The popularity of growing a beard during the playoffs is hitting an all-time high this year.
The pioneers of the playoff beard are widely believed to be The New York Islanders in the 1980.
Islander skaters such as Ken Morrow, Butch Goring, John Tonelli, Clark Gillies, and Gord Lane all grew out black beards. It was said to have bring luck, which it did. The Islanders of the '80s won four consecutive Stanley Cups form 1980-84.
There is only one rule to the playoff beard.
1. Players or fans cannot shave until their team is eliminated from the playoffs or after the final game of the Championship.
However, there is an exception to the rule. A player can shave their beard if things aren't going their way and they want to change their luck.
Since the Islanders first grew playoff beards, growing one has become a staple in nearly every North American hockey league from the NHL, high school teams, NCAA hockey teams, and even minor league affiliates.
The fan base of the playoff team is also encouraged to grow out their beards.
Woman or significant others seem to dislike the playoff beard. Jean-Sebastien Giguere's wife was noted to have hated the beard. I am currently growing one for my Chicago Blackhawks, and there hasn't been a day that goes but were I haven't heard it form my mom, telling me to shave the damn thing.
Despite some hatred for the beard, it still lives on, not only in the hockey world, but now into other sports as well. Most notably, the NBA and NFL.
In the '90s members of the New York Knicks including Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, and Allan Houston grew out playoff beards during their run in the playoffs. Lebron James of the Cavaliers has also sported growing a playoff beard, bringing the beard into the modern age of basketball.
Teammate of James, Zydrunas IIgauskas grew one in 2006, but didn't bring back the beard in the 2007 playoffs because of spousal disapproval. Even professional athletes are at the mercy of their wife.
A popular example of a playoff beard in the NFL was Ben Roethlisberger, during the 2006 NFL playoffs. After the Steelers had won the Super Bowl, Roethlisberger had his beard shaved during his appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman.
Out of all playoff beards I have seen, I have to give my award to best beard to Mike Commodore in 2006. The beard itself is epic, but throw in the red afro and it's a match-made in heaven.
Love it or hate it, the playoff beard is becoming more and more popular every year. Whether it is lucky or not, playoff beards are making professional athletes look like bums and hobos every year.