With the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs officially in the books after the Los Angeles Kings' victory in the Final over the New Jersey Devils, beard-growing season in the NHL is over. And as countless playoff beards are being shorn heading into the summer, the annual Beard-a-thon program has enjoyed one of its most successful postseasons yet.
An annual effort that sees fans, celebrities, and NHL players grow their beards in a charitable drive to raise funds for various North American charities, this year's Beard-a-thon raised $520,000 for various causes, bringing the program's total collection up to $1.7 million since launching in 2009.
In all, over 6,000 participants took part in this year's Beard-a-thon, pledging to maintain their playoff beards through their team's runs while collecting donations from friends, family, and fans.
With numerous teams participating in the effort, fans of the New York Rangers led all teams, raising over $98,000 for the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the Rangers' official non-profit charity. One Rangers fan in particular, Lawrence Burian, raised over $22,000 for the foundation by himself, while north of the border, Canadian hockey fans raised over $114,000 for Canada's Heart & Stroke Foundation.
"We are thrilled to have completed the fourth annual year of Beard-a-thon," said John Cimperman, the principal at Cenergy, the marketing firm behind Beard-a-thon. "The playoff beard is a hockey original that brings passionate fans, players and celebrities alike together for one important cause. We look forward to building recognition and momentum for the program in years to come."