Campus News

The History of the NHL Playoff Beard

By Matt Jakubowski | Posted April 30, 2015

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

Have you ever wondered why NHL players seem to have a lot more facial hair during the playoffs? It was a tradition that allegedly started back in the 1980s with the New York Islanders. The Islanders had won 19 straight playoff series and four Stanley Cups in the early ’80s. It had started off with a couple guys growing their beards out. After a while, more players started doing it and then other teams followed.


Today, every team that makes the playoffs partakes in this tradition. While some players can grow thick massive beards, others can hardly grow anything. Even though some players grow almost nonexistent beards, they partake in the tradition anyway. The playoff beard symbolizes the hardships a team goes through during the playoffs. Not only that, but the thicker the beard, the longer your team has lasted in the playoffs. Most hockey players are superstitious and they feel like shaving their beards before their playoff run is over could mean being eliminated early.


Today, the tradition lives on and you can see a wide variety of beards during the NHL playoffs. The NHL also decided to launch a “Beard-a-Thon” in 2009. This was something fans could sign up for to grow a beard for charity. Since it was started, the NHL has raised over $2 million  for charity. Something that was randomly started in the 1980s has turned into something that has the potential to help out many charities. Will you be growing a playoff beard this year? I know I will be.

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