The History of the Playoff Beard

The playoff beard in the National Hockey League playoffs is a longstanding tradition. If your team makes it into the playoffs and goes far without being eliminated, you’ll notice the players’ beards grow and grow and continue to grow the farther the team goes without losing. By the time the Stanley Cup Finals come around, you’ll see a bunch of very large beards.

twend354 – Pixabay

Why is this?

The main reason for the playoff beard is to bring good luck. Hockey is very much a sport about superstitions, and players like to stick with what works. So when they’re winning in the playoffs, the beard is kept growing because of that longstanding quote we all know and love; “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Most hockey historians believe the tradition started in Long Island in the early 1980s, with the New York Islanders. It is also believed that the beards were not a planned occurrence. Bob Nystrom, a key player on those Islander teams shared that the teams’ beards just happened organically. It was more of a superstitious thing to NOT shave them.

The voodoo worked in Nystrom and the Islanders’ favor, as they went on to win four Stanley Cups in a row before being knocked off their throne by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1984 Stanley Cup Finals. Their “tradition”; whether they call it that or not, was soon taken up by the Minnesota North Stars, then later by the New Jersey Devils, and it still is used today.

Some players struggle more than others to grow a beard, and who can blame them! It comes naturally after all. For players such as Brent Burns on the San Jose Sharks, or Joe Thornton on the Maple Leafs, it comes easy to them. For others, it takes a lot more “Beard maintenance” just to get a beard growing.

The Last Spike in Craigellachie BC

Every summer, my family takes its yearly vacation up to Revelstoke and Vernon in the Interior of BC. Along the way and up the Coquihalla highway, there are actually quite a few destinations that are rich areas in BC history. One of them is The Last Spike in Craigellachie, which is just 40 minutes outside of Revelstoke.

Unsplash – Tom Barrett

The Last Spike was the ceremonial final spike driven into the Canadian Pacific Railway at approximately 9:22 am on November 7, 1885. The man who finished the job was CPR railway financier Donald Smith, ending a spell of natural disasters and other issues preventing Canada’s first transcontinental railway from begininning.

While the Last Spike signalled the completion of the CPR, it remained a symbol of unity for Canada. However, due to the need to build protective snowsheds in nearby Rogers Pass, trains did not run until June of 1886. At the time, the railway’s completion fulfilled an 1871 commitment made by the Canadian Federal Government to BC that a railway is made joining the pacific province to central Canada.

This promise of a transcontinental railway was a big factor in BC’s decision to join the Canadian Confederation. However, future governments mishandled the project, and by the original deadline of 1881 little of the railway had actually been completed, leading to threats of secession by certain BC politicians. The work was then assigned to a newly incorporated CPR company, which was granted an additional ten years to finish the line, and they did it in five.

Unsplash – Kuchihige Saboten

My dad has worked with Canadian Pacific Railway basically his whole life, and he says that the final spike was so much more than just a spike being driven into the ground. It symbolized the future to come for the company.

If you ever end up visiting the Last Spike, you’ll notice a sign and a large monument commemorating all the hard work that was put in before the completion of the railway, and all the people involved in the entirety of the process. It’s a beautiful spot along your journey of BC to stretch out your legs, maybe have a picnic and take in some history.



Why Hockey is More Than Just a Sport

To the average person who maybe doesn’t know much about the sport of hockey, they would see it as just that, a sport. But to anyone who has played for any sort of extended period of time, you’ll know that there are important lessons, particularly life lessons, that you learn along the way.

Some of these lessons include skills such as hard work, discipline, respect, and teamwork. Discipline is super important on the ice. Being smart when you have the puck on your stick, staying out of the penalty box, and just doing whatever you can to help your team are all factors that tie into discipline. But here’s the awesome part, it factors into what makes a successful human being. Even take teamwork for example; in hockey, you don’t win unless you play as a team, and in life, most jobs will require you to be a good team worker or groupworker of some form.

Samantha Gades – Unsplash

With discipline comes leadership, and this trait is yet another quality that the game of hockey can teach someone, whether it’s being vocal, or letting your play do all the talking. Another important factor is the work you put in in practice. That simple act of hard work is something that can be brought with you into your life. If you want to get something in life, you’ll have to work for it.

For me personally, the main thing that I’ve learned from playing hockey, amongst many others, is the ability to deal with people. Right from my first year playing tyke hockey, up through to my Junior hockey years now, I’ve met so many great people in the sport. You deal with people in many different aspects of hockey, whether it’s meeting with the coaching staff or even just with your teammates in the dressing room. You are always around these different people and after a certain amount of time, the social side of the game becomes a consistent part of your life.

Soerli – Pixabay

I’ve noticed in recent years that I’ve become much better when it comes to talking in general and social skills. I can largely chalk that up to my experiences through my hockey years so far. It’s for these reasons that the game of hockey is so much more than just a sport.

Why COVID is a Good Time to Explore Golf

Throughout this whole pandemic, a lot of activities across the board have been shut down here and there. For all of those people who just want to stay active, it becomes tough because activities that you feel are safe during these times are really hard to come by.

That’s why as an athlete myself, with no hockey games being played and the season eventually getting shut down, I turned to golf. Not only has golf been super fun for me so far through the spring, but it also is a really convenient sport when it comes to the pandemic times we are currently in.

Pexels – Pixabay

How is golf a covid friendly sport you ask?

First of all, golf being played outside is the best thing about it. It makes it quite easy to social distance as nothing about the sport really demands you to be close in proximity to your peers that you play with. It’s a non-contact sport so there really is no need to get up close and personal with anyone. It’s really no surprise at all how busy golf has been this season because a lot of people who have never golfed once before, end up wanting to try it out because they hear how safe it is from a covid standpoint.

At the end of the day, golf is just a great escape from any of your current stresses you may have. Getting out on a golf course, maybe with a couple of buddies, is super relaxing. Also, aside from walking if you don’t have a power cart, it’s not really that physically demanding of a sport.

TheDalleyLama – Pixabay

A course I highly recommend if driving a decent ways doesn’t bother you is Sandpiper in Harrison Hot Springs. It’s a full 18 hole course right alongside Harrison Bay, and the entire bay is viewable on one side of the course. The other great thing about it is that it’s a good course for just about any basic skill level.

Anyways, those of you who already golf know what I’m talking about but I encourage those of you who haven’t yet tried golf to get out, tee off and just have fun with it.


The Experience at Myra-Bellevue Trestle Trail in Kelowna

Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park in Kelowna is a must-see if you’re in the interior of BC. Most notably in the park is the Trestle Trail. The trail is 12 km long one way and it follows a portion of what once was the Kettle Valley Railway. One of the cooler things about the trail is that they allow you to bike it if you wish. Before the start of the trail in the parking lot, they have a bike station that allows rentals….. a little PSA from me… it’s quite expensive so if you do plan on biking here be sure to bring your own bike if you have one.

There are 16 trestles along the way, which if you didn’t know are essentially wooden train bridges that connect between mountains. You’ll notice if you go there that the tracks are gone. This is because in 2003 there was a massive forest fire, damaging all the train tracks and decimating the trees in the valley that you can see along the path.

A view looking over the valley, as you can see the trees are damaged from that 03 forest fire.

The largest of the trestle bridges is the very last one, so if you want to get to it you must walk the entirety of the 12 km!! No need to feel bad if you don’t end up going the whole way though because frankly, we didn’t either. I wish we did, to be honest.

A little fear of height warning for those of you out there, because at some parts of the trail right along the edge it’s quite the steep drop off, I was poking fun at my mum the entire time which was a little mean but she found it funny.

In all seriousness though, I highly recommend this place if you are in the interior, it’s a long drive to get up the mountain to the parking lot but it is entirely worth it. You’ll also get to see some tunnels along the route too!

It seems a little spooky at first because it gets dark in a hurry in the tunnels, but I promise it is fascinating to hear how echoey it gets towards the middle.