Every November, many NHLers put their razors away and grow mustaches in support of Movember. The Movember movement as really taken off in the last five years or so, but it all began in Australia in 2003, and in 2007 it made its way to North America.
If you’re unfamiliar with Movember, it was started by two friends who simply wanted to create a conversation around prostate cancer. In 2004, the Movember Foundation raised just over $50,000 and donated the funds to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia, which was the largest sum of money received by the organization at the time. Since then, the movement has grown worldwide, with over 4.7 million participants raising $650 million since its inception.
For its part, the NHL launched their Hockey Fights Cancer initiative in 1998, and in recent years, has extended that to include the Movember partnership. Last year, 25 teams and 369 players contributed to Movember, raising over $200,000 in just one month.
The ripple effect of Movember, is that the fans get to see some of our favourite NHLers with mustaches, both awesome and terrible. Throughout NHL history, there have been some great and memorable staches, but they’re a little few and far between these days. Here’s a countdown of the best mustaches in NHL history.
15 Dave Lewis
Lewis, was most recently a coach in the NHL, although it’s been since 2006 that he was the head coach of the Boston Bruins. He also played over 1000 games in the NHL with the New York Islanders, the Los Angeles Kings, the New Jersey Devils and the Detroit Red Wings. He’s also had hit mustache pretty much the entire time. I’d say his mustache looked a little better as a player; as a coach he went with a more natural look, letting his mustache grow straight above his lip, right to the corners of his mouth. It’s a solid, thick mustache.
14 Bob Nystrom
Nystrom played his entire career with the New York Islanders, appearing in 900 games, and was part of the Islander Dynasty in the early 1980s. Nystrom took great pride in his hair, both on his face and his head. He had long flowing blonde hair and a thick, dark mustache. He let it grow just past the corners of his mouth, but because he has a decent sized gap between his upper lip and his nose, there was space for his mustache to fill out.
13 Dave Schultz
“The Hammer”, was known for two things during his playing career; fighting and his mustache. Schultz was the one of the most known fighters to play for the Philadelphia Flyers during their “Broad Street Bullies” days. In just over 530 games, he racked up almost 2300 penalty minutes, almost a fight every game. So maybe he used his mustache as a buffer between fists and his actual face, although it probably wasn’t necessary. For the most part, he grew his mustache to be in line with his lower lip, he did grow it into a full handlebar. He also couldn’t fully grow hair on his philtrum (the gap between the nose and lip), so there was a bit of a bald spot just above his lip.
12 Cal Clutterbuck
Known for his fondness to body check at every chance, Cal Clutterbuck has also rocked a few different facial hair styles during his playing career. He also has one of my favourite hockey names in the league. Seriously, say it out loud a few times; it just rolls. As mentioned, Clutterbuck has hand multiple styles while playing for the Minnesota Wild and New York Islanders. He’s sported the handlebar, mixed in a patch under his lip with it, shortened it up so grows just beyond the corner of his mouth, he’s had a full beard, and the mustache grown over a five o’clock shadow; he’s really done it all. The one thing that has be constant though, is how full and dark it’s always been.
11 Wendel Clark
One of the most famous players to wear the Maple Leafs sweater, Clark was known for his physical style of play while having the ability chip in offensively. In 793 games, he racked up just under 17,000 penalty minutes while scoring 564 points. What’s crazy about Clark, is that he came into the NHL with a mustache. When he was drafted first overall by the Leafs, he had already grown a pretty thick mustache. While Clark wore a couple different styles of facial as well, his handlebar mustache is probably his most famous look. It had a nice curve to it, instead of turning at a 90 degree angle.
10 Dennis Maruk
Maruk played for three teams that no longer exist; the California Golden Seals, the Cleveland Barons and the Minnesota North Stars. He played in 888 games and score 878 points. Maruk also had a crazy handlebar mustache. It was thick, dark and the chops that went down from the corner of his mouth widened, doubling in width by the time it reached his jawline. It reminds me a lot of Senior’s mustache from Orange County Choppers (remember him?), except Maruk trimmed it before it reached his neck.
9 Paul MacLean
The former Jack Adams Trophy winner, and current assistant coach of the Anaheim Ducks, MacLean’s mustache is one-of-a-kind. So much so that it has been famously compared to the facial hair of a walrus. MacLean’s also had his mustache for at least three decades; it has stood the test of time. Even during his playing days with the Winnipeg Jets, he had a thick mustache that was so long it grew over much of his upper lip. He might not even have an upper lip… Nowadays, it’s lost some of its colour, but that hasn’t affected the intimidation factor his mustache commands.
8 Eddie Shack
Shack was so popular in his playing days that a song was written about him, Clear the Track, Here Comes Shack, and it reached number 1 on Canadian Pop charts. His mustache was also so popular that Schick, the razor company, paid him to shave it off after his retirement. During his playing days, his mustache was wide, and curled up from the corner of his lips. It extended out to be almost the width of his entire face. He continues to sport the curled mustache, but had added a goatee to go along with it now, somewhat similar to the famous Colonel Sanders facial hair.
7 Pat Burns
Burns’ mustache is the stereotypical cop mustache. As scary as Burns was as an NHL coach, I imagine he would 100 times scarier as a cop. Imagine getting pull over, the first thing you’d see in the rear view mirror would be that mustache. For the most part, Burns’ mustache didn’t change too much. It went right along his upper lip, right to the corner where it tapered off into dull point. It had a very consistent curve from his nose down to the tip. It matched his personality perfectly, and demanded respect.
6 Mike Brown
Brown’s mustaches have always been throwbacks to the glory days of mustaches, and I use plural mustaches because he’s sported a couple different looks. The first came while playing for the Maple Leafs, and it was a perfect tribute to Wendel Clark’s mustache, whether it was intended or not. It was big handle bar with a sweeping curve at the corners of his lips. Then, he went to the Oilers, and got rid of the handlebar, choosing to curve the ends of his mustache, much like Eddie Shack. You can just imagine him twirling it with his thumb and index fingers.
5 Joel Quenneville
“Coach Q” and his mustache are so popular, that his mustache has its own Twitter account, and it has almost 37,000 followers. It has also stood the test of time, as it has lived on his upper lip since he was in his playing days. It has changed from dark brown, to now being completely white. It also closely resembles a comb. From the middle to ends, it’s pretty much the same thickness, reaching out just beyond the corner of his lips, and just barely covers his upper lip. He grooms it so it’s nicely trimmed and at even thickness throughout.
4 Harold Snepts
Snepts played in over 1000 games, while recording less than 250 points, he was great shutdown defenseman with an even better mustache. His mustache was thick, and had was pretty much even from the middle out to the end. It had a consistent curve, ending just below his lower lip. It also feature a bit of a bald spot in the philtrum area, giving his mustache a signature gap in the middle. As he grew older, that gap eventually filled in, but the rest of his mustache never really changed.
3 Bill McCreary
McCreary is a member of the Hall of Fame, and officiated over 1700 regular season games during his career. His mustache made him stand out from other officials and I’m pretty sure it was the secret power behind his outstanding officiating. His mustache featured a sharp curve from the middle down to its rounded edges, which reached just below the corner of his lips. It matched the black stripes of his referee jersey perfectly, and was very noticeable on his visor-less face. It plumped up nicely whenever McCreary blew his whistle.
2 George Parros
Parros’ mustache has almost defined his career. He’s really known for three things; he was a tough enforcer, he was an Ivy League graduate, and his mustache. While he was active, and even into retirement, he has competed in mustache growing battles during the November months to raise money for Movember. He was one of the NHLers who really led the charge for the movement. His mustache had gone through a few different looks throughout his career, but he’s probably best known for his thick dark mustache, with parallel curves on the top and bottom, growing just beyond the corner of his mouth. At times, he’s added a patch under his lower lip, giving it a vintage look.
1 Lanny McDonald
McDonald’s big, red mustache is easily the most famous NHL mustache of all time. When he was a member of the Calgary Flames, his mustache matched the team’s colours, it was really meant to happen. His mustache had so much length that it not only covered his upper lip, but it also covered most of how lower lip. It was also almost as wide as his face, so even though he never really grew it past the corners of his mouth, it covered a quarter of his face. It was so long, that while he skated around the ice, the winds would make his mustache hair shift around his face. He loved it so much, that he turned down endorsements from razor companies if he would shave it.