Many people believe that the mullet is an invention of 1980s fashion in the United States. That’s definitely when the style was at the height of its popularity, but many scholars claim the mullet dates back as far as 2500 BC. That’s (approximately) when the Ancient Egyptians built the Great Sphinx of Giza, which is said to sport the earliest mullet in recorded history.
Thousands of years later, Roman warriors were forced to cut their mullets before battle. No one could deny the fact that they looked amazing, but it was far too easy for their enemies to grab the back of their hair, pull them close and slit their throats. What a bummer.
Today we pay our respects to the mullet’s role in the game of hockey. This distinguished hair-do has had a place in the sport for as long as I can remember, but its prominence is slowly fading away along with head shots and fighting. Of course, we’ll all miss the mullet the most out of all of these once they’re gone for good.
With the news this season that Jaromir Jagr will be growing back his glorious mullet, how could we not do a list of hockey’s greatest mullets? Jagr’s was one of the best around and I for one am pumped for the return of those beautiful locks.
Hockey players’ mullets had as much to do with the fashion of the era as they did the game of hockey, so we’re not entirely sure why the “business in the front, party in the back” hairstyle became so closely associated with the sport. Maybe it’s because hockey is such a fast sport, and when a guy with a sweet mullet gets a full head of steam, his locks flow behind him and it looks God damned majestic.
There are many different types of mullet, many of which are represented in this list. Get ready to feast your eyes on some amazing heads of hair as we present you with the best mullets hockey has ever seen.
15 Michal Handzus
So we’re going to start the list off with Michal Handzus. Although his haircut never exactly fit the description of a traditional mullet, it appeared as though he had a fantastic looking mullet when he had a helmet on.
I think it’s the thick, bushy, curly hair that did it for me. You’d always know it when Handzus hopped over the boards for a shift during the days he rocked this hair-do, as it would automatically grab the attention of your eye whenever it was on the ice. It was like a sixth skater.
14 Patrick Kane
It has become a spring tradition in Chicago. If the puck is about to drop on the postseason for the Blackhawks, so is Kane’s stylish mullet, complete with racing stripes shaved into the side.
While most guys stick to the playoff beard, the mullet has become a bit of a superstition for Kane and the Blackhawks. If I had 114 points in 116 career playoff games to go along with three Stanley Cup rings at the age of 27, I’d probably keep the tradition alive as well.
13 Ryan Smyth
Ryan Smyth was a fan favorite in Edmonton for almost two decades, and his mullet was just as popular as the man himself. Fans would love it when he’d park himself in front of the opposing goalie, greasy mullet all up in his face.
A radio station in Edmonton even had a segment called “Ryan Smyth’s mullet.” In this recurring sketch, Smyth’s mullet was an actual character with its own personality. It was sort of funny, I guess, but it was almost sacrilegious at the same time.
12 Ken Baumgartner
Ken Baumgartner was a veteran of nearly 700 NHL games, and he played the bulk of his career throughout the 1990s. He had a sweet mullet for pretty much the entirety of his NHL career, but I would say that it peaked in the early ‘90s as a member of the New York Islanders.
The best part about it was Baumgartner was an avid fighter, so you’d often get to see those greasy locks flow this way and that as he rag-dolled opponents.
11 Wendel Clark
Wendel Clark isn’t remembered for his mullet, because he played most of his NHL career with short hair. It’s a shame that it doesn’t get much credit, because when his mullet was at the height of its glory, it rivaled the best.
The mullet made a 17-year-old Clark look like a grizzled 38-year-old. Or maybe that’s just the way Clark looks; the man retired at the age of 32, looking older than all of his elder peers in the league at that point. Okay, now I'm just piling on Clark for looking old. I'll stop.
10 Chris Simon
There are a handful of pesky pugilists who show up on our mullet list and Chris Simon comes in at number 10. Simon’s mullet is still one of the longest on record, suggesting his party side was beginning to possess his business side.
Simon played for eight different teams during his NHL career, and his hair always made him an instant fan favorite. That also could have had something to do with the 111 fighting majors he picked up during his career, mind you.
9 Guy Lafleur
Sometimes, a mullet’s grandiosity is exaggerated when it’s attached to a spectacular skater. Guy Lafleur was a prime example of this. It’s not that his mullet itself was too greasy, but the image of the hair flowing behind him as he flew past defensemen became iconic.
As Lafleur aged he started to lose his hair, and he later became hair-famous once again for being one of the only players to play while wearing a hair weave. This was a man who understood the importance of a nice head of hair.
8 Brian Engblom
Brian Engblom is a veteran reporter who has worked for multiple outlets throughout the U.S. prior to his reporting career, which started in the early ‘90s. He was also an NHL defenseman who played over 650 NHL games for five different teams.
Throughout his entire playing career, and through most of his broadcasting career, Engblom sported a slick mullet. That’s commitment, folks. Gotta respect it. You can see it today if you tune into Tampa Bay Lightning broadcasts, where he's the color commentator.
7 Ron Duguay
Ron Duguay’s NHL career started in the 1970s and ended in 1989, which is essentially the exact timeline of the mullet’s glory days. What made Duguay’s mullet so special was that his hair had a subtle curl to it, and it looked amazing.
Today Duguay is a frequent guest analyst on the New York Rangers broadcasts, and he still wears the mullet proudly. Duguay: we salute you.
6 Marty McSorley
I don’t know if there was once a belief that a mullet made you look tough or something, but I’m noticing a theme in this list. Noted pest and pugilist Marty McSorley comes in at number six, and might I say it’s well-deserved.
McSorley no longer rocks the mullet, but it’s pretty much impossible to find a photo of McSorley during his playing days where he wasn’t showing off a sweet hair-do. Good for him.
5 Barry Melrose
Barry Melrose hasn’t really been anybody’s favorite anything throughout his career as a player, coach and broadcaster. He does hold the distinction of rocking our fifth-favorite mullet the game has ever seen, though.
These days we’re all more likely to disagree with Melrose’s controversial opinions and obnoxious rants that border on incoherent, but we can all agree on one thing: he knows how to wear a mullet well past its expiry date.
4 Wayne Gretzky
The man who would end up as the best player of all-time on 90 percent of fans’ lists ends up at number four in our NHL mullet rankings. Perhaps Wayne Gretzky’s mullet is ranked a little high because of who it belongs to, but if you ask me nobody looked better than Gretz in a mullet.
Gretzky was THE ambassador for the game of hockey throughout his career, and he rocked some version of the mullet for the entire time. The hockey mullet owes a lot to the Great One.
3 Ziggy Palffy
We’re getting to the heavy hitters now, and this one is an absolute beauty. Ziggy Palffy didn’t always rock a mullet, but when he did it was one of the best mullets that hockey had ever seen. It still is to this day, as reflected by our number three ranking.
There truly aren’t words that I can write here that would do justice to that glorious beast. At this point, I’m just going to suggest you look at it for a good 30-45 seconds before moving on to the next amazing mullet.
2 Jaromir Jagr
There’s definitely an argument that can be made for Jagr owning the top spot on this list, but he squeaks in at number two instead. There were many versions of the Jagr mullet, but I would say the best one was the one he wore circa-1997-98 while with the Penguins.
Let’s face it, Jagr is going to go down as the greatest European player to ever play the game, but he’ll be remembered just as much for his hair. As mentioned in the lead-up, Jagr is growing this bad boy out again. All that’s left is to find out if his mullet affects his batting average with 18-year-old Czech models…
1 Al Iafrate
Al Iafrate is probably known more for his blistering slap shot than he is this incredible mullet, but we’re more impressed by the mullet. To be fair, this is a unique sub-genre of the mullet, popularly referred to as the “skullet.”
Sweet Baby Jesus, just look at that thing. Who knows if he lost a bet with a teammate, did it on a dare, or was aiming to attract a specific niche of puck bunnies. Iafrate was perennially a participant in the NHL Skills Competition throughout the 1990s because of his hard shot, and that’s when fans were treated to the skullet in full view, as players would compete helmet-less. Long live the Iafrate skullet.