Last year, Winnipeg Jets sniper, Patrik Laine rocked the full Menno beard and filled the net across the NHL but has faced a sluggish start since shaving in the off-season.
Laine’s cousin, Kimmo Laine told CIPP – TV in an email statement the loss of Patrik’s beard has caused a riff with his Mennonite fans and family leading to a full shunning.
“Patty was deeply hurt by the decision of his Mennonite fans and family to shun him for shaving his beard,” Kimmo said. “He still loves New Year’s cookies, sunflower seeds and playing crokinole and doesn’t understand why they are making such a big deal over the beard.”
Mennonites from Southern Manitoba are outraged at Laine’s decision to forgo the beard this season and opted to apply one of the harshest forms of discipline they have.
“Shunning is our traditional way of trying to bring one of our wayward sheep back to the fold,” Peter Wiebe, an expert on Mennonite culture explained. “Patrik’s beard loss hurt our community deeply after we had embraced him so lovingly last year. He became one of us, we saw him as family. We hope he responds to this discipline by re-growing his beard and embracing his inner Mennonite.”
Laine refused to comment directly on the impact of the shunning but did say he was struggling to find his game this year and external factors (read shunning) are contributing to his struggles.
The Winnipeg Jets and NHL have noticed a dramatic decrease in ticket sales, television ratings and social media engagement from Mennonite fans worldwide they attribute to the decision to shun Laine.
“Either Patrik will have to start playing better soon or he might be forced to grow the beard back,” Kimmo Laine said. “He might have to score 50 goals to win back the Mennonites but if he grew the beard back he could score 5 goals all year and they’ll be happy.”
Kimmo pointed to how much support the cement handed Ray Neufeld received from Mennonite fans despite being an under-achiever on the score sheet for the first version of the Winnipeg Jets.
“Mennonite people are very loving and forgiving people,” Wiebe said. “We just don’t tolerate disregard to our culture and preferences. Hopefully Patrik will learn his lesson and come back to the fold with a full beard.”
So far, the hockey star from Tampere Finland has maintained the loss of his beard has nothing to do with his lack of production but he has been notably less joyful since his shunning began.
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