managers from across the league voted in favor or against mirrored visors and those against won 29-1.
However, this didn’t mean the mirrored visor was banned from the NHL. This was a simple first-step to get it removed. In order for it to be banned, the National Hockey League Players’ Association would have to make a rule against it—and they never did.
But, Ovechkin stopped wearing the mirrored visor (as the NHLPA would have likely voted to ban it)
What Happened to Alexander Ovechkin’s Mirrored Visor?
Alexander Ovechkin started his NHL career with a controversial “mirrored” visor.
However, he only wore this visor for his first season before trading it for a tinted visor.
Tarik El-Bashir from the Washington Post interviewed Ovechkin, asking what happened to the visor.
El-Bashir asked Ovechkin, “Did the NHL ask you to stop wearing it?” and Ovechkin responded “No.”
El-Bashir asked, “Are you lying to me?” and Ovechkin didn’t answer—but just smiled.
While Ovechkin chose to wear a tinted visor from then on, he has stated that his favorite visor he ever wore was the mirrored visor.
What’s the Most Popular Visor in the NHL?
The most popular visor in the NHL is the Bauer Pro-Clip Straight Visor (Clear).
Another popular NHL visor is the CCM Revision V24 Visor.
Can NHL Players Wear Colored Visors?
Yes, NHL players can wear colored visors.
Since there is no rule against visor tinting, players can choose what color they want their visor to be tinted.
The majority of tinted visor hockey players choose a simply “smoky” option that’s a grayish color.
However, there have been a handful of colorful visors used over the years.
About 10 years ago, players Eric Weinrich and Kyle McLaren both wore yellow-tinted visors. But, that was short-lived.
The most colorful visor worn today is by Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Calvert. In 2021, he debuted a pink visor in a game against the St. Louis Blues.
However, he doesn’t wear the pink visor for style points. He wears it for medical reasons. He’s had a number of concussions throughout his career. Because of those concussions, he’s dealt with chronic light-sensitivity ailments.
The pink visor reduces the intensity of the bright lights in NHL hockey rinks.
In an interview, Calvert mentioned, “It’s basically like wearing blue light glasses at night or in front of screens, in that it limits the exposure.”
What Do People Think of Tinted Visors in Beer League?
When comparing recreational leagues like adult beer leagues to the NHL—it’s clear that a much higher percentage of beer league players wear tinted visors than NHL players.
Beer leagues are known for eccentric players who aren’t afraid to wear something a bit unique when it comes to hockey gear.
But, what do hockey players think of other players who wear tinted visors in beer league?
Simply put, if a player has a minor tint, they don’t really take much notice.
However, those with a heavy tint are often poked fun of, and receive criticism on the ice.
It seems that the more your visor is tinted, the more likely you are to receive some criticism on the ice (by opponents and even teammates).
However, if you’re considering getting a tinted visor, most people don’t really care what equipment other players wear. And, chirping other players who have tinted visors is often done lightly and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Where to Get Tinted Hockey Visors?
If you’re looking to buy a tinted hockey visor, it’s not so easy to find.
However, there are a few brands who design them tinted—the most popular being Bauer. They have a minimally tinted “Smoke” visor.
The other, less popular brand is Ronin—although their visors are more affordable and they have a wider tinted selection. They even have a mirrored option—like Ovechkin’s debut NHL visor.