Hockey is arguably the most superstition-rich sport in America, and the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans are among the biggest practitioners. Christian Farr reports.
Nothing brings out the weird in hockey quite like a Game 7, but for players and fans of the Chicago Blackhawks, weirdness is part of the game.
Hockey fans are well aware of some superstitions, like playoff beards, where players don't shave while their team is in the postseason (a tradition generally credited to the New York Islanders of the 1980s, who won four straight Stanley Cups); players not touching the Stanley Cup until they’ve won it; and players avoiding touching the conference championship trophies.
The latter of those has actually come in handy for the Blackhawks, as they refused to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl in 2010 and went on to win the Stanley Cup. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Flyers did touch the Prince of Wales Trophy as Eastern Conference Champions and subsequently lost the Cup finals.
Blackhawks players of yore have also gotten in on the act. Goaltender Glenn Hall, who played more than 500 consecutive games for the Hawks (all without a mask) and whose number No. 1 jersey is retired in the United Center rafters, threw up in the locker room before every game and was convinced he would lose if he didn’t.
Fellow Hawks legend Stan Mikita had his own odd game-day ritual, where he would smoke a cigarette in the tunnel of the old Chicago Stadium and flick the still-lit butt over his left shoulder.
Even current Hawks players have their own unique ways of getting prepared for games. According to a piece by Jesse Rogers, Duncan Keith does a “wolf howl” every game day before he begins to get ready. Niklas Hjalmarsson never leaves the ice in warm-ups until the clock hits 0:00.
Forward Patrick Sharp also falls on the superstitious side, putting on headphones and tuning out the din around him before every game. He also likes to carry a tennis ball around with him, although former teammate (and frequent topic of conversation even among his friends on the Hawks) Adam Burish used to fire the ball back at Sharp whenever it would come near him.
Superstitions are so prevalent in hockey that even fans get involved. Nearly everyone has a lucky shirt they wear or a specific chair they have to sit in during the game, but one fan is going to slightly gross extremes to ensure a Blackhawks victory on Wednesday night.
A fan named Shannon was profiled yesterday on the Eric and Kathy Morning Show on 101.9 The Mix. She has been chronicling the adventures of her dog, Ivy, and it just so happens the pair lives in the same neighborhood as Sharp, a frequent contributor to the program. Shannon has said that her dog frequently relieves herself in Sharp’s front yard (although Shannon was quick to point out that she always cleans up after the dog), and when Ivy does the ritual, the Hawks win.
There’s a picture of Ivy on the Eric and Kathy Facebook page, and in case you’re curious, yes, Ivy did “do the deed” Wednesday morning.