NBC Sports chairman thinks NHL players shouldn’t grow playoff beards
NHL players growing beards during the Stanley Cup Playoffs is a time-honored, camaraderie-building hockey tradition. But according to NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus thinks players growing beards is doing a tremendous disservice to them because it makes them less marketable.
“The players won’t like this, but I wish they all would stop growing beards in the postseason,” Lazarus said, via a Chicago Tribune report (paywall). “Let’s get their faces out there. Let’s talk about how young and attractive they are. What model citizens they are. (Hockey players) truly are one of a kind among professional athletes.
“I know it’s a tradition and superstition, but I think (the beards do) hurt recognition. They have a great opportunity with more endorsements. Or simply more recognition 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 apparently has pleaded with league executives, NHLPA representatives and players themselves to do away with the playoff beards. Not shockingly, no one appears to be taking him seriously. Even Lazarus himself admits that his wacky idea at convincing players to stop growing playoff beards has virtually no chance of resonating with anyone with any control over the practice.
“I know there are some traditions and superstitions that you can’t mess with,” he said. “But this is one tradition I could do without.”
He has to be one of the few who can honestly state that opinion with any semblance of seriousness. While the NHL postseason is an entity unto itself, unique in so many ways and spectacularly entertaining, playoff beards are one of those superficial things about the Stanley Cup Playoffs that separates it from postseasons in other leagues. There is little to no reason to mess with it, even if the argument could be made that players appear less wholesome (or “young and attractive” in Lazarus’ words) from a marketing standpoint … which arguably isn’t even the case anyway.
After all, who doesn’t love seeing an adult male rock a beard some teenagers could grow with ease seated on the bench next to their mountain man-looking teammates?