Do your favorite hockey players look more like toothless lumberjacks than athletes right now? If so, that’s great news. A thick beard on an NHL pro this time of year means his team has made its way through the regular season and is headed into the playoffs to compete for the Stanley Cup — and you can also spot the diehard fans (well, hopefully only the male fans) by their own burly beards worn in support. However, growing an NHL playoff beard has benefits beyond ensuring your team makes it to the Stanley Cup finals — namely, significant savings.
History of the Playoff Beard
Playoff beards are a somewhat recent phenomenon in the history of professional hockey, with the first appearing in the 1980s. Several members of the New York Islanders sported beards during hockey playoffs from 1980 to 1983, subsequently taking home four Stanley Cup titles after winning 19 straight playoff games.
According to GuyManningham.com, Dennis Potvin explained that after playing four games in five nights, the Islanders simply didn’t have time to shave. Of course, not wanting to change anything for fear of ending their streak of success, team members continued to let their beards grow throughout the series and the playoff beard superstition was born.
Today, the tradition for fans is that a beard is grown during the playoff season until the favored team is either eliminated or wins the Stanley Cup, regardless of said beard-grower’s ability to produce abundant and/or attractive facial hair.
Why Shaving Is So Expensive
If you’re rocking a playoff beard this year in support of the Anaheim Ducks or New York Rangers, perhaps you’ve noticed a little extra weight in your wallet. Keeping a clean-shaven face hasn’t always been an expensive endeavor, but it seems the cost of maintaining a clean-cut appearance has crept up overnight. But why?
According to BoomerandEcho.com, Gillette is to blame. You can thank this brand for starting the “more blades = better shave” trend. After the release of the Mach3 razor in 1998, every major competitor began producing its own line of multi-bladed — and more expensive — razors. Even subscription services like Dollar Shave Club that claim to save money don’t actually manage to shave much off the cost of shaving.
The most infuriating part is that the actual razor handle isn’t much money at all; it’s the cartridges (which are supposed to be replaced weekly) that are so costly.
How to Save Money on Shaving After Hockey Playoffs
There is life after hockey playoffs, and you’ll likely be expected to groom yourself accordingly. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save money on shaving:
1. Dry your razor: The theory is that razor blades go dull quickly because of oxidation, and not necessarily use. To lengthen the life of your blades, don’t leave your razor sitting in a moist pool on your bathroom counter — dry the blades after each use (blot, don’t rub!) and store hanging up, if possible.
2. Sharpen blades yourself: Instead of throwing razor blades away when they begin to dull, try sharpening them. One DIY sharpening method commonly used is running the razor (in the opposite direction you would shave) along a pair of blue jeans 10 to 20 times.
3. Switch to a straight razor: You have probably seen one in action in the theaters — a barber on the big screen lathers up his client’s face by brushing on shaving cream, then proceeds to carefully cut away at the stubble with a giant blade. This method of shaving isn’t just for old-timey movies and fancy barber shops. The straight razor might appear intimidating at first, but it provides a much closer and cheaper shave. After an initial investment of $20 to $30 for the actual razor, you can replace blades for around $5 per 100 pack.
However, the best way to save money on shaving might be to forgo the act altogether. In fact, skipping your morning shave for an entire year could easily amount to a savings of $100 to $200, depending on how often you usually replace the blades. Hmm, that’s about the cost of a couple of tickets to a regular season game, isn’t it? Keep your playoff beard year round and you’ll have enough cash saved to be first in line at the box office next season.
So the next time someone looks at your beard in disapproval and calls you “lazy” or a “bum,” kindly explain that you’ve given up shaving in support of your team and your bank account — it’s your duty as a red-blooded, sports-loving, fiscally-responsible American.