As we come into the 2015 NHL Playoffs series, we look at some of the traditions of players and fans alike!
The beard is a well know expression of men, to show how manly or warrior like they are. They happen to appear to be on those trying to be more intimidating or is this just making them more fluffy and cute like… this is all up to the eye of the beholder. In years past it was almost always to show the warrior nature of a man and how fice they are. Standing infrount of an opponent with a beard can be quite intimidating, especially if they are 6+ feet high and all padded up on the ice rink.
From Wikipedia, A playoff beard is the superstitious practice of a National Hockey League player not shaving his beard during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The player stops shaving when his team enters the playoffs and does not shave until his team is eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup. The tradition was started in the 1980s by the New York Islanders. The tradition is also practiced by nearly all North American hockey leagues, to include high school leagues and the NCAA hockey teams, as well as minor league affiliates. The tradition has also spread to hockey leagues in Europe and is practiced by many fans as well. According to some observers, one may trim the beard after a loss in an effort to change the team’s luck; Jim Dowd and Roberto Luongo were such practitioners.
<<A bearded Darren McCarty hoisting the Stanley Cup.
It’s not known whether the origins of the practice are purely superstitious. Hall of Famer Denis Potvin says that the Islanders of the 1980s would “play four games in five nights in the first round and it was just something that kind of happened.” The 1980 Islanders included two Swedish players (Stefan Persson and Anders Kallur) so it is possible that Björn Borg‘s custom of not shaving his beard during Wimbledon, which he had been doing for several years by that time, was an influence on the start of the practice in hockey. Some players have said the beard is both a reminder of team unity and a way to get you thinking about the playoffs from the moment you look in the mirror in the morning. The 2009 Red Wings used the slogan “The beard is back” for the final series of their 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs run. They played the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Final that year (won by Pittsburgh) in which most of the players (and the owner of the team, Mario Lemieux) grew beards as well.
In 2009, the Beard-a-thon campaign was launched to encourage fans to grow their own playoff beards for charity. In its first four years, more than 22,000 NHL fans participated in the “Beard-a-thon” and raised over two million dollars for charities.
If you want to join this cause go to https://www.beardathon.com/
Some players in the past unfortunately haven’t been able to grow a beard for the playoffs, instead they do hair styles. A hair style like a mo-hawk or a Mullet…. doesn’t seem to hold the tradition very well, but they sure do try the best they can.
So looking at all the teams that have or will make it too the Playoffs for 2015, its a great question we have….. Who will have the greatest Playoffs beard of 2015???