Eight Crazy Hockey Superstitions You Didn’t Know
Feb 24, 2015
Sports have a long and rich history of fun and crazy superstitions and hockey is no different.
There are superstitions, traditions, and rituals for nearly every player, most teams, and the game itself. Chances are you have some superstitions of your own already and, as the years go by, you are likely to pick up a few more! After all, even refusing to have superstitions can become a bit of a superstition.
- Sidney Crosby
Sid The Kid is one of the most famous hockey players of the modern era, but like all great sportsman, he has some superstitious tricks up his sleeve to help him win. Crosby doesn’t call his mom on game days because a trio of injuries happened on game days when he called her (busted teeth, a dislocated shoulder and a broken foot). His sticks must be cut to a certain length and taped in a very specific way. If someone touches his sticks, he will fully re-tape the stick to ensure that it performs as it should for him alone.
- Wayne Gretzky
The Great One has a laundry list of hockey superstitions and rituals. When travelling for games, he would refuse to cut his hair because one time that he had his hair cut on the road, the team lost. Gretzky also applied baby powder to his stick blade before games and put on his equipment in a particular order; Left shin pad, left sock, right shin pad, right sock, pants, left skate, right skate, shoulder pads, left elbow pad, right elbow pad, and finally his jersey, with the right side tucked into his pants. During his warm-up, Gretzky would intentionally miss his first shot on net with an extreme right shot. Following his games, he would drink some unusual beverages in a very specific order; a Diet Coke, water, Gatorade, and then another Diet Coke.
- Patrick Roy
Hall of Famer goalie Patrick Roy put a lot of stock by inanimate objects. He used to talk to his goalposts, believing that this helped to ensure that the goalposts were on his side, improving his game. He would also skate to the blue line, where he would crouch and stare at his net, visualizing it shrinking before the game. Similar to Gretzky, Roy also had some rituals involving his gear. Before each game, he would lay out each piece of his equipment on the floor, then dress himself in a particular order. The four-time Stanley Cup winner also stepped over lines on the ice, refusing to skate over them.
- Glenn Hall
We definitely don’t recommend that our goalies adopt Mr. Goalie’s bizarre superstition. The hockey legend took to throwing up before every game to help ease his nerves and keep his cool!
- Detroit Red Wings
One of the most famous superstitions in hockey belongs to the Detroit Red Wings. The Legend of The Octopus, as it has come to be known, says that the tradition began on April 15, 1952. The team was on its Stanley Cup playoff run and two brothers threw octopi onto the ice. At a time when the NHL had just six teams, only eight wins were needed to win the cup, so each of the octopus legs represented a win the cup. The Red Wings went on to win all eight games, and octopi have been a part of the team’s rituals and history ever since!
- The Playoff Beard
Playoff beards are a common part of many players rituals these days, but the New York Islanders are credited with starting it all. Back in the 1980’s the Islanders went on a four year, back-to-back Stanley Cup run with their beards supposedly playing a big part in their success.
- Don’t Touch The Cup!
This particular superstition has never been proven, but it persists to this day… Some players avoid touching their conference trophy (The Prince of Wales Trophy in the Eastern Conference and the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl in the Western Conference). Some players and teams believe that touching (or not touching) the conference trophy will impact their success in the Stanley Cup finals. In reality, teams that touch the trophy win the Stanley Cup about 50% of the time, so it really doesn’t seem to make a difference.
- The Sacred Loonie
The Canadian ice makers hoped to bring a little luck to their countrymen and women when they buried a Loonie under centre ice in Salt Lake City at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Both the Men’s and the Women’s teams went on to bring home Olympic gold at the tournament. The Lucky Loonie was dug up and given to Wayne Gretzky, the team’s executive-director, and it now resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Since then, Canadians have placed loonies at several international competitions and loonies were buried in the foundations of buildings at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
When it comes to playing hockey, a huge part of any player or team’s success is the mentality. Superstitions may seem odd, but if they help you mentally prepare for the game and give you added confidence to perform on the ice, that’s all that matters.