Sports | May 9, 2019 6:00 am

Why Hair Is Such a Big Deal to Hockey Players

Mullets are vanishing but "flow," "lettuce," "salad" and "chop" are still rampant

Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks. (Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images)
NHLI via Getty Images

Though you’ll see mullets hanging over the top of the back of NHL sweaters less and less, professional hockey’s love affair with big hair is still strong.

In addition to playoff beards — which are growing strong as ever this postseason —  “flow,” “lettuce,” “salad” and “chop” are still rampant on the heads of many of the NHL’s best players.

According to Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, the reason why many players grow their hair long is so they stand out even when their helmets are on. “We have to wear a helmet at all times,” he told ESPN. “If the helmet ever falls off, or if we’re away from the rink, we want to be able to express ourselves in some way. That’s how we kind of make our faces known.”

Hockey players are also very superstitious, so if they have a particular hairstyle or beard length and their team is winning, they are much more likely to keep it.

Of course, looking good is also a factor. Just ask the high school hockey stars from Minnesota whose locks are ranked every single year. It’s part of the game’s culture at this point, but why?

“I have no idea what the crazy obsession with hair is about,” Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin told ESPN. “I think hockey players like to have pretty good style. My best guess is, a lot of other leagues show it with their clothes. Hockey players like to do it with their hair — facial hair, or how it’s coming out of their helmet.”

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