George Parros has lost the hair but his fists are still flying.
The Anaheim Ducks tough guy, second in the NHL with 11 fighting majors, had his trademark long locks chopped off last weekend in what has become a yearly tradition.
For the fifth year in a row he donated the hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization south of the border that provides hair pieces to financially disadvantaged children experiencing medical hair loss. Most of the time it’s children battling cancer.
Just further proof that the NHL’s toughest customers are often the ones with the biggest hearts.
“When I got out of college (Princeton) five years ago I grew my hair out and eventually it was time to cut it,” recalls Parros. “I heard about the charity and thought if my hair was coming off I might as well put it to a good cause. So it kind of took off from there.”
This year it became an event as the Ducks organized the George Parros Cut for the Kids last Saturday at the Newport Sports Museum.
“My girlfriend just cut it at home last year and I just sent the hair myself,” Parros told The Canadian Press on Thursday. “But word was getting out about what I was doing and the organization wanted to get the fans involved. And it was a good thing because there was 10 people at the event who cut their own hair as well.
“Next year we can maybe do it on an even bigger scale, too.”
Parros was particularly moved by an 11-year-old Ducks fan who donated his hair.
“His dad was going through cancer and the kid grew out his hair to donate it,” said Parros. “That was pretty cool to see because his father was obviously touched.”
Even though the long hair is gone, Parros still has his trademark moustache. There are limits, after all.
“That’s not going to happen any time soon,” he said with a laugh.
And unlike Samson, Parros didn’t lose his strength when his hair was cut. He fought Rob Davison of the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night and Scott Parker of the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday.
He has noticed one difference, however.
“I get a lot more jersey burn on my neck, there’s no more hair to block it,” said Parros. “The jersey rips into my skin pretty good.
“This year is the shortest I’ve ever cut it.”
Parros isn’t alone in dropping the gloves this season. Fighting majors are up close to 20 per cent at this point compared to last year – 513 fighting majors through Wednesday night’s games compared to 419 through the same number of games, 501, last year.
“Someone might say that since our team led the league in fighting majors last year and we won the Stanley Cup that some teams are trying to take a page out of our book,” said Parros. “But I don’t think that’s it. I just think it’s all circumstance and different events that happen through the course of the game that causes fights.
“I don’t think you can attribute to any one thing.”
Once again, the Ducks lead the NHL in fighting majors with 33, three ahead of the Calgary Flames.
“It’s just the type of group we have, there’s guys that are always willing to do it on our team,” said Parros. “We play a hard game, a gritty game, and it’s going to happen. That’s just the makeup of our team.”
Parros lists his second fight of the year as the highlight so far – an Oct. 14 tussle with Minnesota Wild giant Derek Boogaard.
“The big emotional one was against Boogard,” said Parros. “It was the first time we fought since last year in the playoffs, there’s some bad blood there. I think I had a pretty good fight.”
The judges on www.hockeyfights.com agreed, giving Parros the nod.
They meet again on Jan. 18.