Hockey is a sport that can offer 20 minutes of nonstop action. Besides that obvious fact, there are a lot of things to like about the awesome sport of hockey like the amazing highlight reels, memorable traditions and random acts of kindness. However, there are also things that fans can't stand about hockey. One of those things is the lack of personal hygiene among some NHL players.
Sure, pro hockey isn't a 9 to 5 job in the office, but practicing personal hygiene is important in people's personal and social lives. Taking showers regularly and washing hands consistently are two of the best ways to prevent the development and spread of bacteria, funguses, parasites and viruses. Sweating is a normal bodily function, but it's not cool to have atrocious flaws like bad breath, body odor and excess facial hair. Public relations staffs and media members already dislike having to walk into locker rooms full of dirty uniforms and stinky hockey bags. That being said, hockey players should do their part to save the rest of us from the so-called hockey smell.
We love the NHL, but the stench of the players' equipment (jerseys, socks, helmets, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, padded pants and athletic supporters) is in a league of its own. All of it absorbs moisture, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria—the invisible stink bug that gives hockey its rancid smell. To sum it all up, it's an epidemic without a cure. Here are 15 NHLers who have terrible hygiene.
17 Phil Kessel
Phil Kessel is in the spotlight because the Pittsburgh Penguins are back-to-back Stanley Cup Final champions, but he has appeared in the headlines for trivial things like eating hot dogs out of Lord Stanley and being the butt of all the cheeseburger jokes.
This photo of NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire interviewing Kessel looks like a stellar moment, but if you watch the YouTube video, you'll change your mind. McGuire began the interview, asking Kessel: "How's your breath?" Kessel responded with: "It's not good, eh?" McGuire chuckled and said: "No, I meant in terms of conditioning." Kessel laughed for a couple of seconds before saying, "Yeah, it's fine" McGuire closed out the interview, saying: "It's been fun watching you. Keep having fun, Phil."
It's obvious that Kessel was confused during the interview. We don't know if he still has bad breath, but at least he was able to laugh his misunderstanding off.
16 Brent Sopel
Brent Sopel is a former defenseman who has played most of his career in the NHL. He has played for the Vancouver Canucks, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens. He has also played with Metallurg Novokuznetsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) and the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League (AHL). After just 29 games with the Wolves, he officially announced his retirement from pro hockey on February 27, 2015.
Now, if Sopel could change his looks like he changed his former teams, that would be great! He looks like a guest on Jerry Springer. He's in desperate need of a fresh haircut and a clean shave. He never really smiles because his teeth are jacked up. He also needs to touch up his outdated style because it's clear that his clothes are out of style. I mean, c'mon! He's an NHLer, not a construction worker!
15 Andrei Kostitsyn
Former Montreal Canadiens forward Andrei Kostitsyn became despised by many NHL fanbases following a dirty hit on then-New York Rangers defenseman Michael Sauer in 2011. The following year, Andrei reunited with his brother, Sergei, by joining the Nashville Predators through a trade for a second round pick and a fifth round pick in 2013.
It has been reported that Andrei just wanted to be loved. Unfortunately, he didn't receive much love from the Canadiens and Predators, especially after breaking a curfew with his Predators teammate, Alexander Radulov, at a local bar at 5:00 a.m. the night before Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinal against the Phoenix Coyotes. Both players were suspended by Predators general manager David Polle.
Andrei returned to Russia to play for the KHL. He may be able to find love in his home country, but likely not in America. He kind of looks like one of the blockheads from Gumby. He should smile more often and consider getting a hair cut.
14 Chris Neil
Chris Neil is currently a free agent, but he's worthy of a mention in this list. He was dubbed as the 11th greatest Ottawa Senator of all-time. He played his entire NHL career with the Ottawa Senators. He was originally drafted by the Senators in the sixth round with the 161st overall pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft.
Just like his former teammate Mike Fisher, Neil is a devout Christian who married a blonde beauty. But he has had his fair share of atrocious moments that would've disgusted the rest of us. Besides water coming out of his mouth, he also resembles Grumpy Cat because he never smiles, and when he does, his two front teeth are missing. We get it, he's a hockey player who gets paid for his skills on the ice, but he has to clean up nice to look good for unexpected photos snapped by photographers.
13 Paul Martin
San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin has aged over the years. Martin began his NHL career with the New Jersey Devils from 2003 to 2010 and signed a five-year, $25 million contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an UFA on July 1, 2010. He later scored his first Stanley Cup playoff goal with the Penguins on April 13, 2012. He eventually signed a four-year, $19.4 million contract with the Sharks as a free agent on Sharks. Well, he hasn't found much luck with the Sharks so far. He must've been heartbroken when he lost to his former team in Game 6 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.
Anyways, Martin's age clearly shows. He looks like a middle-age, butch woman. We could understand if he was struck in the face by another player, but he looks older for his age (36). Him getting a hair cut and a clean shave will likely shave off 10 years off his age.
12 Michal Handzuš
Michal Handzuš hasn't played in the NHL since 2014. His nickname is Zeus, but he's not much of a ruler in the pro hockey world. He did win a cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013, so he deserves some credit for being part of the then-defending Stanley Cup champions. He also represented his native Slovakia at several hockey tournaments, including the 2002, 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics. He currently plays for HC ’05 Banská Bystrica of the Slovak Extraliga.
Off the ice, Handzuš is far from a good-looking guy. In fact, he looks like Peter Gaulke (Steve Zahn) from the stoner comedy Strange Wilderness. We don't know if he was actually high in this quick shot, but his unkempt appearance makes him look like a stoner. His curly dirty blonde hair needs to be chopped and the baggy Los Angeles Kings shirt makes him look like he's trying to hide something from us.
11 Olli Jokinen
This photo was taken after former NHL center Olli Jokinen shaved his head, but he sure had a weird legacy for a player. He began his career in his native Finland, playing for KalPa and HIFK of the SM-liiga. He was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the 1997 NHL Draft. He has also played for the New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers, Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, St. Louis Blues, EHC Kloten of the Swiss National League A and Södertälje SK of the Swedish Elitserien. In addition, he holds the records for most points and goals for the Panthers.
Jokinen's hair was often a topic of discussion among fans as it proved to be a hindrance throughout his pro career. He has cut and shaved his head to raise money for various charities, but his mustache is just as distracting. He should shave to avoid looking like a grown-up baby.
10 Pavel Datsyuk
We expect nothing less from Pavel Datsyuk, better known as the Magic Man, who has sprinkled a lot of magic on the ice during his 14-year NHL career with the Detroit Red Wings. He won two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings in 2002 and 2008. Last year, he became part of the second group of players to be named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history and was the only active player in the league at the time of the prestigious announcement.
Datsyuk is an excellent two-way player, but he's certainly not a handsome man. He looks like he has a light bulb head. Also, he has scruffy eyebrows and unusual facial hair that makes him look like the awkward type of guy who can't say much. A little grooming can go a long way and he'll fully become a fresh-faced star who's camera ready for the photographers.
9 The Sedin Twins
The Sedin twins consist of Daniel and Henrik, who have both played for the Vancouver Canucks since the 2000-01 NHL season. Daniel is a goal-scorer while Henrik is a play-maker. Both brothers had their fair share of accomplishments though. Daniel recorded six straight campaigns of more than 20 goals and 70 points altogether. Henrik became the Canucks' all-time leading scorer on February 15, 2013.
When you think of the Sedin twins, you'll probably think of two gingers with psychic abilities. They're usually not known for their dirty play, but they're arguably the dirtiest duo in hockey when it comes to physical appearances.They have strange goatees that must be shaved. They also need to close their mouths because a fly or two might sneak in and spread common bacterial diseases. The twins aren't so bad, but they could use a little extra help to maintain the right amount of cleanliness.
7 Tyler Kennedy
You may not remember who Tyler Kennedy was, but now, you'll remember him as the guy who looks like a sick character from Sesame Street. Just like Miss Piggy, Kennedy has a beetle-juice head with curly hair. Not the ideal combination you'd want to have, but you were born a unique DNA sequence that you can't change.
In this photo, Kennedy was spotted licking a hockey stick during a Pittsburgh Penguins game. We don't know if he was trying to make his best Miley Cyrus impression, but it's a disgusting sight for anyone to see. Not only is this behavioral act gross, it's also not a good example for children who are watching the games. He also needs to take better care of his skin. Aside from being the butt of people's jokes, he has kept a relatively low profile in the hockey world and officially announced his retirement on January 3, 2017.
6 D.J. King
Remember D.J. King? The former NHL left wing was best known as a fighter. He played for the St. Louis Blues, Washington Capitals, and most recently, the Ontario Reigh of the ECHL. He's of Métis ancestry, a group of Canadians who trace their descent to First Nations peoples and European settlers. He's basically one of Canada's aboriginal peoples. His younger brother, Dwight, also plays pro hockey.
More often than not, D.J. looks like he has a very bad attitude. He looks like that one stressed guy with the serious face after dealing with a pounding hangover the night before. He has too much hair on his head. Hair can speak volumes about your health, so having too little or too much can be a silent signal of the potential health problems you'll have to deal with in the future. He also doesn't seem to practice hygiene on a regular basis.
5 George Parros
George Parros is a retired NHL player who played for six teams (Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens) over a span of nine years. Born in Washington, Pennsylvania, the 37-year-old is of Greek descent and it kind of shows. Everyone has a different opinion on Greek men, but a lot of them do believe that they're uglier then men of other races.
Parros may not be the Greek god you envisioned. We'd say that he looks okay, but his mustache just won't quit it. The 'stache never seems to stop growing. In a sport like pro hockey, you don't want bacteria to linger on your face because there's already enough blood, sweat and tears on the ice. Unruly hair on your face is unattractive and can become attached if you don't bother to trim it. It's easier to solve the problem before it gets worse.
3 Joe Thornton
We can assure you that Joe Thornton has been through a lot of tough situations in his 20 year career so far. Thornton saw tons of postseason flops and was even stripped of his captaincy by then-San Jose Sharks head coach Todd McLellan. But you have to give some credit to the 38-year-old veteran center and alternate captain, who stayed true to the Teal and Black, despite the inability to win a Stanley Cup.
There's one thing Thornton lacks: hygiene. Remember when 93.7 The Fan sports talk radio host Colin Dunlap tweeted a viral photo of Thornton and Brent Burns strolling in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?
I believe this is Brent Burns and Joe Thornton. They are walking around Pittsburgh's North Shore and don't give ONE HELL. pic.twitter.com/T7t8LiLlBy— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) October 19, 2016
Neither player looked like they gave a hoot about how they looked at the time, but Thornton arguably had more facial hair than Burns. He's known as Jumbo Joe because of his height (6'4") and weight (220 lbs), but it's possible some of his weight comes from the excess hair. Unless if it's no shave November, his beard should be shaved for crying out loud!
2 Alex Ovechkin
Alex Ovechkin may be a ladies man, but he isn't pulling in hot chicks because of his looks as he's far from a stud. His first fiancée was Russian tennis player Maria Kirilenko, but in 2014, she announced that their wedding was called off. He confirmed his engagement to his second fiancée, Nastya Shubskaya (daughter of late Russian actress Vera Glagoleva) in 2015.
There are a couple of NHL fanbases that think Ovechkin is a dirty player for a countless amount of unnecessary hits on other players. He also looks filthy during games. Look him up on Google and you'll see what we're talking about. His missing teeth, his bruised face and the occasional sighting of blood on that bruised face. Also, what's up with the GIF of him bathing a dog in the middle of a green lake? Yuck! At least take care of your dog in a backyard pool.
1 Brent Burns
We've already mentioned two current Sharks players in this list, but Brent Burns is the third and most hygienic out of the three. Burns began his hockey career after the Minnesota Wild selected him in the first round with the 20th overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Back then, he looked just fine-like the average blonde boy you wanted to get to know. But his handsome looks faded over the years. Now, he has missing teeth and a ridiculous amount of facial hair. It's about time for him to try the clean shaved face look.
Burns' wookie-length beard isn't going to help the Sharks win a championship anytime soon. He needs to implement personal hygiene practices into his life. This summer, he reportedly ended up signing autographs for kids after being mistaken for a pirate during a trip to Disneyland. That situation is another reason why Chewbacca needs to go away.