STEVENS POINT - Sports superstitions don't always have a well-known origin. That's true of the hockey playoff beards you see every season.
"I don't really know why it's a thing," said UW-Stevens Point senior forward Kyle Sharkey.
But that hasn't stopped hockey players from rolling with it.
"Back when I was playing juniors, it was a lot longer playoff season and things got pretty hairy," said Sharkey.
The UW-Stevens Point hockey team won the Division III national title last year, and they're out to defend their title over the next few weeks.
"We're three wins away from a national title," said Sharkey.
Something that's going to be at all of those games is that historic but questionable facial hair.
"We make fun of some guys' beards," Sharkey said. "Some guys try to grow them; some guys just accept the fact that they can't grow them yet."
For example, forward Joey Haydock.
"I got about a patch on each side but once it grows in a little thicker, it's not really too noticeable," said Haydock.
But sophomore forward Brad Duffin takes the cake.
"It's not something I'm real proud of," said Duffin.
Whether you like his patchy beard or not, he tries.
"Give 110 percent on the growing," said Duffin.
But the chin hair specifically is something he can appreciate.
"I do take pride in my chin flow. I feel like I can grow the chin hair with the best of them," said Duffin.
Patchy or not, he's going with it.
"Once you get up to here, you can see the grand canyon, and then it just goes haywire from there," said Duffin. "It's not a great beard, but it's my beard."
He doesn't know the origin of the playoff beard superstition either. But he does remember when he first recognized the image.
"Ever since I was little, all you see is NHL players hoisting the cup with the big beards, and you just wish you could get that," said Duffin.
The Pointers host Adrian College Saturday night at 7 p.m. in a quarterfinal matchup. The game will be at K.B. Willett Ice Arena in Stevens Point.