The NHL is in a class of its own when it comes to rituals and traditions. From simple hand shakes to something much more outrageous like tossing octopus onto the ice, here are our favourite hockey traditions!
1. A Day with the Cup
There’s a running tradition that every player on the championship-winning team gets to spend one day with the infamous Stanley Cup. Colorado Avalanche player Sylvain Lefebrve baptized his first child in the trophy and Carolina Hurricanes player Doug Weight filled the Cup with a giant ice cream sundae!
2. Tapping the Goalie’s Pads
Before the start of a game, its tradition for players skate past their goalie and tap his pads for good luck and support.
3. The Hat Trick
When a player scores three goals in one game, hockey fans have a special tradition: throwing their hats onto the ice! The tradition originated from Canadian store Henri Henri, a family business that rewarded players who scored three goals or more in one game with a free hat – later referred to as the “Hat Trick”.
4. The Legend of the Octopus
In 1952, the Detroit Red Wings needed to win eight games to win the Stanley Cup. Brothers Pete and Jerry Cusimano tossed an octopus onto the ice at Olympia Stadium – eight tentacles to represent eight wins. The team went onto win that year, and the tradition lived on!
5. Engraved Names
All members of the winning team (players, coaches, staff) get their names engraved on the Stanley Cup. It takes 13 years to fill a ring on the Cup! When a ring is filled, an older ring is removed from the top and is then displayed at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
6. Playoff Beards
Uniting players and fans alike, both parties ditch their razors for as long as their team participates in the playoffs.
Handshakes are an important tradition that separates the NHL from other sports. Despite the blood, sweat and tears shed during the game, both teams are willing to line up and look each other in the eye to acknowledge that they gave it all they had.
8. Goalies First
During the pre-game skate, it’s easy to tell who the starting goalie will be based on this tradition. The starting goalie will always be the first player to step onto the ice!
9. Don’t Touch the Cup…
It’s NHL tradition: you can’t touch the Stanley Cup until you win it!
10. …And, No Stepping on the Logo
There’s a widely accepted tradition that nobody should walk over or step on the team’s logo in the middle of their locker room.