Nov. 23, 2011
By Edwina Reckel (story) and Annie Favreau (video), GopherSports.com
November: A whole month to strive to be the best, compete against your teammates and groom to be a winner.
In this case, we're not talking about hockey. This month, Gopher men's hockey decided as a team to participate in "Movember."
Movember ("the month formerly known as November" according to the Movember Foundation) is a moustache growing charity event held during November each year that raises funds and awareness for men's health issues such as prostate cancer. While the Gophers aren't specifically raising money this year, most of the team is participating in the movement.
Nate Condon is one of the Gophers participating in "Movember."
Hockey players already have a storied history of growing facial hair, so it was no surprise that players in both collegiate and professional levels have gotten involved with Movember. The "playoff beard" is hockey tradition; several Gophers mentioned the Red Wings' Mike Commodore (red beard and afro combo) and Anaheim Ducks' George Parros' (thick, dark mustache) as their "facial hair idols."
The Gophers even have their own piece of weird hair history. In the first round of the WCHA playoffs in St. Cloud during the 2006-2007 season, the entire Gopher team dyed their hair blonde. Goldy Gopher and former head coach Doug Woog even sported blonde wigs!
GopherSports.com sat down with several members of the team to see how their "Mo's" were coming along (video above) and any trials and tribulations they've had along the way. They've had everything from girls looking at their upper lip with disgust, moms reminiscing of their husband's glory handlebar days and girlfriends plotting ways to secretly shave it.
The "hairiness gene" is helping some more than others -- when asked who had the best and worst facial hair on the team, their was a clear winner, and clear loser.
All of our interviewees said that best "Mo" belonged to senior captain Taylor Matson. "It's gorgeous... So bushy," said Nate Condon. When Matson learned of his "award" he credited heredity. "I have to thank my parents for that - my dad has a lot of facial hair too... It gets itchy at times and gets in my mouth a little, but it's worth it."
The unanimously-named worst moustache grower, sophomore defenseman Justin Holl, "has like three hairs on his face" according to Condon -- Holl even (jokingly) tried to pass off drawn-on handlebar Mo during our interview.
The State of Hockey is doing a lot to raise funds and awareness for men's health, and having some a good time along the way. The Gophers are growing the moustaches for fun (and a confidence boost) but the NHL and the Minnesota Wild are raising money and you can donate to your favorite mustache here!
Register for the John Mariucci Golf Open
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USA Hockey Spotlight: Todd Richards
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Field Announced for Mariucci Classic
The Gophers will host Massachusetts, Mercyhurst and Alabama Huntsville in the 26th annual Mariucci Classic.