Snoop Dogg is known for a lot of things. West Coast gansta rap. French braids. An all-consuming love affair with marijuana. Being “Tha Doggfather.” A passion for hockey.
That’s right, Snoop Dogg has been donning NHL gear ever since he first burst onto the music scene in late 1993 with his breakthrough debut album Doggystyle. Snoop (at the time, still called Snoop Doggy Dogg) appeared in the video for one of his defining songs, “Gin and Juice,” looking like a dude way cooler than you with his messy afro, gold chain and custom Penguins jersey.
Hockey and hip-hop rarely go hand in hand, but Snoop Dogg proved otherwise. It is not uncommon for musical acts, especially within hip-hop, to rock a home team jersey on stage, both as a fashion statement, and to warm the audience from the very start of the peformance. But typically, the jerseys feature the name of a prominent NBA or NFL player, or at least a top-tier baseball player. Snoop says he respects the tooth-and-nail attitude of the NHL, and that he can relate to the NHL plight of having to prove your toughness on a daily basis.
Though not afraid to bring out any team’s jersey on a given night, Snoop is a self-professed Anaheim Ducks fan, and even received a lesson in hockey and ice skating from former Ducks captain Chris Pronger while visiting with the Ducks for a 2008 episode of Snoop’s old reality show, “Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood.” Far from a fair-weather fan, Snoop even made sure that the episode was able to teach some hockey history. He sat down with NHL legend Willie O’Ree, known as “Hockey’s Jackie Robinson.” O’Ree broke the color barrier as the first black player in the NHL in 1958, and the two chatted about opening the sport of hockey up to more African-Americans.
Tell me you don’t want to watch more of this:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo4rbIXcPjE. When’s the last time you said that about a show on E!?
I can’t stress how cool it is that even as a 19-year-old gangbanger with everything to prove, coming out of Long Beach County, Snoop still had the confidence to make NHL gear one of his signature styles. The NHL has always been an easy target for “stuff that white people like” jokes (as well as any of the events in the Winter Olympics), but it never mattered to Snoop that the NHL was (and still is) stocked mostly with well-groomed Canadians and Scandinavian behemoths. Snoop doesn’t care that only around 3.1 percent of NHL players in 2013 were African-American.
It’s about the gritty style that hockey players embody. Snoop identifies with that, and far more than your “typical” hockey fan.