Those iconic thick faces are part of playoff legend. It’s become a tradition of many sports in the world today but owes it’s origins to hockey, in particular the New York Islanders.
In the spring of 1980 the Islanders made a push for the cup and in the first round played four games in five days. Likely tired from the battle the previous nights they simply left their usual grooming in the regular season, and there it was, the playoff beards. Denis Potvin is quoted as saying “it was just something that kind of happened.”
Seems rather unromantic or anti-climatic at the least that, that is how the tradition was born. Seems like it should’t have happened at all. In fact it wouldn’t have, had the Islanders not gone on to win the Stanley Cup that year and the two years following it.
Flash forward three decades and professional athletes are still growing them into the post season.
It’s believed that one should not cut or shave their facial hair on the road to a championship. It’s seen as a bonding practice by some and tradition by others. The basic idea is that no one shaves until they win or their out. The act of shaving after losing really just seem like catharsis. Why shave when you can grow it out in the next season? We’re sure you agree.
Like we said, playoff beards have been a thing for some time now and there have been some real beauties over the years. So to round this out we’re going to give a shout out to the ones worth mentioning.
Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks
Lanny McDonald, Calgary Flames