Ladies and gentlemen, it’s playoff time. And you know what that means: playoff beards.
Every year, we get the pleasure of seeing some fantastic playoff hockey, accompanied by some very interesting facial hair. But before we move onto this year’s crop of beards, let’s review the five greatest playoff beards from the past ten years.
1. Mike Commodore
Okay, so that’s more than just a beard; that’s some very crazy playoff hair, too. Either way, I couldn’t leave Mike Commodore off this list. That hair is just too ridiculous.
It was so ridiculous, that even the President of the United States, George W. Bush, commented on Commodore’s afro and beard:
“Thank you all for coming. Have a seat. It’s a pretty big deal for a guy that doesn’t know how to ice skate — (laughter) — to welcome the Carolina Hurricanes to the White House. We appreciate you coming. You know, I’m not sure what is prettier, the Stanley Cup, or Mike Commodore’s hair. (Laughter.) A little disappointed you got a haircut. (Laughter.) But, welcome.” – President George W. Bush
Commodore and the rest of the Carolina Hurricanes visited the White House after winning the Stanley Cup back in 2006, and the President was very impressed.
In 2004, Commodore grew an equally impressive beard during the Calgary Flames’ playoff run. After both seasons, this beard-grower shaved off his hair, let people bid on it, and then donated the proceeds to cancer research organizations. See, beards aren’t just for playoff luck.
2. Henrik Zetterberg
As a member of the Detroit Red Wings, Zetterberg has had plenty of time to practice growing post-season facial hair.
The captain of the Red Wings has spent all 10 seasons in the NHL playing in Detroit, and he’s led his team to the playoffs every year. In 2008, Zetterberg and the Wings captured the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career, and he got a chance to show off his famed facial hair.
According to the Detroit Red Wings’ “Beard FAQ,” Zetterberg is even a “good role model for growing a playoff beard.”
3. Scott Hartnell
Currently a member of Columbus Blue Jackets, Scott Hartnell has grown some pretty crazy beards in his time spent in the NHL.
Hartnell made his first playoff appearance back in 2004 with the Nashville Predators, but only had six games to grow a beard. In the following seven seasons, Hartnell reached the post season twice again with Nashville and five times with the Philadelphia Flyers, giving him plenty of time to grow an enviable beard.
In 2014, when the Flyers made the playoffs again, Hartnell, along with one other member of the team’s “Ginger Brigade” died his orange beard black. Nothing like spicing up the playoff beard.
4. Zdeno Chara
The tallest player in the NHL also has one of the best playoff beards. This 6’9″ defenceman for the Boston Bruins has made it to the post-season 11 out of the past 16 seasons he’s spent in the NHL, including a Stanley Cup win in 2011.
Although the Bruins didn’t make it to this year’s playoffs, Zdeno Chara has definitely earned his place on this list. The guy is terrifying enough without any facial hair, but just look at him when he’s growing a Grizzly Adams beard.
That’s one face I really wouldn’t want to mess with.
5. Brent Burns
How do I even begin to describe this beard? Half Chewbacca, half caveman? That’s the most accurate I think I can get with this one.
Like his fellow defenceman Zdeno Chara, Burns and the San Jose Sharks failed to make the playoffs this year, but that certainly didn’t stop him from growing a pretty ridiculous beard. Burns has made the playoffs five times during his NHL career, and has grown an equally crazy beard each time.
Last year, after growing his facial hair for quite some time, Burns shaved his beard and hair for charity, along with many of his teammates. The Sharks Care foundation raised over $15,000 for Defending the Blue Line, the San Francisco Zoo and the Katie Moore Foundation. Amusing and philanthropic: that’s some pretty great facial hair.
Well there you have it. The five greatest beards of the past decade. Who grew it the best? Was there a player that should’ve been included?
Alli covers the Minnesota Wild and has been a contributing writer with THW since August 2014. She is currently a journalism and sports management student at the University of Minnesota. For all of your Minnesota Wild news and updates, follow her on twitter: @allibaker23