May 10, 2011

Beard-a-thons help fans save face, raise money

Bruins winger Nathan Horton's first playoff beard is in full effect. (Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue of New England Hockey Journal.

For years, fans have been emulating their hockey heroes at home, growing a little facial fuzz during the playoffs.

Now thanks to annual Beard-A-Thons created by a number of teams throughout the league, they can not only share the tradition but also raise money for a good cause.

Fans are able to create an online profile through each team’s website, upload photos of their progress and encourage friends and family members to make a pledge toward their efforts. For those unable to grow a beard, they can create a virtual beard.

The Bruins are in their third year participating in the event and, as of April 28, had raised over $30,000 with the proceeds going toward the Boston Bruins Foundation and One Mission — a childhood cancer foundation dedicated to enhancing the lives of pediatric cancer patients and their families.

The playoff beard also has invaded the press box at TD Garden. John Bishop, the web content manager and beat writer for bostonbruins.com, is participating this season.

“I’ve been having fun with it this year,” said Bishop, who had raised $275 through the first round. “Although I do work for the team, I try to remain as journalistic as possible. … A lot of people urged me to do it this year, and I’m glad I did because I’ve had a lot of fun with it. My family and friends have started to get behind it. I don’t necessarily think of it too much as a playoff beard, although my son tried to pull it off me the other day so I remembered it was there pretty quickly.”

For more information, visit www.beardathon.com/bruins