A playoff beard is the superstitious practice of a National Hockey League player not shaving his beard during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The player stops shaving when his team enters the playoffs and does not shave until his team is eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup. It is believed that the four-time Stanley Cup Champion New York Islanders started the tradition in the 1980s. In recent years, other sports and other players have claimed the playoff beard tradition, but it is, and always will be, a hockey tradition.
Jack Passion says in his beard book, The Facial Hair Handbook, “The NHL playoff beard is a commitment to your team as they play their way to the Stanley Cup. When your team loses, you have to shave. Moral of the story? Losers shave.” We agree.