Hockey has long been known as the coolest sport on earth. Some say it is because it is on ice. Others believe it is due to the intensity and overall awesomeness. But perhaps there is another answer.
The facial hair.
While ladies may protest, the playoff beard has become a thing of legend; but hockey’s affinity for follicle aficionados doesn’t apply exclusively to the postseason, nor to just the beard.
From Lanny McDonald’s perfection of the handlebar, to the monstrosity of a mustache belonging to George Parros; hockey has become inseparable from its’ facial hair endowed participants.
It is with that in mind that this list was built. It is by no means comprehensive. Nor does it do justice to the majesty of these facial mains. Still, it provides hope to the legions of aspiring NHLers in Canada and beyond. For as important as accuracy, strength and skill may be; facial hair simply cannot be overlooked.
The “Godfather” of hockey facial hair, no list on the subject is complete without Lanny McDonald. This Hall of Famer’s legendary career was only surpassed by the legend of his facial masterpiece.
This former Calgary captain had flames on his face, as well as his jersey. His skills, and perhaps his mustache, lifted Calgary to Stanley Cup glory in the late 80’s.
While the color of his stache, and his skills may have faded; the luster of his caterpillar has not.
Great beard of Zanon!
Showing no signs of slowing down; this monstrosity is six months in the making.
Perhaps Greg Zanon of the Colorado Avalanche is compensating for his follicle failures elsewhere. Perhaps he is doing it to strike fear into the hearts of the opposition. Perhaps it is for the extra padding and/or to cover up his scars; as Zanon is consistently amongst the league leaders in blocked shots.
But alas we may never know. Zanon has a mysterious and powerful beard, whose mystery is only exceeded by its’ power.
He may be listed third (this list is in no particular order), but Willie Mitchell of the Los Angeles Kings thinks he is number one in beard prowess.
Although he has been cleared by team staff and doctors, Mitchell continues to miss contests. Beard-related issues could be to blame.
Here is a face that only a mother could love.
Straight out of the paleolithic age comes Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers. Unfortunately, this Broad Street Bully is currently out with injury.
Perhaps in lieu of the lockout, he needed more time to get his beard in game shape.
It’s hard to follow Hartnell, but teammate Claude Giroux can certainly try.
If anything, he earns extra points for his scruff matching the color of his jersey.
Taking over for the injured Chris Pronger, the newly-minted captain has big shoes to fill. Though he normally reserves his facial adventures for playoff time, every game is a playoff game in a shortened season.
This flying Frenchman may want to get a head start.
Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks is a man of many facial styles.
From the well maintained playoff beard, to full-on lumber jack, back to golden-locked schoolboy smooth. Buns has tried every shape and size of facial fashion.
Currently, he is sporting what is known as moonshiner chic. Bold strategy.
You can view his full facial follicle evolutionary chain here.
This is the beard that dreams are made of.
One of the greatest defensemen in hockey history, Ray Bourque’s beard had begun to turn grey by the time he joined the Colorado Avalanche.
After two decades of waiting, Bourque was finally able to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup, allowing his playoff beard to share in his triumph.
Often clean-shaven during his time with the Boston Bruins; perhaps his beard deserves some of the credit for him going out a champion.
Longtime tough guy George Parros (currently of the Florida Panthers) has better handlebars than anything ever seen on American Choppers. The enforcer is equally as famous for this beastly stache, as he his for his formidable fisticuffs.
He has rarely been seen without the mustache, save the time he shaved it for charity. It puts fear into the hearts of men, and is the driving force behind his fighting ability.
This Ivy-Leaguer would be nothing without the shrubbery that dons his face.
The always-dapper Henrik Lundqvist backstops the New York Rangers, stopping pucks and women in their tracks.
Residing in fashionable New York, he is always arriving to Madison Square Garden in suits sitting at the pinnacle of style. He even makes stubble look good.
To the delight of female hockey fans, he does have a twin brother currently playing in Sweden. Nothing better than Swedish twins.
While pugnacious may not do the Minnesota Wild forward justice, Cal Clutterbuck’s facial hair certainly does.
He has never backed down from of fight, nor has he met a mustache he didn’t like.
Clutterbuck is consistently crashing into the boards, perhaps when his hockey career is over, he can audition to be Colin Farrell’s stunt-double.
Speaking of stunt doubles, Russell Brand may want to give this goaltender a call. Having been relegated to backup duty, he should have plenty of spare time.
Rick Dipietro of the New York Islanders hasn’t exactly seen things go according to plan since signing a monumental 15-yeal contract. Sustaining more injuries than Tim “The Toolman” Taylor; Dipietro has not played a full season since the contract was signed.
Luckily, the former face of the franchise is still one full of beard-wilderment.
As dynamic as Sidney Crosby is on the ice, facial hair may be the only area where he isn’t quite up to snuff.
The young captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins gets an “A” for effort, as he did try to lead by example during the Pens’ last playoff push; but he may have come up a little short.
It is not his fault he cannot yet grow the appropriate amount of facial hair. Perhaps it will come in time.
After all, they don’t call him “Sid the Kid” for nothing.