Yes, it is November and charitable efforts inside the hockey world to raise funds and awareness towards prostate cancer is in full force. Players and team personnel have climbed onboard at every level by growing mustaches.
My father, Andrew, has always had a mustache, as did my best friend’s dad, Jack. Maybe it was a sign of the times, as the alpha-males in Hollywood were Bert Reynolds and Tom Selleck.
This transferred over to the ice, as legendary Flame Lanny McDonald and many NHLers once sported the cool ‘stache. Here are my picks for the all-star mustache team:
Wendel Clark – When I was growing up in Toronto, Wendel was the heart and soul of the Maple Leafs. He always played hard, had a deadly wrister, was a punishing bodychecker and was one heck of a caterpillar-lip.
Michel Goulet – Even though I hated the Nordiques, I couldn’t help but respect the skill level and game of Goulet. Always a threat around the net and one of the thicker mustaches of the era.
Bryan Trottier – Great two-way player for the Isles. Competitive and high-level hockey sense took the mustache all the way into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Rod Langway – Playing in Washington, he may not have always gotten the recognition he deserved for his strong and consistent defensive play. The big man was a steady blueliner and the mustache gave him an edge.
Harold Snepsts – If it were up to me, when you Google the term “hockey mustache” Harold Snepsts would come up first. Wasn’t pretty or skilled, but he was a competitive character for the Canucks who racked up more than 200 PIMs one more than one occasion.
Grant Fuhr – Backstopped the Oil to a handful Stanley Cups. Still has the ‘stache as he dominates the links after his playing days.
Pat Burns – I have to put one of my favorite coaches on the list. An ex-cop who transferred his skills to the bench and won a Cup with the Devils in 2003. Maybe it was the mustache that made players listen to him all those years.
Jamie Huscroft – In my rookie year in the American League there was no one I hated playing against more than the mustache on the blueline for the Portland Pirates. He played the game with edge and fed you the lumber across the wrist every time you drove wide against him. He really did look like Tom Selleck with a helmet.
Bert Templeton – My junior coach in the Ontario League for the Barrie Colts who has since passed on. Second most wins all-time at the junior level. The tough Scottsman had a way about him that turned boys into men. His voice and silver mustache will always be remembered by his players.
Paul MacLean – New Senators Coach one of the game’s most respected.
Johnny Upton – From the movie Slapshot, Charlestown Chiefs captain had perfect handle-bars.
Rick Middleton – Boston Bruins forward was slick around the net.
Dave Tippett – Had one as a player in Hartford, Washington and Pittsburgh before he became a clean-cut coach.
George Parros – Anaheim Ducks enforcer: Do you really want to tell him his permanent mustache looks funny?
The team I am helping out with - the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL - in collaboration with local businesses are growing mustaches like so many others this month for a great cause. But it will be tough to live up to the great ‘staches listed above.
Daniel Tkaczuk was Calgary's first round pick in 1997 (sixth overall) and has been playing professionally in North America and Europe for the past 12 seasons. He is currently president of iHockeyTrainer.com, an online hockey school for skill development.