When you are designing custom hockey jerseys, the area around the neck offers a surprising number of opportunities for creativity and team identity.

Spend enough time around a hockey rink and you’re bound to hear some old-timers call a hockey jersey a “sweater.” The term has survived even though jerseys are no longer heavy wool garments designed for playing outside on frozen ponds for hours at a time.

Along with the name, some features of those old-time hockey sweaters have made their way into our modern jerseys, especially for teams looking for an old-school vintage look. Here are a few details you’ll have to decide on when designing custom hockey jerseys for your team.

Neck laces: Hockey’s most distinctive uniform detail

We know hockey players take the laces on their skates very seriously, but the laces on their jerseys?

Neck laces are purely aesthetic now, but in the days of actual hockey sweaters they had a function: giving the player enough of a neck opening to pull the sweater over whatever other layers and primitive protective equipment they were wearing, but then allowing them to tighten up the neck to help them stay warm.

These days, hockey jerseys are built to dissipate heat rather than trap it. Hockey jerseys are made of performance fabrics, just as any other sport jerseys are. If players need to stay warm, they can wear performance undershirts to keep heat in, while the jersey is breathable and loose to allow for easy movement and moisture removal. Players don’t need neck laces or any other features to insulate themselves, but the neck laces do give them a look that harkens back to the days of all guts, no glory pond hockey.

If you decide to customize your hockey jerseys with neck laces, one follow-on decision you’ll have is what color laces to use. Some teams have laces that are the same color as the neck trim, others that match the main body of the jersey and some will go for a contrast color. Be sure to check with your league’s uniform regulations to ensure that they do not have any rules against neck laces, or about the total number of colors you can have on a uniform.

Collar the competition: Neck trim, inserts and underlays for hockey jerseys

The neck area offers a lot of opportunities to customize your hockey jerseys. In addition to neck laces, you can decide among several styles and color options.

Most hockey jerseys, with or without neck laces, come in a V-neck. Some recent National Hockey League jerseys (and a few soccer kits) have used a “squared V-neck,” which is like a hybrid of a crew neck and a V-neck, but these have not caught on widely and opinion among hockey fans - and hockey uniform fans - is mixed.

Trim, like the neck laces, is another opportunity to introduce an accenting contrast. The neck trim is usually one of the team’s primary colors, and contrasts with the main body of the jersey. The color of the neck trim is usually seen elsewhere on the jersey, such as stripes on the sleeve or the gussets under the arms.

This hockey jersey from Athletic Knit shows how the trim can be integrated with the rest of jersey, creating a continuous line of color from sleeve to sleeve while mirroring the colors and pattern at the bottom of the jersey.

The neck area of hockey jerseys can be accentuated even further with an underlay.

The underlay, as seen here in the Fitwell 900 Series jersey, gives the jersey a “shirt within a shirt” look. It contrasts the body of the jersey and often contrasts the neck trim. This means the neck area can represent the team’s entire color palette.

Which custom hockey jersey features are right for your team?

Each of these features, along with others like underarm gussets and weighted hems, will add to the total price of your custom hockey jerseys. Be sure to have in mind your budget when designing custom jerseys for your team, so you can match the look to the cost. CustomJersey has a wide selection of vendors, performance fabrics and printing options for hockey jerseys, and we will provide you as many price quotes as you need to weigh your options.

We’ll work with you to find the right design, features and price so your players can take the ice looking sharp, with enough money left over for the post-game celebrations.