I’ve never been an overly superstitious person. I have been known to knock on wood from time to time, particularly when I tell people I’ve never been in a car accident. Ironically I just knocked on my desk after I typed that. Nevertheless…not all that superstitious. Besides the knocking on wood thing.
Athletes as a general rule, however, have a multitude of superstitions. They range from broad understandings like playoff beards, avoiding the word “shutout” when you’re goalie is blanking the opposing team, and not saying the words “no-hitter” when a pitcher has one going to more specific ones particular to each player. (Incidentally in college I came home to my roommate holding onto a no-hitter into the 7th inning of his MLB ’99 PlayStation 2 season and congratulated him on the no-hitter he had going. To this day he still blames me for the single he gave up in the 8th.)
Here are some of the oddest superstitions I found from some of our favorite hockey players.
Wayne Gretzky – He would never get a haircut while on the road. Apparently he got his sweet flow trimmed away from home then lost badly. Never again.
Brendan Shanahan – Listened to Madonna on all game days. I would guess that he was merely faking a “superstition” so he didn’t have to explain why he knew all the lyrics to the Like a Prayer album.
Ray Borque – Had to change his gear between every period. Not such a bad thing. But he also would re lace his skates and toss the old laces. Seems like a waste. But his name is on the Cup so what do I know?
Daniel Briere – Always has three sticks taped and ready to go. When he has a good game he rewards the stick by giving it a rest and using another one next game.
Joe Nieuwendyk – He sprinkled baby powder on the blade of his stick because he believed it had magical powers. Too much Dungeons and Dragons for you, Joe.
Sidney Crosby – Will not call his mom on game days. Apparently when he does he gets injured. There are a thousand jokes swirling around in my head right now…but I’m not going to kick a guy while he’s down. Even Sid.
Glen Hall and Darren Pang – Threw up before every game. Every. Single. Game. Pang claimed it made him more agile. Hall just had irritable bowel syndrome. (I totally made that last line up.)
Ed Belfour – Never let anyone touch his equipment. He actually would threaten people if they got too close.
Jocelyn Thibault – Poured water over his head exactly six and a half minutes before every game.
Patrick Roy – He used to talk to his goal posts. I’m not sure if that makes him superstitious or schizophrenic.
Pelle Lindbergh – It comes as no shock to any of us that this list would be heavily populated by goalies. Pelle wore the same shirt under his gear. He never washed it…and would sew it when it ripped. Crazy Swedes.
Obviously there are a ton more…but those were some of my favorites. Enjoy your weekends and, if at all possible, stay away from goalies today. Far away.