I have frequently complained here about how the NHL's marketing is weak. The brand just doesn't attract fans the way it should, especially in the US. Some of this is things like advertisements and sponsorships.
But some of the rest is the personalities and personnel. The fact that most players "aren't from around here" doesn't help. There can even (treading lightly here) be a race issue in some cases i think. Especially in large US cities, and especially in the south and west, there are large african american populations - not much there for hockey right now.
But that is not what this post is about.
This is about facial hair.
I love the playoff beard tradition. It is fun and silly and team-building and all of that. But it doesn't help the leagues marketing efforts.
This is what the Niedermayers look like in their team pictures:
But that is not what everyone saw.
Thanks to the playoff beard tradition, everyone saw this:
They look like a couple of mountain men. Not the picture of energy and youth that we want in our professional sports champions.