10 Weirdest Pre-Game Hockey Superstitions

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Hockey superstitions have been around for years, and they can range from the mundane to the downright bizarre. Before every game, hockey players take part in pre-game superstitions that they believe bring them luck. These superstitions can be as simple as the order in which a player ties their skates or as complex as a set of rituals that must be followed. I could always remember how terrified I was to look in the direction of our goalie. One game playing U18, our goalie was on a cold street and ended up wearing a jersey that he played well in years before, underneath our team jersey. To celebrate these off-the-wall practices, we’ve rounded up the 10 weirdest pre-game hockey superstitions.

The history and significance of superstitions in hockey

Hockey pre-game rituals have been a part of the sport for as long as it has been played. Many of these rituals have developed into full-blown superstitions, believed to bring luck or ward off bad juju. These traditions are not limited to just players, but also coaches, trainers, and fans.

There are several reasons why hockey pre-game rituals and superstitions have become so deeply ingrained in the sport. First, hockey is a physically demanding game that requires intense focus and concentration. Players believe that adhering to a certain routine or superstition helps them mentally prepare for the game and stay in the zone.

Another reason is the belief in luck. Hockey players are known to be a superstitious bunch, and many believe that certain actions or items bring good luck. Whether it’s a lucky piece of clothing or a specific meal before the game, players will do whatever it takes to feel confident and ready to play their best.

In addition to being an individual practice, pre-game rituals can also create a sense of team unity. When everyone on the team participates in the same superstition, it can foster a feeling of camaraderie and boost team morale.

Overall, pre-game rituals and superstitions are deeply ingrained in the culture of hockey. Whether it’s tying skates a certain way or bringing a lucky charm to the game, these traditions are an important part of the game’s history and culture.

The importance of pre-game routines

Hockey pre-game rituals are not just a series of superstitious actions that players do to pass the time. These routines have been developed over time to help players get in the right mindset for the game. Whether it’s tying their skates a certain way or taping their sticks with precision, these rituals help players feel prepared and confident when they step onto the ice.

Pre-game routines also serve as a way for players to mentally prepare for the game ahead. By performing the same actions in the same order before each game, players create a sense of consistency and control that can help them manage pre-game nerves and anxiety. Additionally, these rituals can serve as a way for players to connect with their teammates and feel like they are part of a cohesive team.

For some players, their pre-game rituals are an essential part of their game day routine. Failing to follow through on a certain ritual can throw off their entire game. It’s not uncommon for players to go to great lengths to ensure that their rituals are followed, even if it means arriving at the rink hours before the game to give them enough time to complete their routine.

Overall, pre-game routines are a crucial part of hockey culture, and they serve as a way for players to mentally prepare for the game ahead and feel in control of their performance. Whether it’s tying skates or wearing lucky socks, these rituals provide a sense of comfort and familiarity that can make all the difference when it comes to playing at your best.

Overview of the top 10 weirdest pre-game hockey superstitions

Hockey players are known for their quirky pre-game rituals and superstitions. Some may seem downright odd, but they serve an important purpose in helping athletes focus and mentally prepare for their games. Here are the top 10 weirdest pre-game hockey superstitions:

1. Tying skates a certain way – Some players insist on tying their left skate before their right, or vice versa, to bring good luck.

2. Taping sticks in a specific pattern – Hockey sticks are often taped in intricate patterns, believed to bring luck or improve performance.

3. Wearing lucky clothing or accessories – From lucky underwear to specific socks, players often have certain clothing items that they wear for good luck.

4. Rituals during warm-up – Some players perform certain warm-up drills or routines before a game to help get them in the right mindset.

5. Positioning during the national anthem – Many players have a specific way they stand during the national anthem, whether it’s facing a certain direction or placing their hand on their heart in a particular way.

6. Specific meal or food before games – Some players have a go-to meal or snack they always eat before games, believing it will help them perform their best.

7. Lucky charms or items brought to the game – Whether it’s a certain type of coin, a special keychain, or even a stuffed animal, players often have lucky items they bring with them to games.

8. Talking to their sticks or equipment – Some players talk to their sticks or other equipment, believing it will bring them good luck or help them perform better.

9. Superstitions related to pre-game routines – Whether it’s a specific order of getting dressed or putting on gear, players often have routines they follow to help them feel prepared for the game.

10. Pre-game visualization – Many players visualize themselves making successful plays or scoring goals before a game, helping them mentally prepare for the upcoming match.

While these superstitions may seem strange to outsiders, they serve an important role in helping hockey players feel confident and ready to perform at their best on the ice.

Tying skates a certain way

For some players, tying their skates is not just a practical task, but a vital pre-game ritual. Some players will tie their left skate before their right, while others will make sure their laces are double-knotted or tucked in just the right way. One famous example is former NHL player Ray Bourque, who reportedly tied his skates so tightly that his feet would often go numb during games.

While there may be no logical explanation for these superstitions, they can help players feel more confident and mentally prepared for the game ahead. It’s all about creating a sense of control and consistency, so players can focus on performing at their best on the ice.

It’s important to note, however, that some superstitions can become so ingrained that they actually hinder a player’s performance. For example, if a player is so fixated on tying their skates perfectly that they neglect their warm-up or other essential pre-game tasks, they may not be as physically or mentally prepared as they could be.

Ultimately, the key is finding a balance between routine and flexibility. It’s fine to have certain pre-game rituals, but it’s also important to remain adaptable and open to change. After all, even the most superstitious player knows that sometimes, the game just doesn’t go as planned.

Taping sticks in a specific pattern

One of the most common pre-game hockey superstitions is taping your stick in a specific pattern. Every player has their own preference on how to tape their stick, and some go to extreme lengths to make sure it’s just right before hitting the ice.

For example, some players believe that taping their stick with white tape brings good luck, while others believe that using black tape is the key to success. Some players even go as far as to only use a specific brand of tape or apply a specific number of layers.

One NHL player who takes this superstition seriously is Alex Ovechkin. He tapers his stick with black tape and writes his parents’ initials on the blade before every game. He even went as far as to change his pattern during the playoffs in 2018, which resulted in his first Stanley Cup win.

Taping your stick may seem like a small detail, but for hockey players, it can be the difference between scoring the game-winning goal or missing the net entirely. The pattern and style of the tape can provide a sense of comfort and familiarity for the player, allowing them to focus on their game and perform at their best.

Wearing lucky clothing or accessories

Hockey players have been known to wear certain items of clothing or accessories that they believe bring them good luck. Some players wear the same undershirt, socks, or even underwear to every game, while others may wear a lucky necklace or bracelet. These items become part of a player’s pre-game routine and they believe that without them, they won’t perform as well.

One famous example of a lucky clothing item was Wayne Gretzky’s lucky jockstrap. The Great One wore the same jockstrap throughout his career and believed that it brought him luck. Even when it became threadbare and torn, Gretzky continued to wear it.

Other players have worn lucky hats or jackets that have become part of their superstitions. Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara is known to wear a special jacket that he believes brings him good luck. The jacket is only worn during pre-game warm-ups and is then hung up in his locker during the game.

While wearing lucky clothing or accessories may seem silly to some, for hockey players, these items provide a sense of comfort and familiarity before heading out onto the ice. If it helps them perform better and gives them an extra boost of confidence, then it’s worth it to them to keep up with these superstitions.

Rituals during warm-up

While pre-game superstitions and routines are important for many players, some take it to the next level by performing specific rituals during warm-up. For example, some players will only take a certain number of shots or passes during warm-up, or will go through a specific routine of stretches and exercises.

Others will listen to the same song or playlist every time during warm-up, or will wear specific items of clothing or gear during the warm-up session. Some players may even perform specific rituals off the ice, such as a specific handshake with a teammate or coach.

While these rituals may seem odd to some, they provide a sense of familiarity and comfort for players in an otherwise unpredictable and high-pressure environment. The routines and rituals of warm-up help players to mentally prepare for the game ahead, and can often help to boost confidence and focus.

It’s worth noting, however, that while some players swear by these rituals and believe that they have a direct impact on their performance, others simply do them out of habit or for personal comfort. At the end of the day, each player is unique in their approach to pre-game preparation, and what works for one may not work for another.

Regardless of whether a player has specific rituals during warm-up or not, the most important thing is to find a routine that works for them, and stick with it. Whether it’s tying skates a certain way, listening to a specific song, or simply going through a series of stretches and exercises, finding a pre-game routine that helps to focus and prepare the mind and body can be invaluable for success on the ice.

Positioning during the national anthem

Another pre-game hockey superstition is how players stand during the national anthem. Some players have a specific spot on the ice where they must stand during the anthem. Others will only stand in certain spots in the locker room until the anthem starts and then quickly move to their designated spot on the ice.

Some players believe that standing in a certain spot on the ice during the national anthem can bring them good luck or ward off bad luck. This superstition is taken very seriously by some players, who will get visibly upset if they are not able to stand in their preferred spot.

In addition to the spot on the ice, some players also have a specific way they must stand during the anthem. This could include standing with their hands on their hips, arms crossed, or standing completely still with their hands at their sides.

While some may view these superstitions as strange or unnecessary, they are a part of many players’ pre-game routines and can help them mentally prepare for the game. For some players, the routine and superstitions are just as important as the physical preparation.

Specific meal or food before games

Many hockey players have a specific meal or food that they eat before games for good luck or to boost their performance. It can range from a specific pasta dish to a protein shake to a certain type of sandwich.

For example, Wayne Gretzky famously ate a hot dog before every game he played in. It may seem strange, but Gretzky attributed his success on the ice to the ritual.

Other players have their own unique preferences, like Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron who eats a chicken pesto pasta before every game, or Tampa Bay Lightning forward Ryan Callahan who eats grilled chicken with broccoli and sweet potatoes.

While there may not be scientific evidence to back up the idea that a specific meal can enhance performance, the psychological effect cannot be ignored. If a player believes that a certain food brings them luck or gives them an energy boost, it can give them the confidence they need to perform their best on the ice.

It’s important to note that while pre-game meals can be beneficial, they should also be balanced and provide the necessary nutrients for optimal performance. It’s important to consult with a nutritionist or dietitian to find the best options for individual players.

Overall, whether it’s a hot dog or a plate of pasta, a specific meal before a game can provide a mental edge for players and give them the confidence they need to perform at their best.

Lucky charms or items brought to the game

It’s not uncommon for hockey players to carry a lucky charm or item with them to every game. This can range from a certain piece of jewelry to a lucky penny found on the ground. Some players even have specific rituals they perform with these items before every game, like rubbing them for good luck or saying a prayer.

One famous example is NHL player Patrick Roy, who used to have a lucky loonie (a Canadian dollar coin with a loon on it) sewn into the padding of his goal pads. He claimed it brought him good luck and helped him play better. Another player, Sidney Crosby, reportedly carries a mini hockey stick keychain with him wherever he goes, including on the ice.

These lucky items can also be team-specific. For example, the Washington Capitals’ Alexander Ovechkin is known for his love of “hot laps” around the rink before games, and he always wears the same t-shirt and headphones during his pre-game routine. And in 1994, the New York Rangers famously carried a good luck charm throughout the playoffs – a green rubber troll doll named “Glen”.

Whether they truly bring luck or not, these items provide a sense of comfort and familiarity for players in a high-pressure situation. And if it helps them perform their best on the ice, then why not carry around a lucky charm or two?

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