It seems the most talked about facial hair on the Toronto Maple Leafs will survive the Movember Challenge. Auston Matthews put the fate of his face lace in fans’ hands as part of a fundraiser. Movember is a charity to raise awareness for men’s health, including suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. While most participants grow a lip fro, Matthews said he would shave his grass grinner if he raised $134,000. With one day to go, that goal is still well short, as donations are just shy of $60,000 at the time of writing this article.
Matthews’ crumb catcher debuted when the Maple Leafs’ training camp opened for the 2019-20 season. The star centre admitted the feedback was hit-or-miss, and he’d see how he played with lip caterpillar to determine how long it would stay. A 47-goal performance in a shorten season kept the blade away from Matthews’ upper lip.
The face foliage was a little sparse at first. “I didn’t think it was thick enough to make an impact then I ‘Just for Men’ed’ it, I dyed it, so it sticks out a little bit more,” Matthews told Tim and Sid on Sportsnet. From a humble beginning, Matthews’ mouth brow now has a chance to join a rather short list of Maple Leafs’ famous mustaches.
Leafs’ Lip Hair Legend List
Perhaps the most famous mustache in hockey history was on the face of Lanny MacDonald. He played in Toronto from 1973 to 1980. However, the Calgary Flames fans will claim that nose neighbour, as MacDonald was a leader for the Calgary Stanley Cup championship team in 1989.
Eddie Shack, who played for six teams, is unquestionably part of the Maple Leafs bro-stache crew. He won four Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs in the 1960s, including scoring the Cup-winning goal in 1963. Not only is he part of Leafs’ lore, but he also penned one of the best Maple Leafs’ books. If you’re suffering hockey withdrawal, grab a copy of Shack’s autobiography, Eddie Shack: Hockey’s Most Entertaining Stories.
The amusing read includes Shack’s explanation of why he is not in the Hockey Hall of Fame. He writes, “I’ll tell you why I’m not in the Hall of Fame; it’s because of my mouth! If I would have just shut up, I could have been in the Hockey Hall of Fame. I guarantee you I could have been in there. But it’s the idea that I would tell someone to go and stick it in their crease! Don’t behave yourself, be yourself! That’s what I always say.”
With a beautiful soup strainer, Pat Burns was behind the bench during some of the most memorable seasons in recent memory (less than three decades ago). Burns led the Leafs to the third round in two consecutive seasons, 1992-93 and 1993-94. Sure, he won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils. However, he did so without dental drapes.
The most iconic lip strip belongs to Wendel Clark. Clark, who ironically like Matthews was a first overall pick by the Maple Leafs, dawned the muzzle fuzz for fifteen years in the NHL, most of which was with Toronto.
His number 17 hangs from the rafters like his lip curtains hung from his upper lip. Few professional players are indentifiable by a single name or that horseshoe mustache look, but Clark is one of those guys.
More Mo to Come?
Matthews now leads a new generation of Maple Leafs with a mouth mane. Teammate Jack Campbell joined Matthews with a mustache look. And he will soon be joined by some of the best facial hair in hockey history with the addition of Joe Thornton. Jumbo Joe’s signing in Toronto adds leadership to the room, and perhaps some whisker advice for Matthews.
Kevin Armstrong is an award-winning journalist with more than two decades of experience. He’s been rink side for World Juniors, Memorial Cups, Calder Cups and Stanley Cups. Like many Canadian kids, his earliest memories include hockey. Kevin has spent countless hours in arenas throughout the country watching all levels of the game.