San Diego Gulls players aren’t buying many razors these days.
“It’s definitely a bonus to be playing this time of year, you get to put the razor away,” Gulls defenseman Andy Welinski said.
Welinksi, of course, is speaking to the tradition of forgoing shaving and letting the facial fur flow freely for the post season – a tradition that originated on the ice.
“Fear the beard! That’s what we say,” said Welinksi.
The American Hockey League (AHL) regular season ended April 13. Since then the Gulls franchise has won two playoff series, so the playoff beards are getting bushy.
The best beard on the team belongs to left winger Luke Gazdic, who has a thick, furry, full, hairy specimen on his face.
“He’s got the caveman look going with that beard, I’m trying to get on his level,” said Gulls center Chase De Leo.
As for Gazdic, he’s not a beard bully, he endorses any and all playoff facial hair, but it’s clear he is proud of his profound beard.
“You can rag on the guys that have stubble, or you can gaze at the ones that are all way out to there past the chin.”
While the hockey playoff beard is fun and embraces tradition, it’s also great for unifying the team.
“It’s definitely a sense of camaraderie, it’s great for team chemistry and the locker room,” said Gazdic.
Gulls Head Coach Dallas Eakins agrees.
“One thing I always appreciated about the playoff beards is that it sends the message you are one,” he said.
The tradition of playoff beards in hockey is not totally clear, but most agree it dates back to the New York Islanders of the early 1980s.