An Ode to the Playoff Beard

USA TODAY Sports

It's beardy time again! But how do I get to participate?

Urban Dictionary defines the Playoff Beard as:

Playoff Beard (n.):

The hairy result of a superstition turned tradition in the National Hockey League (NHL) by which players of a given team refuse to shave their beards upon making it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That leaves little room for those of us who are hormonally unable to grow facial hair OR cannot be "unkempt" for work. So what does one do to show support for their team when a playoff beard just isn't an option?

The NHL Playoff Beard: A History

The history of the playoff beard dates back to the early 1980’s when the New York Islanders went on to win four consecutive Stanley Cup titles. But yes its true, we can all thank the New York Islanders for the playoff beard. 32 years later the tradition has grown to include all teams, including their fans. For you guys out there who don’t know, the rules (and superstitions) that follow the Playoff beard can be summed up in two simple "rules".

Beard Growth begins the SECOND the Regular season is completed. Some have extended this rule to begin as soon as your team clinches a spot in the first round, but at its beginnings players started off with a clean face the day after the regular season with no shaving, trimming, or other grooming aside from washing in between.

The beard stays till your team wins the Silver Chalice of Stanley OR gets knocked out. As Jay Zawaski of Chicago Now says:

If your team is eliminated, you must ceremonially shave immediately. That night...as the horn sounds. You are not allowed to hang on to it. You lose the game, you lose the beard. For the ceremony, you need all the sad music, drunken tears, and drama you can muster. This should be the most emotionally scarring moment of your life.

I have seen men wear their beards proudly into the playoffs, but what about me? I want in on this tradition. I want to be included so much so that I have set out to find a female version or at least an extreme alternative that I myself can feel the glory that a playoff beard can bring.

Tradition!

To me a playoff beard is a right of passage for every young male hockey fan, a beard mitzvah if you will. A lot of fans grew up on hockey through their dad. As a young boy I am sure it was a great moment to be able to grow a beard with their father come playoff time. Hockey for me is in my blood. I want to pass my passion for it down to my children and see that passion reflected in traditions. So let’s start with the girls. I asked in the GDT during game one what some girls do as an alternative to the playoff beard.

Jstats Girlfriend is painting her nails for the Blues Playoff run.

LuvHockey suggested: Go with not shaving the underarms. The guys will like that as much as we like the scraggly ugly beards.

4everbluz had my favorite of the options given: I put blue steaks in my hair. Boss is not too happy – but I looked at him, shrugged my shoulders and said, "Playoffs Baby! I Bleed Blue"

I have been pondering this conundrum for many years and what it boils down to is a want to participate in all facets of hockey, including showing support for one's team in a manner that most men get to participate in and is often recognizable to other hockey fans. For me, I have painted my fingernails St. Louis Blues colors or worn the same mismatched pair of socks through out each round (Ew I know...). But somehow that just doesn't encapsulate the same thing that a playoff beard has. That thing that is strictly a hockey thing... Anyone can have blue and gold fingernails or wear a blue and gold tie to work every day.

So I throw it back to you the readers, Hockey fans what can we do during the playoffs when we can’t grow a playoff beard for our team?

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