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NHL Awards

Fashion takes center stage at NHL Awards

Burns, Kesler among unofficial style winners at 'Oscars of hockey'

by Nic Screws / Correspondent

The NHL Awards belonged to Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane, who took home three of the most prestigious honors, including the Hart Trophy as the League's most valuable player. But beyond the hardware handed out at the annual event was the fashion, as some of the sport's biggest stars traded in their skates for suits.

Here are a few style takeaways from the Oscars of hockey, held Wednesday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the home of the NHL's 31st franchise.

The New Rat Pack -- Old Hollywood glamour was in full force on the Las Vegas strip as top players such Kane, the night's biggest winner, along with fellow nominees Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks (Selke Trophy) and Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning (Vezina Trophy) opted for classic tuxedos. Kesler and Kane, each in a shawl-collar variation, topped off their looks with a traditional bowtie. Bishop went for a modern twist, adding a thin, black tie to his notch-lapel number by designer John Varvatos. Bonus points to Kane for the additional touch of his monogrammed shirt cuffs.

"I think my look has evolved just from growing up more than anything," Kesler said prior the ceremony. "I've gotten really comfortable wearing tailoring and now know what I like and what fits me best. That has definitely led to me being more adventurous, even dressing outside my comfort zone sometimes."

"We're usually not allowed to get too crazy with our style," Kesler said. "So an occasion like the NHL Awards is where I really want to step my game up and show that we are a league of stylish men too."

Bishop said his height (he's 6-foot-7) presents some fashion limitations.

"I am always severely limited with my style because of my size," said Bishop, one of five players dressed by Varvatos. "So once I find a brand or designer that really works for my build, I become a loyal customer."

Green is the New Black -- Leave it to San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns, known for his trademark beard and mile-wide gap in his smile, and always-stylish Ottawa Senators' defenseman Erik Karlsson to break up the sea of blue by choosing the more unconventionally red carpet-ready hue: green. Burns wore a super-sheen emerald green three-piece suit (one that he referred to as "toned down" for him earlier in the day); Karlsson went with a more muted, moss green option.

Team Varvatos -- The five finalists outfitted by Varvatos in his rock-star tailoring were able to show off their individual style. In addition to Bishop's ultra-black tie and crisp, navy tuxedo, Vezina Trophy winner Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals kept it cool in a chambray-like unstructured suit. Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano, winner of the NHL Foundation Player Award, mixed textures with layers of black and grey. Forward Matt Martin of the New York Islanders wore a perfectly fitting shiny blue suit, and the new face of NHL 17, forward Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues, looked effortlessly done up in a subtle checkered grey suit and white shirt, sans tie.

"They presented me with four suit and shirt options, and I tried on two," Martin said. "My goal was to stay away from blue because I typically wear a lot of blue, so I tried a checkered grey option first and I liked it. But once I tried on this killer blue, with a peak lapel and just the right amount of sheen, everyone in the room knew that was the one."

"Being a New Yorker now has definitely influenced me to dress outside the box."

P.K. Keeps It Light -- Not to be outdone, defenseman P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens stood out among the mostly darkly-dressed attendees in a custom-made, cream shawl-collar tuxedo. The breast pocket of his jacket included a crest and logo, shouting out his foundation, P.K's Helping Hand, which provides financial assistance to the families of ill children.

Nic Screws is a fashion editor and stylist

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