By Erin Bradley
Nerves can easily get to a player before a game. There are so many things to worry about like not playing well, being pulled, or being responsible for losing the game. With all this in mind, hockey players can become very superstitious. They create their own rituals and routines that they believe help them perform well and ease their minds, and they get ready for a game. There are many popular superstitions almost every team follows, such as not shaving until you win the cup or until they get knocked out of the playoffs, but in this article we are going to look at some of the interesting superstitions of individual players.
13. Ron Hextall
Hextall would systematically hit the posts with his stick all the time for luck.
12. Daniél Briére
Daniel Briére rotates between the same three sticks. When he has a good game with one he will reward the stick by giving it time to rest and using one of the other two.
11. Ray Ferraro
One day after eating chicken parmesan, Ferraro scored two goals in the game that followed. For two years after, he would only eat chicken Parmesan as his pre-game meal.
10. Karl Alzner
Some people tap their pen or pencil on a desk when they are nervous; Alzner taps his stick exactly 88 times on the ice during the national anthem. Then he continues to draw the outline of a Canadian maple leaf with his stick.
Gardiner was once told by teammate Tom Chorske that he was treating his stick too well and needed to teach it respect by dunking it in the toilet. Gardiner ended up taking Chorske’s advice and ended up pulling out of his slump.
Many people have a favorite childhood object that they like to hold on to into their adult years and Shanahan is no exception. Throughout his career in the professional leagues, he would wear the same shoulder pads he had in his junior hockey days. He was also known for listening to Madonna on game days.
Quintal would not talk to anybody after 1:30 p.m. on game days. He would ignore anyone who called or tried to talk to him. If you have a question for him, you’re going to have to wait until the end of the game to get him to talk to you.
6. Ray Bourque
Ray Bourque who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004, had a habit of changing his shoe laces before every game and even in between periods. According to Hockey Database, Bourque has a total games played of 1,612. This means that Bourque has used at least 4,836 pairs of laces throughout his career.
You know that friend from high school who always asked you for gum? They look like nothing compared to Stephen Lebeau. He would chew between 20 and 25 sticks of gum before a game and throw it out exactly two minutes before opening face-off. Lebeau played a total of 373 games which makes for over 7,460 sticks of gum chewed.
Goaltender, Pelle Lindbergh had a lucky orange shirt that he would never wash. He would wear this shirt for every game and when it became too tattered, would have it sewn up. He also would drink Pripps, a special Swedish drink, with specifically two ice cubes. The drink was only allowed to be in his right hand and was delivered by a specific trainer for each game.
3. Patrick Roy
One of the best goalies ever, Patrick Roy, would often stare at the net and imagine it shrinking. He even went as far as talking to the goal posts. According to an article from the Bleacher Report, Roy had this to say about his superstition,
“I started talking to the goalposts by accident, Roy said. We were playing in Hartford, and I started talking to the goalposts during the anthem. They (the goalposts) helped me, and I played a good game. In overtime a guy took a slap shot and hit the post and we won. Asked what he says to the goalposts, Roy said: I say Come on guys, help me out. Before the game I give them direction. I feel every goalie needs a superstition. The goalposts are always with me. They talk back to me. Some nights they say ‘bing.’ But some nights they have a bad night, too.”
Roy has a few other activities on his list:
- He would not talk to reporters on game days.
- He would not step on red or blue lines.
- He would also lay out his goalie equipment on the locker room floor and put the pieces on in a certain order.
Even when you are as talented as the great Wayne Gretzky, you can still be very superstitious. Gretzky had quite a few traditions he performed before every game including:
- He had a ritual that involved drinking specific drinks in a certain order. He would have a Diet Coke first, next ice water, then a Gatorade and finish off back with a Diet Coke.
- He would also never get a haircut when his team was on the road. One time when he did, the team suffered a devastating loss.
- Even further than that, he had a routine when putting on his jersey. He always put the left side on first and tucked in the right side.
- He would put baby powder on the bottom of his stick for luck.
Sidney Crosby is one of the most superstitious hockey players to ever touch the ice. Unlike most players who only have one or two superstitions, Crosby has a laundry list of activities he both must do and must avoid.
- Crosby will never walk past the visiting team’s locker room before games. He will take a special route around the stadium just to avoid passing their door.
- He will only use the home teams tape on his stick, and no one is allowed to touch it after he tapes it.
- He makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches each game with specific brands of peanut butter and jelly.
- He will not call his mother on game days.
- When his team is on the road and going over railroad tracks, he will lift his feet against the window.
- He is also always second to last in line when going onto the ice (last is always Evgeni Malkin). The two also have a special handshake they do before leaving the locker room.