Among the NHL’s players and fans, there’s a legend of the mystical playoff beard. While this isn’t exclusive to hockey, it sure has changed the face of the sport across the world, signifying the end of another season. As the story goes, a few players from the 1980 New York Islanders began to let their facial hair grow during the playoffs, where they were playing 4 games in 5 nights. Following suit, the rest of the team began to sport some fuzz, and they vowed not to shave until the team won the Stanley Cup. what started as convenience had turned into a bonding experience for the team, reminding them each morning of the task at hand. Slowly, this beard trend caught wind in the NHL. Now, 35 years later, players on most teams are rocking some sort of facial hair. Hockey players feel more rugged and tough when letting the beard grow, but also say that their beards are extremely itchy and irritating. Sounds like they need some beard oil.

Nowadays, almost every player in the postseason tries his best to grow whatever whiskers he can. In 2009 the Beard-A-Thon was created, turning the playoff beard craze into a charitable opportunity. The Beard-a-thon has since raised $3 Million for the participating teams’ individual charities. It allows fans to pledge for their favorite hockey player, fellow fan, or even sign up to grow some stubble themselves. NHL fans can compete as part of their favorite team, or against other teams in the playoffs, creating some friendly competition. If you want to donate, just clickthis link.

Although some playoff beards can become utterly terrible (see Patrick Kane), some playoff beards make fans wonder if that really is Brent Burns, or a lumberjack in a hockey uniform. The NHL playoffs just wouldn’t be the same without long, unkempt beards. They are a beacon of warmer weather, longer days, and last but not least, playoff hockey.

 

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