Many hockey players tie their ability to do their jobs with the performance of ritualistic activities, or superstitions, prior to or during a game. They engage in these rituals habitually throughout their careers to the wonderment of those of us who watch.
Here are some of the more interesting habits of the past and present when it comes to superstitions…
Wayne Gretzky (HOF Forward): The Great One had an extensive list of rituals and superstitions.
– First, Gretzky refused to get his hair cut on the road (he did once and the team lost).
– Second, he always put his equipment on in the following order: left shin pad, left sock, right shin pad, right sock, pants, left skate, right skate, shoulder pads, left elbow pad, right elbow pad, then the jersey, with the right side tucked into his pants. – Third, his first shot during warm-up was always to the extreme right of the goal.
– Fourth, after warm-up he would return to the dressing room and proceed to drink a Diet Coke, a glass of ice water then a Gatorade…followed by another Diet Coke.
– Fifth, he always put baby powder on the blade of his stick.
Joe Nieuwendyk (Former NHL Forward): He ate two pieces of toast and peanut butter before every game.
Sidney Crosby (Penguins Forward): What is it with the really great players and their laundry lists of superstitions? Here’s what Sid gets up to.
– First, he won’t call his mother on a game day because the last three times he did he got injured (busted teeth, dislocated shoulder and a broken foot).
– Second, once he has taped up his sticks before the game no one can touch them or make like they’re going to. If they do Sid will remove the tape and re-tape the stick.
– Third, if the team is travelling on the bus he will lift his feet and touch glass if they have to cross railroad tracks.
– Fourth, if playing on the road he will only use tape supplied by the home team for his sticks.
Kyle McLaren (Former NHL Defenseman): One game, as a practical joke, McLaren’s teammates switched his normal visor with a yellow tinted one. He didn’t notice the switch as he is color blind! Since he scored the winning goal that game he decided to keep the visor on after being told about it.
Patrick Roy (HOF Goalie): Roy had a number of superstitions during his career.
– First, he would have long conversations with goal posts.
– Second, before each game he would carefully lay out each piece of his equipment on the floor of the locker room and dress himself in a specific order.
– Third, during intermissions he would both juggle a puck and bounce it off the ground.
– Fourth, he would not skate over any line on the ice, stepping over them instead.
– Fifth, before each game he would skates to his blue line, crouch down and stares at his goal in an attempt to visualize the net shrinking.
Ken Dryden (HOF Goalie): Dryden wouldn’t leave the net during warmup until he had made one last save. Teammate Larry Robinson figured this out and started making sure Dryden had an “easy one” if he was having problems making that last save (remember the Habs of the ‘70s were stacked with snipers).
Daniél Briére (Avalanche Forward): Briére rotates between three sticks. When he has a good game with a certain one he “rewards” it with a rest and uses a different one.
Pelle Lindbergh (Former NHL Goalie): Wore the same orange t-shirt under his equipment each game. If it started to fall apart he would have it sewn up, and it was never washed. Ever. In addition, the only thing he would drink during intermissions was a Swedish beverage called ‘Pripps’. Not only did it have to be that drink but he could also only drink it if it had exactly two ice cubes in it, if it was given to him by a specific trainer, and would only take it from the trainer with his right hand.