NBC Sports Chairman Urges NHL Players to Shave Playoff Beards
"Let's get their faces out there. Let's talk about how young and attractive they are. What model citizens they are. [Hockey players] truly are one of a kind among professional athletes," Mark Lazarus told the Chicago Tribune.
NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus has just one word he wants to relay to NHL players: shave.
Lazarus recently revealed to the Chicago Tribune that he isn't a fan of the NHL tradition of having its players grow playoff beards. The tradition, which has been in place since the 1980s, generally keeps hockey stars from shaving their facial hair until the end of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"The players won't like this, but I wish they all would stop growing beards in the postseason," Lazarus said. "Let's get their faces out there. Let's talk about how young and attractive they are. What model citizens they are. [Hockey players] truly are one of a kind among professional athletes."
He noted that bearded players potentially lose out on opportunities to grow their star power over the course of the season, as the excess facial hair often makes it hard for fans to recognize them. "I know it's a tradition and superstition, but I think (the beards do) hurt recognition," he continued. "They have a great opportunity with more endorsements. Or simply more recognition with fans saying, 'That guy looks like the kid next store,' which many of these guys do. I think that would be a nice thing."
The NBC Sports chairman has gone so far as to lobby NHL officials, the NHL Players Association and individual players to put an end to the tradition and start endorsing clean-shaven faces.
"I know there are some traditions and superstitions that you can’t mess with," Lazarus said. "But this is one tradition I could do without."