While the Wild opens the 2013 NHL Playoffs in Chicago, back home in Saint Paul the Xcel Energy Center was rocking with playoff fever Tuesday.
Xcel Energy Center's Gate 1 Lobby was transformed into a retro barbershop complete with a barbershop quartet, as the Minnesota Wild hosted a Shave-Off for their Beard-A-Thon campaign. To get things started the quartet sang the National Anthem and then proceeded to serenade the gentlemen who were having their beards cut off.
The Beard-A-Thon campaign began in 2009 to encourage hockey fans to grow their own playoff beards for charity. Since its creation, the Beard-A-Thon has raised over 1 million dollars for NHL charities. The Wild's will help benefit the Minnesota Wild Foundation. Professionals from Diffley Barbers, Heimie's Haberdashery, Lyn-Lake Barbershop, Schmidty's Sports Barbers and Winston's Barbershop all came in to help.
Playoff beards are something that has been around for years within professional hockey although the precise origin is unknown.
One of the first participants was former Minnesota Wild captain, Wes Walz. Walz, who now works as an analyst for Fox Sports North came in sporting a few days scruff on his normally clean-shaven face. For the next half hour, Walz was relaxing in a chair while his facial hair was shorn.
Afterwards he spoke to the media.
"That shave took 35 minutes, I usually get mine done in 35 seconds." Walz joked. "I'm not sure my face is going to have anything to do with what happens on the ice, but its for a good cause."
"Hopefully we'll see them in two months with the Stanley Cup to come in and shave again," Walz continued. "I was never a superstitious guy, [playoff beards] became a superstition as far as hockey players are concerned and its grown over the years, I actually shaved during the playoffs in '03."
Also joining the high number of fans for the Shave-Off were members of the Minnesota Beard and Mustache Club.
One member who made quite the impression was Tim Meyer.
Meyer came in sporting a long and flowing beard, something one might see on Duck Dynasty. He claimed to have not had a full shave since 1979, and this was his very first time getting shaved by a professional barber.
Trimming his beard was something he did only once per year, but was motivated by the Beard-A-Thon cause to sacrifice his facial hair and reveal a clean-shaven face for the first time in almost 35 years.
"The shave wasn't bad it was the 14 cameras that made me a little apprehensive," Meyer said laughing. "It's amazing what a little hair can do."
As for his first reaction at seeing his bare face?
"Scared." Meyer said. "I'm not used to that much skin, I'm growing a new beard starting today."