Patrick Kane and the Top 20 Best "Flow" Hairstyles in Hockey History

Alex French@alex_frenchCorrespondent IApril 12, 2011

Patrick Kane and the Top 20 Best "Flow" Hairstyles in Hockey History

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    The Chicago Blackhawks' young star Patrick Kane rocked arguably the best hairstyle during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, rejecting the traditional playoff beard and sporting a mullet that would make Billy Ray Cyrus proud.

    Kane may have started a new trend in terms of playoff superstitions, but there seems to be one common theme that circulates around the NHL, and that's having good flow.

    Hockey players for decades have been sporting the long, flowing hair that spills out of the back of their helmets, and even dates back to the non-helmet years.

    However, the question must be asked: does Kane's mane rank amongst the greatest hockey "flow" of all time?

20. Roberto Luongo

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    It's only fair to include each position on the ice, and Luongo's hair certainly seems to fit the mold.

    Sure, this Canuck doesn't have the straight, slicked-back look that is typically associated with flow, but his head boasts one of the best curly-haired flow styles in hockey today.

19. Phil Esposito

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    Esposito is considered one of the best to ever play the game, and may have been a founding father in the flow-volution that has taken over the game in the past half-century.

    The Hall of Famer played before helmets were required, which allowed his long, black locks to literally "flow" as he glided down the ice.

18. Marty McSorley

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    He too had a flow-like mullet a la Patrick Kane, but what determined his inclusion on the list were two important factors:

    1. Longevity—McSorley kept it for much longer than a playoff run.

    2. Fluidity—it flowed from his bangs all the way back to his neck.  This man really knew how to sport the mullet.

17. Scott Hartnell

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    Hartnell is the definition of a grinder, and his beard + hair combination help support that claim.

    He too, like Luongo, has long and curly flow, but there is no hair discrimination here.  All flow doesn't necessarily need to be straight to be the best.

    He hasn't always had the mop on top of his head, but when he does, it looks as good as anyone else's on the ice.

16. Bobby Nystrom

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    Nicknamed "Thor" by his teammates, Nystrom is the first European to crack the list.

    Another pioneer in the flow-volution, Nystrom rocked the helmet-less look for some time, and what really separated him from the competition was that elegant mustache.  Any hockey player who can rock the upper-lip carpet and flow like that deserves recognition. 

15. Kerry Fraser

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    It may not be flashy, but Mr. Fraser sported some of the most elegant flow the NHL has ever seen.  He too, like the pioneers before him, neglected safety by not wearing a helmet, allowing his luscious locks to blow in the wind as he skated. 

    Considered one of hockey's most tenured referees, Fraser called nearly 2,000 regular season games, 260 Stanley Cup Playoff games and the 1998 Winter Olympics mostly without a helmet.   However that changed when the players union required him and all league officials to strap one on in 2006.

    An official's hair has never been the same since.

14. Ryan Smyth

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    Smyth's look is slightly different from the rest because it is "au naturale."

    There isn't any gel or other agents holding his hair back, it's just natural flow from scalp on back. 

    While Smyth keeps growing older (and changing teams), his hair will always remain the same: untouched.

13. Gordon Bombay, Charlie Conway and Fulton Reed

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    It was a tough call on this one, so all three come in a package deal.  Yes they are fictional characters, but they deserve to be on the list and here's why:

    Arguably one of the best hockey movies of its time, The Mighty Ducks subconsciously encourages young, aspiring hockey stars to grow out their flow at an early age.

    Each of the three has their own style of flow, with Bombay leading by example.  His center part is just like the Flying V: It splits the opposing defenses right down the middle. Reed embraces his youth with the rebellious and long flow, while Conway is conservative in his approach but his helmet hair makes the cut nonetheless.

    The Hanson Brothers from Slapshot were a tough exclusion, but they have nothing on Coach Bombay's Flying V, Conway's triple deke and Reed's blistering "one-out-of-five" slap shot.

    The Hanson Brothers never beat Iceland either.

12. Joe Sakic

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    Hair like this would make John Stamos jealous during his Full House years.

    Tall, poofy and combed back is the perfect recipe for hockey hair.  Rarely clean-shaven, Sakic rocked the flow style very well for most of his career.

11. Mike Babcock

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    As promised, every party involved would be included.  Babcock makes a strong case for the top 10 but falls just short.

    He is considered to be one of the best coaches in the game right now and has the hair to reinforce that claim.

    While most coaches take the more "professional" look into consideration, Babcock has stayed true to his roots and continues to sport the flow he has known for so long.

10. Mike Ricci

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    His hair was too long and he had no teeth.

    Everything about that statement just screams hockey player.

    He always seemed to have a confused look on his face, but there was no questioning the mane on this player.  It was long, shaggy, uncombed and a force to be reckoned with. 

9. Wayne Gretzky

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    No matter the list, poll or countdown, exclusion of the Great One would cry ignorace and dishonor thy game. 

    With that being said, Wayne Gretzky's hairstyle mirrored his style of play—it was magnificent.

    He's the sports all-time greatest player and his legacy will live on in infamy, but in rare occasion, Gretzky isn't at the top of this manifest.

8. Duncan Keith

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    Traditional, long, slicked back.

    Keith's hair exemplifies leadership and toughness, and he now has a ring--and fake tooth--to prove it. His hair and missing tooth combination are qualities that any aspiring hockey player would envy.

    The wing-like look in the back just shows his helmet hair is there to stay.

7. Guy Lafleur

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    Lafleur was also a brethren of the flow-volutionary fraternity, catching the tail-end of the helmet-less era.

    What made this Canadien's hair so special were the wings on either side of his head.  It was elegant and well-groomed, yet not too flashy.

    It is only fitting that his hair look like the meaning of his last name—the Flower.

6. Henrik Zetterberg

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    What makes Zetterberg's hair so special is the little bit of European element that is added to his flow.  It's greased back but not overdone, and it's long enough to be considered flow but not out of control.

    He's the second European to crack the top 20, with fellow Swede Bobby Nystrom placing at number 16. 

    You know the flow is working well when you marry a Swedish model, as Zetterberg did last July.  I'm sure the beard helped his cause.

5. Jeremy Roenick

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    A true man's man.

    Known for taking the occasional puck to the face, Roenick was fearless on the ice and had exceptional flow.  He's always been known to throw the first hit in an All-Star game, and one could always expect to see that golden mane flowing out of his helmet.

    Known as one of the best U.S.-born hockey players to play the game, he is one of three Americans to ever score 500 or more goals in the NHL. 

    Only two others accomplished that feat, one of them being...

4. Mike Modano

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    Mike Flowdano was arguably the best American-born player to play the game, and also one of three Americans to ever score 500 or more career goals in the NHL. 

    He also is one of the only players to sport such distinguished flow.  I mean, the picture alone says more than 1,000 words. 

    Pure class.  Pure flow.  Made in America.

3. Al Iafrate

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    This just takes the term flow to a whole new level.

    Though his hair lacks the continuity that the traditional style possesses, his ingenuity should be recognized and highly praised.

    It's not always the quantity of flow that a player has, but the quality that counts.

    Well done, sir.  Well done.

2. Jaromir Jagr

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    Jagr didn't actually need a helmet to protect his head, he had three pounds of flowing black hair to shield him from any flying pucks or falls.

    In his prime, the Czech assassin's head drapes were arguably the best in the league, and took the mullet flow to a whole new level.

    The European claims a nearly top spot because such flow must have taken years to produce in addition to intense dedication to perfection. 

1. Barry Melrose

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    The clear cut best flow in hockey has to go to Barry Melrose.  He too, like many others on this list, has traditional, elegant and long flowing hair that is combed back towards the shoulders.

    What separates him from the rest is his experience.  This man has been involved in hockey for over four decades, and has had the same hairstyle for nearly the whole time. 

    His flow is cream of the crop because he knows how to sport it better than anyone else.  What says experienced better than gray hair?