October 11, 2007 by Tyler  
Filed under Hockey Equipment

Cooperalls Ron FrancisIf you are old enough to remember Cooperalls and you are still a hockey fan, then I apologize for bringing back such traumatic memories of this hideous piece of hockey equipment.

If you are not old enough to remember Cooperalls, then please forget you ever saw this picture of Ron Francis celebrating a goal against Pelle Lindburgh while wearing long green pants during a hockey game.

If you are younger yet, the Green and White uniform adorned with the Whale’s tail ‘W’ was the Hartford Whalers Jersey. Of course the Hartford Whalers franchise is now the Carolina Hurricanes. And, no they didn’t win any Stanley Cups in Hartford. We think it was because of the green uniforms, but that is just our opinion.

NHL Digest usually features a Legend of Hockey on the weekend, but we can’t help but feature the “Legend of the Cooperall” as one of the major miscues of days gone by in the National Hockey League.

I would love to do a feature on the Cooper XL7 hockey helmet because it was simply the worst piece of equipment ever produced. However, We can’t seem to find finally found a picture of one. If anyone has a picture of a Cooper XL7, please let us know. We can’t wait to post an image of that hideous piece of plastic head gear!


29 Comments on "Cooperalls"

  1. Jon Symons on Thu, 16th Nov 2006 3:20 pm 

    You know what’s funny about the Cooperall [yes I'm old enough] is that they were far superior to regular hockey pants. Since the padding part fit to skin rather than floating 4 inches away like the pant in use before and after, it was actually in place when you needed protection, especially in the case of a fall to the tailbone.
    It’s a case of fashion wining out over function, kind of in line with the dangling chin strap on a helment.

  2. Tyler on Thu, 16th Nov 2006 4:04 pm 

    The “girdle” as it was called did fit nicely to the body, but I always felt like it restricted my movement somewhat. I am not sure if it was the look or the functionality that caused the return to the traditional hockey pant.
    You do raise a very good point though.

  3. National Hockey League Digest » The Cooper Xl7 Hockey Helmet on Tue, 21st Nov 2006 8:35 am 

    [...] In a previous post on Cooperalls, I asked readers to help me in finding a picture of the infamous Cooper XL7 Hockey Helmet and, as usual, an NHL Digest reader has come through. [...]

  4. Tsuji on Tue, 5th Dec 2006 6:36 pm 

    I thought the reason the Cooperall experiment was abandoned was because they were too frictionless? The players who were wearing them tended to slide on the ice more when they fell than their sock-wearing counterparts, which resulted in more violent collisions with the boards. They were deemed too dangerous and that’s why the teams using them ultimately gave them up.

  5. Tyler on Tue, 5th Dec 2006 8:07 pm 

    I have never heard that argument before, but it seems logical. It would be a heck of an experiment for a physics class!

  6. Dave Mathieu on Mon, 29th Jan 2007 5:15 pm 

    The early cooperall pants were made of a windbreaker type nylon material and they were to slippery. Highschool players in MN tried them for a season or two. The girdle was definately better fittng for tail bone protection. The were very similar to the officiating pants we have now. Keep your stick on the ice Dave

  7. National Hockey League Digest » Worst Hockey Equipment Roundup! on Sat, 24th Feb 2007 9:42 am 

    [...] Cooperalls [...]

  8. Marc on Sat, 14th Jul 2007 11:26 am 

    I personally still use the Cooperall girdle .. fits me much better than traditional breezers I agree that the long pants had to go though, besides in this day and age they would give the impression of being a roller hockey convert eh? But check .. if you have the girdle and play on several different teams, all you gotta do is have different colour shells to go over them and you’re in team colours for a fraction of what it would cost to have traditional pants in each colour, make sense? But yeah Dave, keep your stick on the ice and your head up in anticipation of a pass from the blue line, you cherry picker !!

    An item I would like to submit for “Worst Hockey Equipment Roundup” are the Easton Donzis elbow pads. Sure they were lightweight, but mobility was next to nothing with them. That’s what kept me off the UQTR team close to 10 years ago! Tabernak!

  9. Ben on Wed, 10th Oct 2007 11:41 am 

    I remember that the Western Hockey League went to Cooperalls for a few seasons, thus leaving some current NHLer’s in compromising pictures. The girdle had its merits as discussed by others on here. After awhile, you could actually buy a short shell for your Cooperalls.

    Wish I had a picture of them, but another company called Flak tried to capture the popularity of Cooperalls by making a pair of hockey pants with long pants that could be zipped off in an instant. I know because I had a pair and they were actually good hockey pants.

    However, they had this wide yellow and white stripe down the sides. Kind of made you a target on the ice.

  10. Berbs on Thu, 11th Oct 2007 2:13 pm 

    I loved the cooperall days….

    When I was playing hockey down south my buddy actually found a pair brand new…I wish the flyers would bring em back!

  11. Zac Kurylyk on Mon, 3rd Dec 2007 3:58 pm 

    I used to play with a guy who wore the cooperalls, but no shell. Not a pretty sight . . .

  12. Tales of life with a girl on the go » Blog Archive » Happy birthday, Adam on Fri, 7th Mar 2008 10:10 pm 

    [...] chasing the puck like a swarm of bees. Adam always waved when he took his turn as goalie. Adam wore Cooperalls when Cooperalls were cool. It’s the sort of traumatic memory your aunt [...]

  13. Zog on Wed, 2nd Apr 2008 5:37 pm 

    I loved them. I even liked the long pants. I taped my shin guards up just like I had socks on. The NHL abandoned them because Zeigler ultimately wanted uniformity in the overall “look” of the league, not because of dangerous sliding. BTW, CCM made the Pro Pac at the same time. Apart from the tan “skin” color (very gross), I liked them better. And the CCM long shell was better than Cooper. I still have a CCM shell that I wear for roller hockey. CCM did the zip-offs first (Ultra Pac), followed by Koho doing another zip off and a girdle before FLAK became a brand.

    There’s my useless history lesson for the day!

  14. Stuart Mackay on Sun, 23rd Nov 2008 12:57 am 

    A criticism of cooperalls was that they were too hot – hotter to wear than normal pants. I tried them and I found this was compensated for adequately by being able to skate better. [Note: that might not be the case for others.] You do slide more with them if you wear the full pants. Of course you could try crazy glue but you might get stuck to someone/something. Just kidding there. Better solution anyway is to use the shell solution and then have socks over your shinpards. Little more complicated getting dressed but it is achievable. I never got cooperalls because the ones I tried were a loaner and I never found any good ones – the used ones for sale seemed like toxic waste. I’ve decided to explore giving them them another shot -I saw some new ones today for C$118 (just the girdle) but I am going to look around. I didn’t price out a shell yet – assume those are relatively cheap.

  15. DOUG MAX on Tue, 27th Jan 2009 8:49 pm 


  16. Gerhard on Mon, 2nd Mar 2009 1:41 pm 

    I love my Cooperalls, and every year as young guys come into our rec team I have to explain what they are. This is my second set, I outgrew my first in the late 80′s, and with a little supplemental padding I can do my low-rent Craig Ludwig shot blocking routine. The tailbone protection is nice and while I am not fleet of foot enough to notice the sliding effect any longer I do remember as a kid having sliding contests and the Cooperall clad players always won.

  17. Mike on Tue, 24th Mar 2009 2:12 am 

    I´v started to use the cooperall in the middle of 80th, and loved them evers since i first put them on.
    I still use my old ones, but now when i´m 40 it´s time to find some new ones, is there enybody who can help me to find a pair. As far as i understand, it semes like it would be easyer to find them in the states or canada.
    They were popular for a couple of years here in sweden and to day i would think there´s just a few that wears them.

  18. Steve on Sat, 1st Aug 2009 1:39 pm 

    I have been wearing Cooperall CG1 (large) for over twenty years and they are great! I need a new set to finish my career, or at least the skin as I can reuse the existing pads.
    Any info greatly appreciated. I would like to avoid the ones advertised in Buenos Aires.


  19. james on Fri, 18th Sep 2009 3:58 pm 

    Does any body know where i can purchace some cooperals?

  20. gorskic (Chris Gorski) on Mon, 21st Sep 2009 8:40 am 

    Twitter Comment

    @nhldigest Cooperalls were what convinced me as a child growing up in CT that the Whalers could never be taken seriously.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  21. docsmooth (Rob A.) on Mon, 21st Sep 2009 8:41 am 

    Twitter Comment

    @nhldigest seriously? Do you miss hockey *that* much? #NHL

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  22. clockity (Aaron Chen) on Mon, 21st Sep 2009 8:42 am 

    Twitter Comment

    @nhldigest The Flyers HAVE to wear them for the Winter Classic. Mutton Chop Sideburns are also a must.

    Posted using Chat Catcher

  23. Robert Smith on Sun, 6th Dec 2009 10:53 pm 

    I still play in city league and I clearly remember the Cooperall, personally I never had any problems with it an dkind of liked them. Which brings me to the quiestion of:

    CXan anyone direct me to where I may be able to purchase a “girdle”?

  24. Robert Smith on Sun, 6th Dec 2009 10:54 pm 

    I am lookin got purchase a ‘girdle”, can anyone help in this regard? New is preferred: Adult medium.

  25. Steve Schwartz on Sun, 24th Jan 2010 6:10 pm 

    I was a big fan of the CCM Pro-Pacs in the ’80s and through college in the early ’90s. At 6’2″ 185 pants just never fit right and by 13 I was getting hurt alot because of the float. Just replaced the Pro-Pacs w/ Tackla TG4000s – awesome fit and mobility is fine. (Bauer and Easton make girdles but I have my preference for the Tackla design w/ no velcro and better padding.)

    Had to order them on-line as none of the larger hockey retailers in Chicago had them in stock; they tell me they are popular w/ the juniors. Seems the full length shells aren’t made anymore, but may consider a roller-hockey shell. Call ‘em ugly or whatever, can’t beat them for simplicity / ease-of-use and a clean look. I’ve found that unless a team has an equipment manager and assistant trainers (DI, AAA or pro), so many players in pant-sock combo’s look like garbage…

  26. Phelan Scanlon on Wed, 28th Jul 2010 10:03 pm 

    Cooperalls are another example of the game surviving in spite of its governors. They were hideous. Looked like a bunch of guys in their jeans; or a team of Italian restaurant waiters skating around trying to take orders at the blue line. Asthetic sensibility is important even in sports: you have to look good! The entire OHA (OHL Jr. A)was forced to wear those wretched long pants. I can remember Steve Smith of the London Knights (later Oilers, Black Hawks, Calgary) telling me that once he fell down he had trouble getting back up.

    The Cooperall farce was derided by everyone I knew as a disaster-change for no good reason.Yet none of the geniuses who ran the NHL could see it! It started me on the road to cynicism re: pro hockey as I am no longer an NHL fan!

    Bring back the IHL!

  27. Michael on Tue, 16th Nov 2010 10:22 am 

    I still wear cooperalls.. happened on this thread by accident. I’ve had to re-stitch mine several times and I don’t think I can do that much longer. But I love playin in them. If anyone can tell me where I can get my hands on another pair it would be greatly appreciated.

  28. Johnny on Mon, 3rd Jan 2011 7:27 pm 

    When I was in atom 1983 ish, I remember parents being mad that I didnt mach the rest of team as I was the only player that didn’t have cooperalls, I was also the only kid with tube blades (my dad had found a brand new pair of daoust national 301′s with the old steel tube blades at an auction sale, lucky me)

    Later that same year the mens senior team in our city bought me all brand new equipment, cooperalls included. Never been so excited!!!!

  29. Stephane Pichette on Thu, 1st Dec 2011 6:57 pm 

    Philadelphia Flyers and Hartford Whalers wore CCM Pro Pacs…not Cooperalls.

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