Ice hockey’s tradition of growing playoff beards is in full force right now as this year’s battle for the Stanley Cup nears the end. It’s a great, pro-beard tradition that always sparks a lot of interest in and enthusiasm for beard growing. Over the years, professional hockey has been a showcase of some fierce and legendary beards.
Whether the playoff beards help their teams achieve victory remains a subject of debate. What effect do the beards have on the players? A scientific answer to that question ought to be fascinating. After watching game four of the 2021 Stanley Cup finals, a friend commented via email, “…’the fierce beard look’ is in full force. I have a feeling it matters and the players feel more fierce and intimidating on the ice.”
For the players, the camaraderie that comes from growing their beards can give the team a boost. However, it can be a little rough on players who are beard-growth challenged. They deserve a lot of credit and respect for putting up with some ribbing. And I don’t condone ribbing them at all.
For hockey fans, the playoff beard tradition is a can’t-miss part of the fun. It’s a great opportunity for fans to grow their own playoff beards to show support for their favorite teams. This phenomenon has been successfully used to raise money for charities on multiple occasions.
This year Bud Light, an official sponsor of the NHL, has come out in support of playoff beards with a promotion to cut beer prices in US cities that are home to NHL teams. In a clever play on the spelling, the promotion is for “playoff beerds“. The longer a team’s playoff beards grow by advancing in the playoffs, the more money is “shaved” off the price of Bud Light in that team’s hometown. Fans in the US city of the ultimate winner of the Stanley Cup in 2021 will be eligible for a free twelve-pack. That means Tampa, Florida if the Tampa Bay Lightning prevail. However, if the Montreal Canadiens pull off a win, our Canadian friends will have to pay for their own beer.
Regardless of who comes home with the Stanley Cup, playoff beards are definitely a win for the bearded cause.
UPDATE: With a victory in Game 5, the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup for the second time in a row. Congrats to the Lightning and their fans!