The game of hockey is an old one. Technically, the first recorded indoor ice hockey game was played in the year 1875. That is literally the time of royalty in places of most modern governments we have today. You will notice a bit o’ chivalry in the names of most trophies playoff teams strive to earn (Lord Stanley). The NHL first played within the United States in 1924, when the Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Maroons. Alongside Boston, 5 other teams joined the league (not yet named NHL…but we’re close). This is why you may hear the term “Original Six”.
But that’s enough about boring history. Coming at you are the top 10 hockey playoff superstitions that have developed over the years. Some of these are downright taboos in the fandom world. As a former midwesterner, you did NOT shave anything if you were a hockey fan and your team made it to the playoffs. Sit back and enjoy, and consider yourself enlightened.
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10. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em
Yep, today we consider this quite a disgusting habit. But years back if you lit up those Lucky Strikes, it was a sure-win for your team. Even if it meant you smoked a whole pack each game.
Today, we can adapt that to just about anything; this IS Nevada, you know.
9.Honey, does this smell dirty?
PEEEWWWWW….Whatever you are wearing during that first winning game, you keep on wearing for every subsequent playoff game, typically unwashed. It is thought that if you wash it, the magic will be washed down the drain… right along with your sanity.
8. Find the Spirit in You
For those ole’ English Catholics, you light a candle, go to mass, or even dedicate the whole thing to your team’s win, and maybe hit up confession so that the Hockey Gods can listen to your prayers. In reality, the power of positive thoughts has been proven to bring enlightenment. Maybe not so much religion, but all of us just believin’ in our team (Journey tells us to not stop). Hockey is an inclusive sport, and I’d like to think our wins aren’t necessarily dictated by who we believe in, unless it’s the Sharts…then you’re just plain wrong.
7. Black and Gold all the way, baby!
You don the outfit of choice, but it’s only in your team colors. Got a business meeting that day? Not a problem: all black suit and gold tie. What about that job interview? Knock it out of the park with your sleek black and gold pinstriped pants and VGK lapel pin. Need to scrub in for surgery? There’s VGK scrubs. See, on game days, we KNIGHT UP. That means you must wear team colors, no matter the industry you’re in.
6. Shhh! Don’t Jinx Us!
If you’ve ever mentioned donuts before the end of a game, or said the words “hat trick” when a player only had 2 goals, then you know the backlash that follows. Whether in the playoffs or the regular season, hockey players and fans have made a rule that you don’t speak of these things until they happen, or you might jinx it. Even Marc-Andre Fleury said he doesn’t want to hear the “Donuts!” chant until the game ends and he has earned it. So if you think something exciting like this may happen, keep it to yourself so it actually does!
5. Same Sweater, Different Day
I know we already talked about clothes, but this is different. THIS sweater isn’t for when you get chilly. The word sweater represents your teams’ jersey. You wear the same one, whether it’s away or home, for each subsequent game. For example, if VGK started playing in San Jose, and you wore you’re white sweater there, then after they cheated and you have to come back home for another game, you still wear that same white sweater here at home. Because in playoffs, there is no rationale to anything unless it is IRrational.
4. Drink Up!
Now, this could be fun or dangerous, depending how each period goes. You drink the same beverage, in the same order, at the same times. This includes the likes of Gretzky, and I hear our own Schmidt partakes in this superstition as well. At home, you might take a victory shot of Jameson or perhaps, organic apple juice. Then during the period, you are leisurely drinking your other beverage. You have got to drink the same thing, the same way, for each playoff game.
3. Beards on Men, Ladies, and Babies
It’s amazing what we can do with a crochet hook and some yarn. Now we can make beards for all! This doesn’t require us to have manly hair. But on the off chance you are a dude, don’t shave it. You must be one with the team and players by keeping with this furry tradition.
2. Hands off the goods!
This superstition is probably one of the most heard about and is still very much alive today. It states that no player should EVER touch or hoist the Wales (eastern conference winner) or Campbell (western conference winner) trophies after they have won these respective titles. Because they have not won the Stanley Cup, yet. That is the real goal so touching these just puts bad juju over any chance you have at winning the Cup. You may see the captain pose with it, but typically they will not touch or pick it up. When you see this happen, it can become pin-drop silent in a room full of adults as they watch in disbelief. It’s fun to watch these ceremonies after the games and make a bet on whether the captain touches it or not.
1. Don’t Touch The Cup
This is the longest standing trophy tradition in the world of sports. New Stanley Cups are not made. This one travels from year to year, with the new winners’ names engraved along its circumference each year. This is still prevalent among players today. You never touch the Stanley Cup until your team has rightfully won the cup. Once you have had the honor of winning the Stanley Cup, aka Lord Stanley, then you have all rights to touch, smear it all over you, drink champagne from it, or just cuddle with it while you catch up on Gilmore Girls. Each player gets a “day with the cup”. It’s fun to watch what some players choose to do with it. And others, we just shake and turn our heads in shame.