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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Facial fandom for the Buffalo ice heroes

Fear the beard.

The playoffs are in full force, and if the Sabres have anything to say about it, faces will be starting to look a little scruffy around campus.

The Buffalo Sabres, in association with the entire NHL, will be holding its first annual Beard-A-Thon. Fans and players, for the duration of the playoffs, will be growing their beards for a cause. Fans will now be able to put their facial fandom toward a purpose by raising money through pledges.

Participants in the Beard-A-Thon challenge can log onto the website – beardathon.com – and record a photo-journal that chronicles their playoff beard journey. Fans can then raise money and rate their beard (or others') as the best. For the "follicly challenged," fans can participate by pledging money toward friends or Sabres players.

"Sabres fans usually respond extremely well to our programs," said Rich Jureller, the manager of Community Development for the Sabres. "I wouldn't expect the Beard-A-Thon to be any different."

Proceeds will go toward the Sabres Foundation, a charity that enables local non-profits to request money through a grant application process. Money raised through the program will go directly into the community. In the past, the foundation has helped with youth hockey in the city and other children's health initiatives.

Donations are tax-deductible and can either be made in one lump sum or through smaller daily donations.

As of Sunday, nearly $10,000 was raised in the Beard-A-Thon.

"Most of our players will be growing beards during the playoffs," Jureller said. "Fans can sponsor a player on the Beard-A-Thon page."

Top earners in the playoff beard challenge will be able to win autographed Sabres gear and authentic Sabres jerseys.

According to Jureller, the Sabres will also be auctioning five playoff tickets for each game on the NHL auction site. Proceeds will also go directly toward the Sabres Foundation.

The Beard-A-Thon website lists various rules that should be followed in order to avoid completely jinxing the playoff beard aura.

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There are rules for not shaving off the beard until the donor's team is eliminated, but then there are also other rules that cover some gray areas. Goatees and moustaches do not count as playoff beards, but a participant may trim their playoff beard in between rounds. A full list of rules is available to view on the website.

Growing beards during the playoffs is an age-old tradition and many fans on campus will wear their support on their chins.

"It's tradition… it's just the basic idea of luck," said Nick Finnegan, a senior marketing major. "If you shave [your beard] then the chances of your team losing is probably that much greater. If they do lose, people are going to blame it on you."

Many are concerned about the Sabres, as they have yet to win a Stanley Cup for the city of Buffalo. The playoff Beard-A-Thon may just play off of a superstition, but for many the drastic hike in morale will alleviate previous notions of a curse.

Other students hold a more practical view for growing their beards.

"It's just a way to connect with the team," said Mike Battaglia, a senior communications major.

Finnegan and Battaglia have both begun to grow their facial hair.

Regardless of the reason for growing a beard, many fans believe that this is the year. As Northeast division champs, the Sabres are poised to make a long run through the playoffs.

"I have them going the whole way," Finnegan said, "I have to be optimistic about it."

For the big win, it will be completely on the Sabres, but for the Beard-A-Thon to be a success, it will only take a click of the button and a little bit of chin stubble.

E-mail: features@ubspectrum.com


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