NHL playoffs: Things could get itchy

There’s just something about dynamite facial hair every man respects. Women don’t understand it, and there’s no real reason behind it.

It’s like the popularity of the television show “Glee.” It’s baffling and impossible to explain, but it just is.

Yet another reason why hockey players are the coolest athletes on the planet is the playoff beard. Originated in the 1980s by the New York Islanders, due to playing a handful of games on consecutive nights and not finding time to shave during the playoffs, the idea of the playoff beard is to not shave until your team is eliminated from the playoffs.

Some NHL players have said it’s a reminder when they look in the mirror in the morning of the job they have to do.

As someone whose had decision-making power for less than six months and has already written two stories about playoff beards (SWC’s Zach Huisken and Edgerton/Ellsworth’s Devin Hulstein), it’s safe to say I enjoy the idea.

No man respects facial hair more than the man who can’t grow it. I am that man.

Outside of the fur trail from sideburns to neck where hair gathers for a party, along with some whiskers on the cheeks and under the nose, there’s nothing enjoyable about me not shaving. It was disgusting just writing the previous sentence, let alone living it.

I will say proudly, however, I once ignored the knowledge that not shaving would only create broken roads of hair on my face. I knew it would bring about ridicule and horrible stares from friends, family and strangers.

As a high school sports reporter at the time, I knew parents of athletes would wonder what the fuzzy creature interviewing their son and/or daughter was doing. I knew being face to face with high schoolers who had more prominent facial hair than me would cause me to die a little inside. Considering I covered girls’ badminton (yes, girls’ badminton) during my shaveless streak, I knew there was a good chance the authorities would be called when I attended matches.

It was bold. It was difficult. It was itchy. A badminton player said to me, “Oh, great. I get to get interviewed by the homeless reporter.” My own mother laughed at me and said, “I just don’t understand why it doesn’t reach your chin. No woman will ever love you when you look like that.”

It was a grueling experience.

But I did it. From April 16 until June 9 of 2010, a razor did not touch my face, culminating with the Chicago Blackhawks winning their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

It has now been six days since I’ve shaved and I shall continue allowing my face to be a mockery (insert “It is without facial hair” comment here) until the Blackhawks are eliminated.

Please, parents of high school athletes, do not call the police on the fuzzy guy with the pen, paper and giant camera at your son and/or daughter’s athletic events. People with neck beards have feelings, too. No souls, but we do have feelings.

I encourage you to join in the glory of the playoff beard. I forgot. It requires having a team actually in the playoffs. Sorry, Minnesota.