Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Hello Beardies

Mitch Wheaton may have the Wheat Kings'
best playoff beard.
  They're itchy and scratchy and well worth the trouble.

  Welcome to the world of the playoff beards -- a hockey tradition that's been around for more than three decades.

  "It's just a tradition that we do.  I don't know when it started, but it's just something that you always do," said Brandon defenceman Mitch Wheaton, "I remember my first year playing junior, if a guy shaved you get in trouble so it's just something we grow up doing."

  The tradition of the playoff beard is credited to the New York Islanders in the Stanley Cup dynasty years in the early 1980's, and that influence may have come from Swedish players who followed the lead of tennis player Bjorn Borg, who never shaved during the Wimbledon tournament.

  "I've had my goatee for about four years, just trimming it here and there, but never gone this long without a trim," said Wawanesa product Jordon Thomson, "Not a fan, but you have to do what you have to do."

  Brandon's lengthy playoff run so far this spring gives a true assessment and evaluation of who grows the best facial hair.

  Thomson credits his fellow blueliner Wheaton with having the 'best' playoff beard on this year's club, but Wheaton also gave some props to a pair of his younger teammates.

  "My D partner Kale Clague grows a great beard for a younger guy.  It's already filling in," said Wheaton, "We always joke that we kind of have the same beard, mine is just a little longer.  He, for sure, has a great one and (Stelio Mattheos), for a young guy, has a great beard going as well."

  The Wheat Kings are preparing for the start of the Western Hockey League Final.

  They'll open the Championship series against the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday and Saturday at Westman Communications Group Place.

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