By Ron Kantowski
Las Vegas Sun
LAS VEGAS – During their five-year existence the Las Vegas Wranglers have found themselves in any number of hairy predicaments.
But none so literal as the one right now.
For the first time, the Wranglers have made it to the third round of the ECHL Kelly Cup playoffs, which means the beards they began growing in homage to playoff hockey tradition when the postseason began three weeks ago have fully sprouted.
More or less.
It’s not a pretty sight.
Wherever you turn, be it on the blue line, at center ice or in the attacking zone, there is stubble. There are whiskers in the crease; unused cans of Edge in the slot. The team barber has been traded to the Florida Everblades for Don Rickles and a bag of hockey pucks.
Playoff beards began to take form — some more slowly than others — in the National Hockey League during the early 1980s. The New York Islanders supposedly are to blame — er, started the tradition. At first, it used to be just a few players. Now, even guys who play air hockey send their razors and Lectric Shave to the penalty box once the puck is dropped in the postseason.