Growing Out the Old MAiNE


What is hairy, long, and luscious? A beard of course! But not just any beard… a playoff beard! You know that it is the best time of the year when you turn on the television and you find yourself watching the National Hockey League Playoffs. Besides the overwhelming excited of the hard hits, shots, and punches, you also get to see the beautiful playoff beards that the players have on display for us. Playoff beards come in all different shapes, sizes, colors, and forms. Some are beautiful and some are just horrifying… but why do most players have them during the playoffs?


It’s a ritual. A Tradition. A belief. You name it. According to WiseGeek, the playoff beard is a “…superstitious tradition… in which players do not shave their facial hair while competing in postseason play in order to bring their teams luck.” This all started back in 1980 when the almighty New York Islanders started to grow out their beards during the playoffs for good luck (Huguelet 1). They ended up winning the Stanley Cup that year; they continued with their ritual and after three more years of growing out their playoff beards, they found themselves with the Stanley Cup for four years in a row (Huguelet 1). Since the New York Islanders took the crown in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983, the playoff beard tradition has thrived.


34 years later and the playoff beard is still a big deal, not only in hockey, but in many other sports as well. The playoff beard is one of the many sport superstitions that are used in sporting events today. The biggest reason for growing out a playoff beard is too avoid bad luck (A.K.A not losing) (Morrison 1). Michael Jordan is a additional example of a sporting superstition because he always wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform every game for good luck (Morrison 1). For other more interesting information on other sport superstitions, click here.

Other than sports, there have been many other types of superstitions that people believe in. According to Harris: A Nielsen Company, “…one-third of Americans (33%) believe finding and picking up a penny is good luck… one-quarter of Americans (24%) believe in this old wives’ tale… 21% {of people} say they believe that knocking on wood prevents bad luck… 13% of Americans say throwing spilled salt over the left shoulder prevents bad luck…” So, superstitions occur in both sports and in the real world. For more examples of superstitions, click here.

So, do you think that doing superstitious things, such as growing out playoff beards, actually work or is it just a fluke? Just remember, when the hockey playoffs come around again, do not forget to grow your beard!



Works Cited

“Avoid Black Cats? Walk Around Ladders? Are Americans Superstitious?” Http:// Harris: The Nielsen Company, n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Huguelet, M.C., and Heather Bailey. “What Is a Playoff Beard?” WiseGeek. Conjecture, 14 Oct. 2014. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

Morrison, Michael. “24 X 7.” Sports Superstitions. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Oct. 2014.

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