All-time strangest NHL game time superstitions
Karen Jouhal, special to ctvbc.ca
Published Saturday, April 16, 2011 2:16PM PDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:29AM PDT
We all know that hockey fans embrace some strict, albeit a bit odd, rituals when the playoffs roll around, but NHL players are also known for being extremely superstitious -- all you have to do is take one look at them and see the fuzzy playoff beards they're growing.
But they aren't only superstitious during the games leading up the Stanley Cup final. Some players follow superstitions throughout the regular season too. So what do they do before they lace up their skates and hit the ice?
CTV Online takes a look at the best superstitions held by current and past NHL players.
The Vancouver Canucks very own Bobby Lu recently said he doesn't like superstitions because they have a way of controlling you if you develop too many.
Even so, it's been said he likes having the same routine on game days. For lunch he makes a little pasta and chicken. Then he takes a nap. When he gets up, he showers and grabs a snack before heading to the rink two hours before game time.
It's also been rumoured that he's superstitious about what goalie mask he wears during a game. He'll even ditch one if it brings him bad luck!
The Great One has confessed to following a number of superstitions. He would never get a haircut while he was on the road because the one time he did, his team lost.
During the warm-up, he would always shoot his first puck wide and off to the right of the goal. Then he would go back to the dressing room and drink a Diet Coke, a glass of ice water, a Gatorade, and another Diet Coke.
Gretzky would always put his equipment on the same way for every game -- left shin pad, left stocking, right shin pad, right stocking. Then pants, left skate, right skate, shoulder pads, elbow pads (first the left, then the right). And finally he'd put on his jersey, with the right side tucked into his pants.
The rituals seemed to work.
Goalies are known to be very superstitious and Roy was no exception.
Roy, who played for the Montreal Canadiens and the Colorado Avalanche, had a number of superstitions, including having conversations with goal posts (we're not joking).
He was quoted as saying: "They are my friends."
Also, during the pre-game, he would skate out to the blue line and stare at the net to envision it shrinking. And before every game started, he would meticulously lay out each piece of his equipment on the locker room floor and dress himself in a specific order.
Hall was called "Mr. Goalie" during his career with the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks, and St. Louis Blues – similar to Gordie Howe's legendary nickname, "Mr. Hockey."
Hall is famously known for having played every single minute of 502 consecutive games, but the superstition he followed is one for the books: he would vomit before every game. And no, he didn't suffer from an eating disorder.
Rather, his nerves always got the best of him and when he would pump himself up for a game, he would get sick to his stomach. Eventually, it got to the point where he felt that he had to throw up before every game to keep winning. Talk about dedication!
Labelled as one of the most feared scorers during his time with the Pittsburg Penguins, with whom he won two consecutive Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992, Jagr had a rather cute superstition. The night before every game, he liked to have milk and cookies to calm his nerves.
Sid the Kid has a laundry list of superstitions. First, he won't call his dear old mom on a game day because on more than one occasion when he's called her in the past he's gotten injured.
If his team is travelling on a bus, he will always lift his feet and touch glass if they cross railroad tracks (because who doesn't do that, right?).
And if he's playing on the road, Crosby will only use tape supplied by the home team for his sticks. The list could go on forever, as many consider him to be the most superstitious player currently in the league.
The Washington Capitals defenceman actually recognizes that his superstitions are strange and in the past he's said that he wanted to break them. We're not sure if he's reached that goal yet, but what we do know is that he's known to tap his stick 88 times during the national anthem and trace the outline of the Canadian maple leaf in sync with the music.
Why the Canadian maple leaf, you ask? Because he hails from Burnaby, B.C.
Some guys turn to the big guy in the sky for help. This retired NHL goalie would make a cross out of tape and stick it to his locker before every game.
It's rumoured that this former NHL hockey player would only wear the shoulder pads he wore while playing junior hockey. What's even weirder? Apparently he would always listen to Madonna on game days. Who knew the Material Girl was so popular in hockey?
How could we end this list without mentioning someone on the enemy team? According to players on the team, their most superstitious teammate is Brent Seabrook.
Patrick Sharp has said he's not just a little superstitious -- he's "a lot" superstitious and it's difficult to deal with all his pre-game rituals. In 2009 he said: "I roomed with him for three road trips, and I had to get out. Brent is one of my best friends. I love him to death. I just can't live with him."
So what exactly does Seabrook do? Most of his superstitions (he prefers to refer to them as habits) involve eating and sleeping regimens.
And he mentally prepares for each game by reviewing nine words over and over in his head. What are those nine words? He won't tell anyone but Blackhawks Mental Skills Coach James Gary.
That's okay though, because we only have one word for him and his teammates: REVENGE!