"A man without a moustache is like a cup of tea without sugar."
As the old English proverb (apparently) states, there are few things in the world that can define a man more than a moustache, and nowhere is that more clear than in the NHL. As the ever-popular Movember is now in full swing, the moustache will be talked about through offices, street corners and change rooms across North America.
November brings upon us a time where men all over the world are encouraged to grow a duster of their own whether to raise money for a good cause, or simply to have an excellent excuse to not shave for an extended period of time.
Whether you have the facial skills to actually grow one of any significance isn't crucial, because it's a well-known fact that with the moustache comes a heightened level of respect, knowledge and downright coolness—no matter the thickness or length of the upper lip carpeting.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the most historic franchises in the NHL and have been home to some of the greats of the game. With that comes the distinction of having had some of the most notable moustaches on the faces of those who once (or currently) dawned the blue and white.
When a player can grow a good looking moustache, the envy from his peers is something to behold, and here now is a look at the best moustaches that have been a part of the Maple Leafs through history, as inspired by Movember.
Time to kick it old school, way old school.
From 1928-1936 Andy Blair played the first eight seasons of his nine-year career as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and during that time he became known as one of the first players to ever wear a marvelous moustache.
It wasn't much as far as size goes, but by the look of his face, the man meant business. And his 'stache made sure everyone knew it.
In 1932 Blair scored the first two goals in the Stanley Cup clinching game against the New York Rangers at Maple Leaf Gardens.
In 358 games with the Leafs he scored 74 goals and 157 points, his best year being 1933-34 when he scored 14 goals and 23 points in 47 games.
He died on Dec. 27, 1970 of a heart attack, but will forever be known for his clutch goals in the playoffs, and that great moustache he sported for the Leafs.
A man who played in the early days of the NHL, Garth Boesch is not known much these days for what he did as a Leaf, but looking back on his career, one thing is very clear.
Though it had a resemblance to that of a high school kid trying to impress the ladies, you can't fault a guy for trying. He only played 197 games with the Leafs over his short four-season career (1946-50), but this mo has to be recognized as one of the worst (which means best) around.
Not sure how long he kept it, or how many jokes were tossed his way about having trouble filling in his Fu Manchu, but I'm sure he didn't care one bit.
He knew, as we all do, that a joke about ones 'stache is simply a cover-up of sheer jealousy.
Ian White was a quiet, no-nonsense kind of guy during his time with the Leafs, but that's exactly the opposite of how one would describe the happenings on his face.
He dabbled with the moustache in combination with a plethora of shrubbery on his face, but one thing was for sure, Ian White sure loved to show off what the good Lord gave him on his face. And why wouldn't you?
He usually added the soul patch to the mix, or just went with a full beard, but whatever he felt like showing on any given night, White's face always brought its A-game.
His game face, if you will.
He played for the Leafs for the first five years of his career, before being shipped to Calgary last season as a part of the trade that brought Dion Phaneuf to Toronto, and with him went his trusty 'stache, which fans will miss.
He continues to be the same sturdy defenseman for Calgary, but now he needs to be extra careful of keeping those whiskers away from the Flames.
Singeing is of constant concern.
He's got speed, he's got toughness, but the first thing anyone will notice about the Leafs' Mike Brown, is that he's got one mean looking 'stache.
He's only played a few games as a member of the Maple Leafs, but there is no doubt that he is already worthy of being on the all-time list when it comes to facial hair. Brown is rocking one of the most impressive handle-bar moustaches the city of Toronto has seen in a long time.
It's just such a perfectly kept piece of facial fur, and Brown makes sure it's always under control, unlike his temper on occasion.
Brown's look is one part old school biker, one part hardcore cowboy, and if the Leafs tough guy showed up to practice on a Harley with a cowboy hat title to the side, it would surprise no one.
Though he plays second-fiddle to Colton Orr as far as fighters go on the Leafs, Brown still gets his punches in, and has a little extra padding in case he catches a blow to the teeth.
He also has an excellent chance of catching any and all crumbs that may break off his food. And everyone knows, there's nothing like an unexpected snack time.
Clear the track, here comes Shack...and his moustache.
Okay, so Eddie Shack didn't ever really have a moustache during his playing career, and certainly not during his time with the Leafs, but his duster now is so great it gets him on this list automatically.
The sheer size of it is astonishing, and the way it ventures outward has some believing it may actually have a mind of its own. It's not only that Shack has such an incredible lip carpet, it's the smile that makes the ultimate package complete.
He played nine seasons with the Leafs over two stints, his best in 1965-66 where he had 26 goals and 43 points in 63 games.
He could get away with almost anything with that big grin, accompanied by a monster soup strainer on top.
He was one of the best bench bosses in the history of the Leafs, and Pat Burns sure knew how to get his teams to play the style he was most comfortable with.
The rough, tough, hard-to-play-against way he had his players play made his Leaf teams unpleasant to suit up against, and when he felt the need to bark out orders or fire insults at the refs, it was that beautiful moustache that made him that much more intimidating.
His 'stache told other 'staches to sit down and be quiet, it wasn't messing around.
He is currently dealing with his third bout of cancer, this time in the lungs, but just as he was when behind the bench in Toronto, Burns won't go down without a fight.
Burns was the coach for four seasons (1992-96) and is known as one of the most favoured by fans in the team's history. Must have been the moustache.
Wendel Clark didn't need to conduct interviews as a member of the Maple Leafs, his moustache did all the talking (well, and his play). One of the most beloved Leafs of all time, Clark gave the city of Toronto everything he had during his time as a Leaf, including one of the best looking moustaches in the business.
It was fierce, ferocious and a fundamental part of who he was as a person and a player.
Clark didn't just stop at the 'stache though; oh no, he went all the way for a time and rocked a mullet as well. He took the saying "business up front, party in the back" to a whole new meaning.
Rumour has it Clark's 'stache once got in a fight on the ice. And won.
He wore his heart on his sleeve every night and bled blue and white during his time with the Leafs, but one thing is for certain, Wendel just wouldn't be Wendel without that beauty of a moustache.
It simply is a gift to mankind.
The man, the myth, the moustache.
It's one of the most famous moustaches on the planet, let alone just in NHL history. Lanny McDonald takes the moustache world to a whole new level, and he wore it with pride through a successful career-including an up-close and personal moment between his 'stache and the Stanley Cup.
That season in 1989, McDonald's last, saw the mustachio maestro hoist the Cup for the first time in his fantastic career, kissing that Cup with a whole lot of 'stache in what was a glorious moment.
In today's NHL, his duster would lead the league in All-Star voting each season. It should have had its own locker in the change room. He doesn't need a pillow; his face has enough padding.
Beside his name on the Cup should be engraved "Lanny Mac's Moustache," because it really is that impressive.
It's not only the best moustache in Leaf history, but it would be tough to argue against it as being the best in NHL history. Heck, as far as world rankings go, he's up there with Tom Selleck and friends.
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