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Best Sports Curses When losing streaks span decades, fans’ rational synapses begin to fry. How else can we explain why championship droughts are blamed on curses? Here’s a trio of hexes in hockey, baseball and racing that continue their vexing effects.


Illustration of a skull.

Hex: Black Magic McSorley’s Revenge
Since Montréal won the Stanley Cup in 1993, Canada’s six NHL teams have not been able to take home the hockey grail. Four were left reeling at the altar: Vancouver (’94), Calgary (’04), Edmonton (’06) and Ottawa (’07). The culprit of this karmic comeuppance? Former L.A. Kings defenseman Marty McSorley. McSorley was penalized for having an excessively curved stick blade with 1:45 left on the clock and the Kings up by a goal in Game 2 of the Cup finals in ’93. The Habs capitalized on the ensuing power play and won the game in OT (as well as the following three contests). That kind of momentum shift would bend anybody out of shape.

Hex: Billy Goat Gruff
The last time the Cubs won the World Series was 1908. And after Game 4 of the 1945 Series in Chicago, teary-eyed fans finally found a scapegoat. Billy Sianis, the owner of a nearby tavern, had a pair of tickets and decided to bring his baseball-loving goat along as a genius stunt to promote his establishment. Sianis and his pet were ejected from the stadium, but not before allegedly casting a curse on the Cubs.

Hex: Andretti Indy Angst
The Andretti family has had phenomenal success on the track through three hard-charging generations, but only patriarch Mario has driven into victory lane at the Indianapolis 500, back in 1969. Marco Andretti, Mario’s grandson, finished second in 2006. His pops, Michael, who had come out of retirement to race with his son, finished in third, which is also where Marco placed in 2008. Some speculate the source of the Andretti curse can be tracked back to the celebratory kiss Mario received from car owner Andy Granatelli after that lone Indy 500 win.