Long Live the Playoff Beard

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Credit to Ed Mulholland-US Presswire

Spring: Love is in the air. The sun rises, the moon shines, and rain strikes. The birds sing day and night; allergies strike when least expected, and out there you can see a man wearing a hockey shirt with the most hideous beard you have ever seen in your life.

Clearly, no workplace will allow a man to have such a thing on his chin. The beard is so vile, and incredibly disgusting, it tempts a normal human being to go and buy the guy a razor and some shaving cream. It’s not the fact it’s long. It’s the fact that it’s unruly. The beard isn’t even growing right. The left side of the man’s sideburns is longer than the right. Why isn’t it trimmed? Where did it come from?  The answer comes from one sport: hockey.

The tradition of growing out a beard is simple. You start growing it once the playoffs begin. If your team makes the playoffs, grow a beard until your team is eliminated, or wins the Stanley Cup. If your team doesn’t make it, then you don’t grow one. You are not allowed to shave or trim it. Throw away the razors and the clippers! Click here for more rules.

It is a tradition started by hockey players, and has since spread to the fans as well. When the Stanley Cup Finals come, it is a sight of beauty and ugliness. The beards reach their full peaks, and the two best teams are left standing. However, where did it come from?

During the 1980’s, a team from Long Island, known as the New York Islanders, started the tradition of growing a beard during the playoffs. The result: 4 consecutive Stanley Cups! Players like Ken Morrow, Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Clark Gillies, and Gord Lane were all responsible for making the tradition happen.

When the Islanders dynasty fell, it appeared the beard did as well. However, the beard made its return in 1993 to help the Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup, and 1995, to help the New Jersey Devils. The beard has stuck around ever since.

The NHL even decided to have a Beard-A-Thon every year as a way to use the beards for charity. Fans can raise money by growing their beards, and have people show support by donating. Fans can even help raise money for NHL players that are also doing the Beard-A-Thon, such as Dustin Penner (picture above).  At the moment, the Boston Bruins have raised the most of any team, raising $46,582. For more information on the Beard-A-Thon, click here.

There it is, plain and simple. There are some fans that aren’t allowed to grow beards because their jobs won’t allow them to, but they make sacrifices for the good of their hockey teams by growing them anyways. It’s good for the males, but it begs to ask, what tradition is there for the women? At the moment there is no official one, but let’s just hope for everyone’s sake that this doesn’t become one. 

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