Playoff beards are as much of a staple in the NHL playoffs as the ice is. Watch any game on television and you will be greeted by a mix of beards in a variety of colors decorating the faces of the top stars in the most important games of hockey.
To most fans, this is just another one of the perks of the toughest post season action in sports. Crazy hockey facial hair goes hand in hand with the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup over your head. It creates an unsurpassed environment of testosterone as players of the highest caliber of hockey talent exhaust all their effort, focus, and dedication, solely on winning the prized trophy.
What could be better than all of this post season craziness?
Well, according to NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus, it would be better if the players shaved. “These are the most watched games, and they are all bearded up,” stated NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus to the Chicago Tribune. “Let’s get their faces out there.”
At first glance, the idea does sounds ludicrous, and especially so from a fan standpoint. However, Lazarus is the NBC sports chairman in charge of the current 10 year, $2 billion deal with the NHL and his standpoint is strictly business.
His job is to have the business marketing side of hockey on his mind at all times. “They have a great opportunity with more endorsements. Or simply more cognition with fans saying, ‘That guy looks like the kid next door,’ which many of these guys do. I think that would be a nice thing,” Lazarus concluded.
This is not to say Mark Lazarus is not making a good point. However, this marketing advantage is not worth destroying such a traditional part of the game. The games of the regular season easily outweigh the number of games in the playoffs so that the faces of the NHL can be marketed throughout the season.
Commercials, playing cards, and pictures can be done shaven if a team so desires.
But let’s keep tradition in the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. Let’s keep the playoff beards.
When it comes to tradition, let’s not shave it.
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