It’s Tuesday and that means it is time for another edition of Hockey Hermit’s Top 10 Tuesdays. Now that the bleak, cold weather is really upon us I figured we could all use a laugh, hence today’s top 10 list. Enjoy.
Once upon a time a mustache was a badge of honor. A mustache stated louder than any words ever could: “I am a real man”. High school boys waited with breathless anticipation until that peach fuzz on their upper lips thickened and turned to real hair. For those rare few that achieved that lofty goal getting a girlfriend was not a problem.
Yet somewhere along the way the mustache lost its machismo. No longer was it the ultimate symbol of masculinity. Instead, those who rocked the ‘stache became objects of ridicule. As public sentiment for the mustache shifted Hollywood actors and sports icons quickly responded to the latest fashion trend, either shaving the ‘stache altogether, or growing some chin hair to achieve the more socially acceptable goatee.
Sadly, even hockey players, ever the black sheep of the sports world, capitulated to this social pressure, and the glorious mustaches that personified the sport over the 1970s and 80s slowly faded into memory. Until now…
Recently the Ottawa Senators, mired in their worst slump in years, decided to bond together and grow mustaches. This male-bonding activity has led to a complete turnaround, and the Sens are once again in the hunt, challenging for a playoff spot.
But the credit for this new NHL mustache revolution can’t be laid at the feet of the Senators. If anyone should be credited with reviving the mustache then Anaheim Ducks’ tough guy George Parros is that man. Parros has been rocking the ‘stache for a few seasons now, and his refusal to shave that enormous caterpillar has helped sow the seeds of mustache acceptance. Hockey players can once again sport mustaches with pride without fear of being ridiculed. For those of us who have missed the hockey ‘stache it is truly a glorious era.
Yes, we can thank George Parros for bringing back the mustache, but we can’t forget to honor the pioneers, those men whose mustaches are legends of the game. This list is meant to honor those hockey heroes. Here is my list of the top 10 hockey mustaches of all time:
10 – Larry Robinson – This picture of Larry Robinson sums up hockey in the 1970s. Not only is he sporting a sweet mustache, but check out that hair. Big Bird would eventually go bare-lipped, but for a big part of his career he had some of the best facial hair in the game.
9 – Bryan Trottier – Bryan Trottier’s mustache may not have been as bushy as some of the others on this list, but this 6 time Stanley Cup champion consistently kept the ‘stache throughout his whole career, refusing to shave when the mustache lost favor in the 1990s. Poor Mike Bossy looked like a pre-pubescent boy playing aside hairy linemates, Trottier and Clark Gillies. Whether he couldn’t grow facial hair or simply refused to is still one of hockey’s greatest mysteries.
8 – Dennis Maruk – Yes, there were good players in Washington before Alexander Ovechkin showed up. True, they were few and far between, but Dennis Maruk has to be counted as one of Washington’s all time best players, and he edges out Mike Gartner for owning Washington’s all time best mustache. This sniper once scored 60 goals for the Capitals, but his greatest achievement is certainly the cultivation of that mustache.
– 7 – Dirk Graham – I’ll admit to some personal bias on this selection. When combing through the history of Chicago Blackhawks’ mustaches many fans might prefer those sported by Michel Goulet or Denis Savard, but not every hockey mustache in the 80s rested on the lip of a superstar. The plumbers and the grinders must have their due, and Dirk Graham was the ultimate lunchbucket player.
6 – Harold Snepsts – Canucks fans might be aggravated that I’ve chosen a picture of Harold Snepsts in a Red Wings jersey, but I just like the picture. Harold just looks so happy to have a mustache in this shot, and why wouldn’t he? Just look at that baby! Growing up in British Columbia Harold Snepsts’ mustache was a symbol of hockey for me, and is an easy choice for a spot on the list of the top 10 hockey mustaches of all time.
5 – Wendel Clark – With the recent jersey retirement of Wendel Clark’s jerseys young hockey fans got a first hand introduction to what a spectacular player Wendel Clark was, and what a spectacular mustache he used to have. Wendel’s mustache is so well thought of in hockey circles that the Toronto Maple Leafs made it a theme for Wendel’s retirement ceremony, handing out free Wendel Clark mustaches to every fan.
4 – Eddie Shack – To be quite honest I’m not certain this NHL legend actually sported a mustache during his playing days, but he is making up for lost time now, rockin’ the ‘stache with verve and panache. That’s right, both verve and panache. Known as “The Entertainer” Eddie Shack is one of hockey’s all time greatest characters, and he just wouldn’t look right without a mustache and a cowboy hat.
3 – Dave Babych – Canucks fans get shafted again, as this time I’ve shown Dave Babych in a Flyers jersey. Canucks fans were truly blessed though to have both Harold Snepsts’ and Dave Babych’s mustaches on their blueline. Not too many clubs have two such distinguished mustachioed rearguards in their history. In addition to the Canucks and the Flyers, Babych’s mustache also suited up for the Winnipeg Jets, Hartford Whalers and very briefly for the Los Angeles Kings.
2 – George Parros – As the only active player on this list of the top 10 hockey mustaches of all time George Parros carries a heavy responsibility. Whether or not he deliberately made it his mission to bring the hockey mustache back to respectability, the task has fallen to him. So far he has done a more than admirable job as mustaches have begun to sprout throughout the league. Most people would be surprised to learn that this hairy pugilist is actually a Princeton graduate and might be the most intelligent player in the league.
1 – Lanny McDonald – Yes, this is probably the least mysterious number 1 selection in the history of top 10 lists. There is no other choice for the premier spot on the list of the top 10 hockey mustaches of all time. Lanny’s flaming red duster is one of the biggest icons in all of sport, and it has adorned his upper lip throughout all the anti-mustacheism that has plagued our society for the better part of two decades. Lanny’s mustache capped off its incredible career by scoring the Stanley Cup winning goal in the 1989 playoffs in one of the greatest moments in sports and mustache history.