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NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE INITIATION RITE

HOCKEY INITIATION IS A HAIRY SCENE. TRADITIONALLY, VETERAN
PLAYERS HOLD A ROOKIE DOWN, WHIP OUT A RAZOR BLADE AND SCRAPE THE
HAIR FROM VARIOUS PARTS OF HIS BODY.
USUALLY, THE HAIR REMOVED IS FROM THE CHEST OR OTHER, MORE PRIVATE
LOCATIONS USUALLY COVERED BY CLOTHING. BUT SOMETIMES IT'S MORE
VISIBLE. PUBLIC RELATIONS DIRECTOR AL COATES SAYS HIS MINOR LEAGUE
TEAMMATES ONCE TRIMMED OFF ONE OF HIS EYEBROWS. AND THE RECENT
TREND, PERHAPS A BACKLASH CREATED BY MODERN, MALE HAIRSTYLES, IS TO
CHOP HAIR FROM HEADS OF PLAYERS.
FOR DETROIT RED WINGS' ROOKIES MIKE FOLIGNO AND GLENN HICKS, THE
HAIRCUTS TOOK PLACE IN THE SHOWER AREA OF THE TEAM LOCKER ROOM,
LEAVING FOLIGNO WITH A SKULL THAT LOOKS LIKE THE ROUGH OF A
LOW-BUDGET GOLF COURSE AND LEAVING HICKS LOOKING LIKE A HARE KRISHNA
WITHOUT THE PONY TAIL.
"YOU KNOW, POLONICH, HE'S THE INSTIGATOR," SAID COACH BOBBY KROMM,
WHO IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRACTICE BUT WORRIED ABOUT IT GETTING OUT
OF CONTROL. HE DESCRIBED THE WAY IT HAPPENS.
"POLONICH IS NOT THE CUTEST-LOOKING GUY IN THE WORLD, YOU KNOW,
WITH HIS NOSE ALL OUT," KRO
SAID. "AND HE GETS THE BLEEPING LITTL
DUNCE HAT OVER HIS HEAD, WITH HIS BLEEPING TASSLE ON THE BACK, AND
HE'S WEARING ONE OF THESE WHITE BLEEPING APRONS, WITH BLOOD AND MEAT
AND EVERYTHING ON IT.
"AND HE'S GOT ALL THE INGREDIENTS. HE LOOKS LIKE A REAL LITTLE
BLEEPING BUTCHER. AND PERRY MILLER COMES WITH AN APRON AND A MASK
AND A HAMMER AND A KNIFE AND A HACKSAW."
THE ROUTINE THAT FOLLOWS IS SIMILAR TO A SURGICAL PREP AND IT
LEAVES THE LOCKER ROOM A MESS. OFTEN, THE PLAYER IS TRICKED INTO AN
AMBUSH. POLONICH WHO RECEIVED A MOHAWK HAIRCUT AS A JUNIOR, WAS
INITIATED WITH THE WINGS IN 1975 AFTER WALT MCKECKNIE CHALLENGED HIM
TO A WRESTLING MATCH.
AFTER MCKECHNIE PINNED POLONICH HE GAVE EVERYBODY THE SIGNAL.
BUGSY WATSON WAS THE GUY THAT DID IT. AS THE BUGSY WATSON OF HIS
ERA, POLONICH LAST WEEK GAVE THE SIGNAL FOR TEAMMATES TO OVERPOWER
FOLIGNO AND BIND HIM WITH A DOZEN ROLLS OF TAPE.

Submitter comment: QUOTED FROM A STORY BY DETROIT FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER JOE LAPOINTE

Where learned: MICHIGAN ; DETROIT

James Callow Keyword(s): SPORTS

Subject headings: CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing

Date learned: 11-14-1979

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