East Aurora, NY -- This season, hockey fans across the United States will be sporting their very own playoffs beards. In addition to participating in a great hockey tradition, they will also be raising money for charities across the county.
The Beard-a-thon® program was launched last year when nine NHL clubs raised a combined $350,000 for charity. This season, the goal is to raise $1 million dollars with twelve NHL clubs participating.
Participants in the Beard-a-thon invite family, friends, and business associates to pledge their playoff beards. By receiving pledges, participants promise not to shave until their team wins the Stanley Cup or is eliminated from the playoffs. Fans who are unwilling, or unable, to grow playoffs beards, can also pledge their favorite player, other local celebrities, or build their own beard with the "Build-a-Beard" web application.
Last season, over 8,000 fans nationwide participated in the Beard-a-thon with former NHL player, and current Director of Development for the Boston Bruins Foundation, Bob Sweeney leading all beard growers by raising over $21,000 for charity. Other celebrity beard growers last season included NHL Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and the lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys, Ken Casey.
"The intensity, both on and off the ice, goes to a whole new level in the playoffs. The Beard-a-thon gives fans a chance show their passion and raise money for charity," stated John Cimperman, the Principal of Cenergy, a New York based sports marketing agency that manages the program. Cimperman added, "Last season, the Penguins led all teams in fundraising and also hoisted the Stanley Cup. Coincidence, we think not. It is the power of the beard."
This season's participating clubs are the Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Phoenix Coyotes, and defending Stanley Cup and Beard-athon Champion, Pittsburgh Penguins. A 'just fans' site was also created for fans without a team in the playoffs. Proceeds from this site will benefit Hockey Fights Cancer™, a joint initiative by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association.