The Columbus Blue Jackets’ Patrik Laine Talks About the Inspiration for His Pregame Style

The left wing from Finland is a hockey standout on the ice, as well as a stylish standout at NHL arenas.

Bob Vitale
Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Patrik Laine in Nationwide Arena

In a gloomy season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Patrik Laine has provided a pop of color. While the team molders at the wrong end of the NHL standings, the 24-year-old winger has run away with the title in a highly watched competition that plays out hours before the puck drops on game days.

In recent years, an NHL-instituted dress code (requiring jacket, tie and dress pants) has turned arena tunnels into catwalks, social media feeds into look books and hockey fans into fashion critics. “It’s Patrik Laine vs. everyone else,” Rhiannon Walker of The Athletic wrote in October when she placed him atop the website’s first NHL style rankings of the season. (The Blue Jackets post team fashion photos on social media with the hashtag #CBJFITS.)

CBJ left wing Patrik Laine has drawn compliments for his pregame fashion style.

Laine, who relies on Columbus designer Ethan Weisman of Pantheon Limited for many of his suits, insists he doesn’t dress to impress. “I just do my thing,” he says.

Have you always been a fan of fashion? I was always a track suits, sweatpants kind of guy. I think it kind of started recently, like the last couple years. Before that, I wasn’t too into it, to be honest. It was more about being comfortable. I decided to try some new stuff, more colorful suits. I kind of liked it.

How do you put your looks together? I go through the internet and if I like something, I buy it. I browse all over the place; it doesn’t matter which brand. If I have some type of suit, then I’ll find some shirts or accessories or shoes that might go with it. If I find a pair of nice shoes, then I might [have a suit made] for it. I’m open to wearing any colors. The more colorful, the better.

Another of Patrik Laine’s pregame looks

It’s been said that NHL players have a bit of a competition going when it comes to pre-game looks. Do you have any fashion rivals on the team? Elvis Merzlikins usually rocks a look … Everyone’s doing good. They’re all trying to look good, and they’re all doing a pretty good job. Elvis aways looks good. He has some great suits, but there’s no rivalry there. He’s got more hats than I do, though. I’ve got to get some more.

How do you dress on a day off? Probably 75 percent of my closet is from Lululemon, so usually their clothes and whatever different, weird colors I have, I’ll just throw them on. It’s more about being relaxed off the ice. I never wear jeans; I just don’t think they’re comfortable at all. Why wear jeans at home when I can wear shorts or sweatpants or underwear?

Does your girlfriend have any input on your fashion choices? She has a good idea what I like to wear. She has some good ideas that I like to listen to.

Has she ever vetoed an outfit? None of my suits, but on an off day, she has vetoed a couple that I’m not wearing anymore.

Do you care about other people’s reactions? I’m just doing it because I like it. There’s been some positive reactions so far, but even if it was negative, I wouldn’t really care. 

This story is from the March 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.