What does the letter 'A' on hockey jerseys mean?
  • May, 8 2023
  • 0
What does the letter 'A' on hockey jerseys mean?

What does the letter 'A' on hockey jerseys mean?


As a hockey fan, I have always been intrigued by the different letters you see on players' jerseys. One of the most common letters is the 'A' which has a significant meaning in the world of hockey. In this article, we will delve into the meaning of the 'A' on hockey jerseys and its importance in the game. We will also explore the history behind this symbol and its role in defining team leadership and dynamics. So, let's get started!

The 'A' Stands for Alternate Captain

First things first, the 'A' on a hockey jersey stands for Alternate Captain. The role of an Alternate Captain is quite important in a hockey team, as they are responsible for supporting the Captain in leading the team both on and off the ice. They serve as a liaison between the Captain and the rest of the team, helping to maintain team morale, discipline, and cohesion.

Alternate Captains are also responsible for assisting the Captain in communicating with the referees during a game. This includes discussing rule interpretations, disputing penalties, or requesting explanations for calls. In a situation where the Captain is not on the ice, the Alternate Captain takes over these responsibilities, ensuring that the team's interests are represented at all times.

History of the 'A'

The tradition of using letters to symbolize leadership roles in hockey dates back to the early 20th century. In 1917, the National Hockey League (NHL) was formed, and with it came the establishment of formal team leadership positions, including the Captain and Alternate Captain roles. The Captain was designated with a 'C' on their jersey, while the Alternate Captain was given the 'A'.

These symbols have remained a constant in the game of hockey ever since, signifying the importance of leadership and teamwork in the sport. As the game has evolved, so has the role of the Alternate Captain, with many teams now having multiple Alternates to support the Captain and ensure effective communication and leadership throughout the team.

How are Alternate Captains selected?

Alternate Captains are typically chosen by the team's coaching staff, sometimes in consultation with the Captain and other team leaders. They are often experienced players who have displayed strong leadership qualities, both on and off the ice. These qualities may include work ethic, dedication, communication skills, and the ability to motivate and inspire teammates.

It is also common for teams to rotate the 'A' among several players throughout the season, allowing different individuals to take on the responsibility and gain experience in a leadership role. This can be beneficial in developing future leaders and fostering a strong team culture.

The role of the 'A' in team dynamics

Having an Alternate Captain, or multiple Alternate Captains, can play a significant role in fostering a positive and inclusive team environment. These players are responsible for supporting the Captain in maintaining team morale, addressing any issues that may arise, and ensuring that all players feel valued and included.

Alternate Captains also serve as role models for their teammates, setting the standard for work ethic, commitment, and sportsmanship. This can have a powerful influence on the team's overall performance and success, as well as the development of individual players.

Notable Alternate Captains in hockey history

Over the years, many notable players have donned the 'A' on their jerseys, making significant contributions to their teams both on and off the ice. Some of these players include Mark Messier, who was an Alternate Captain for the Edmonton Oilers before becoming the Captain of the New York Rangers; Patrice Bergeron, a long-time Alternate Captain for the Boston Bruins; and Jonathan Toews, who has worn the 'A' for the Chicago Blackhawks.

These players, and many others, have demonstrated the importance of the Alternate Captain role in hockey, showcasing strong leadership and contributing to the success of their respective teams.

The 'A' in international competition

The role of the Alternate Captain is not limited to professional leagues like the NHL. In international hockey competitions, such as the Olympics and World Championships, teams also designate Alternate Captains to support the Captain and ensure effective communication and leadership within the team.

This highlights the universal importance of the 'A' in the world of hockey, transcending leagues and borders to symbolize leadership, teamwork, and the pursuit of excellence.


In conclusion, the 'A' on hockey jerseys holds a significant meaning, representing the role of the Alternate Captain. These players play a crucial role in supporting the Captain and fostering a strong team dynamic, both on and off the ice. As we have seen, the 'A' is a symbol of leadership and teamwork that has been an integral part of the game for over a century and remains an essential component of hockey culture today.

Daxton Kincaid

Daxton Kincaid

Hi, I'm Daxton Kincaid, a sports enthusiast with a passion for hockey. I've spent years studying the game and analyzing player performances. My expertise in sports allows me to provide unique insights and commentary on various aspects of hockey. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and love for the game through writing articles and blog posts. My ultimate goal is to inspire others to appreciate and engage with the thrilling world of hockey.

Leave a Reply