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Happy New Year to the Most Superstitious Sport: Hockey!

While welcoming in 2024, you or others you know might have practiced some of your favorite superstitions to prepare for a successful and prosperous year. Hockey players do the same…but to win their games. To that we say, “Happy New Year” to the world of hockey and all the superstitions that come with it! Here are five of the most memorable superstitions in hockey.

Photo courtesy of @NHLFlames / X

The Playoff Beard

It all started in the eighties, when the New York Islanders won four straight championships. The idea is, if everything is working out for you, change nothing! For many sports, especially hockey, this includes shaving. Teams have all agreed on what the rules of their playoff beards look like, few allowing players a small trim while others forbid touching the lucky beards at all. The tradition has become something many fans look forward to during playoff season, with some betting on which player can grow the longest beard to others joining in and growing one themselves. 

Gear Routines

It might not seem like a true superstition, but the way a player puts on their gear could affect their entire game. Some say you get used to putting on your uniform a certain way and it just sticks, that it is not really that important or game-altering. Wayne Gretzky would say otherwise. The Great One’s perfect equipment routine went left shin pad, left sock, right shin pad, right sock, pants, left skate, right skate, shoulder pads, left elbow pad, right elbow pad, jersey. Other players are less specific, putting their gear on one side at a time, taping their sticks a certain way, or not allowing anyone to touch their equipment before a game. 

Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports

Colored Visors

Kyle McLaren might not have been the only hockey player to wear a tinted visor, but he sure did make a superstition out of it. It all started as a prank from his teammates after they added a yellow visor to his helmet, knowing he was colorblind and would have no way of finding out. He scored the winning goal that night. McLaren made a habit of wearing the colored visor as it made him known to fans and even a better player. He said the yellow tint took the glare off the ice and helped him see clearer during games. He went on to win numerous games with his yellow visor and no doubt inspired many to do the same.

Necessary Precautions

Sidney Crosby has had some major injuries that all have a common denominator: interacting with his sister or mother. Crosby’s sister Taylor has shared that the few times she or their mom had simply crossed his path resulted in two broken legs, a dislocated shoulder and a concussion. Since then Crosby has stayed put on game days, avoiding them at all costs in hopes of a healthy and victorious game. 

Photo courtesy of Detroit Free Press

Red Wings Octopus

Back when the National Hockey League only consisted of the “Original Six,” (Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks) Red Wings fans developed a superstition that throwing octopuses on their home ice would win the team the Stanley Cup. Two brothers hurled an octopus on the ice, with its eight tentacles representing the eight wins left for the Cup. As years went on the superstition’s popularity grew, as fans brought two octopuses to throw when the NHL grew and required double the wins. The superstition spread to other teams including catfish for the Nashville Predators, Alberta steaks for the Edmonton Oilers and even small sharks for the San Jose Sharks. 

Edited by Raegan Verhoff

Content created by Josephine Muller

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