Hockey is full of funny traditions; handshake lines, not touching the trophy, and growing tremendous beards during the postseason. Widely credited to the 1980 Islanders dynasty for first starting the trend, playoff beards have spread beyond just hockey and into football, baseball, and even college sports. The trimming of the beard is thought to change the team's luck, prompting players to refrain until after elimination or a championship victory.
Like most traditions in sports, the playoff beard is beloved for a number of reasons. First, the humor. Whether it's comparing Brent Burns to Chewbacca (no longer limited to the postseason) or mocking Sidney Crosby for his lack of beard-growing abilities, there's never a shortage of laughs to be had at the hands of NHL facial hair.
Second is the charity. The popularity of players growing beards during the postseason eventually spread to fans, prompting the formation of the annual beard-a-thon, an NHL-run charity that has raised tens of thousands of dollars since its inception.
Third is the tradition. Every year around this time, we can depend on seeing an abundance of grizzly facial hair on the faces of our favorite players. While some, like the chairman of NBCSN may be opposed to the practice, as fans, we can't get enough and have come to view lumberjack beards as being synonymous with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With just weeks left in the regular season, the postseason and beard season are just around the corner. Be careful out there, kids! (and go Bruins)