The 10 Weirdest Superstitions of NHL Players

Tom Urtz Jr.@@TomUrtzJrContributor ISeptember 7, 2013

The 10 Weirdest Superstitions of NHL Players

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    Throughout the history of the NHL, there have been dozens of wacky and zany superstitions. Wayne Gretzky liked to enjoy his beverages in a precise order. Hall of Famer Ray Bourque enjoyed changing the laces of his skates and Glenn Hall would purge himself before the beginning of each game.

    These superstitions were repeated for whatever reason.

    Let's take a look at the 10 weirdest superstitions of NHL players.

Ray Bourque and His Many Pairs of Laces

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    Ray Bourque is an NHL legend, and a defender that had an amazing career full of memorable accolades. He also had an interesting superstition that was a little outrageous.

    The Hall of Fame blueliner would change his laces before every game, and between each period.  Bourque played in 1,826 total games in his career, so that means he went through at least 5,478 pairs of laces.

    There was obviously a method to his madness, because he ended his career on top of the world.

Mr. Goalie's "Cleansing" Ritual

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    Glenn Hall was known throughout his career by the moniker "Mr. Goalie," and he had one of the strangest rituals. Before each and every game, Hall would induce vomiting while in the locker room to ease his nerves.

    Hall finished his career with 407 wins, multiple Vezina Trophies and two Stanley Cups, so maybe vomiting before every game did in fact help him remain calm and collected.

Wayne Gretzky's Beverage Ritual

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    This superstition is probably one of the most well-known involving Wayne Gretzky

    Gretzky was a creature of habit, and he had a superstition that involved drinking the same beverages between periods. He also would repeat the order of consumption each time he needed to quench his thirst.

    The Great One would drink a Diet Coke, an ice water, a Gatorade and a second Diet Coke before getting back onto the ice for the next period. It certainly is a unique way to consume beverages, but it obviously worked for Gretzky.

Stan Mikita's Good Luck Smoke

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    Throughout his career, Stan Mikita had a strange routine that he repeated to bring him luck. During the course of a game, Mikita smoked a cigarette between each period, and he would toss the butt over his left shoulder when he was finished.

    There was no rhyme or reason for this, but it appears that it worked for the Hall of Fame forward.

The New York Islanders and a Bag of Elephant Dung

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    If you ever have some free time, a great hockey book to read is, The Greatest Hockey Stories Ever Told: The Finest Writers on Ice. The book documents some of the NHL's strangest superstitions, one of which involves the New York Islanders and a bag of elephant dung.

    Throughout the 1975 playoffs, the Islanders upset the Pittsburgh Penguins after trailing 3-0 at the start of the series. During the Islanders' previous series against the New York Rangers, the team carried a bag of elephant dung for good luck. 

    During the time, the circus was in town at Madison Square Garden, and somehow the gag turned into a superstitious good luck charm.

Patrick Roy Talked to His Goal Posts

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    Patrick Roy had a Hall of Fame career in which he won four Stanley Cups and three Conn Smythe Trophies. However, it would seem that Roy didn't do it alone, because he had some help from his "friends." 

    Roy had the zany superstition of chatting up the iron bars that he stood between each and every game, and he felt that it helped his game.

    During the Stanley Cup Final in 1986, Roy opened up about what he talks about with his friends.

    I started talking to the goalposts by accident, Roy said. We were playing in Hartford, and I started talking to the goalposts during the anthem.

    They (the goalposts) helped me, and I played a good game. In overtime a guy took a slap shot and hit the post and we won.

    Asked what he says to the goalposts, Roy said: I say Come on guys, help me out. Before the game I give them direction.

    I feel every goalie needs a superstition. The goalposts are always with me. They talk back to me. Some nights they say 'bing.' But some nights they have a bad night, too.

    As crazy as it may sound, the superstition was very successful for Roy, and to this day other goaltenders have adopted the superstition.

Sidney Crosby's Many Superstitions

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    Sidney Crosby is one of the best players in the world, and he has many different superstitions that include the taping of his sticks and how he enters the arena for home games.

    HBO's 24/7 captured Sid the Kid's idiosyncrasies in great detail in the video above, and I guess you can't knock them because they seem to work like a charm. 

Not Touching Conference Trophies or Stanley Cup

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    It is hard to understand why players avoid touching the Stanley Cup and their respective conference's trophy. There is no proof that touching or not touching the trophies help a team win a championship, but it is a crazy belief that is valued a great deal. 

    Numerous players have had success by touching or not touching, and one day this superstition will be history.

Joe Niewendyk and His Sticks

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    Another good hockey book to read in your spare time is Historical Dictionary of Ice Hockey by Laurel Zeisler. The book has a number of great stories and facts about NHL history. One of the most interesting and peculiar factoids from the book involves Joe Nieuwendyk.

    The Hall of Famer had a few interesting traditions that he followed religiously throughout his career.

    One of these traditions included Nieuwendyk putting baby powder on his sticks. He felt that this baby-powder treatment would give him luck and the ability to score more goals.

Luc Robitaille Likes to Tape His Sticks in a Certain Way

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    Towards the end of the March 6 edition of the Marek vs. Wyshynski podcast, Jeff Marek asked if Luc Robitaille had any superstitions during his career.

    The Hall of Fame winger replied that he had a habit of taping his sticks with black and white tape before each and every game. It was something that he started doing for no reason, and the routine just stuck.