|Like most players, Darren Helm has sported a playoff beard, like this one from the 2012 playoffs. But rarely does he grow just a moustache like he is this month. (Photo by Getty Images)|
DETROIT – Watch out, Henrik Zetterberg, your mustache has a little competition this month.
Mustaches are sprouting throughout the Red Wings’ locker room in honor of Movember, an effort to raise awareness for prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges.
“I think it’s always important to bring awareness to anything of this magnitude,” forward Darren Helm said. “I mean we do the breast cancer thing, the cancer thing and it’s all very important for people to remember. It’s just a small thing we do to help and it’s just a fun thing to do.”
The players are having plenty of fun with the effort. The mustaches are growing at different speeds and angles, but two weeks into Movember there is already a clear frontrunner.
“Just kind of the biggest one is looking at Gustavsson, he looks I’m not sure how to say it, but not like himself,” defenseman Brendan Smith said. “Normally he looks like he could be in Persia with that mustache.”
“In this room? Gustav’s a pretty nice one,” Helm said “A lot of guys that are younger this year, the younger guys, don’t really grow as much, it’s the amateur mustache race this year.”
Amateur or veteran aside, Gustavsson is clearly winning the ‘stache race.
“Well I don’t know if I’m winning, I kind of cheated,” Gustavsson said. “I didn’t shave it all off and went from zero to this so I kind of had a couple weeks advantage, at least.
“It’s obviously for a good cause. Normally I don’t look like this so it’s fun for a few weeks, to do something different.”
The Red Wings are taking part in the month-long effort to raise awareness for men’s health, a worldwide issue that hits close to home for everyone in the team’s dressing room.
“Everyone in here knows somebody who has been affected one way or another so it’s just a little thing that goes a long way and plus it’s fun to grow a mustache,” Howard said.
It’s a fun effort, but the players know it’s for a serious cause. Howard, Smith and Helm officially teamed up to take their Movember effort one step further, allowing fans to donate money and support men’s health, and their mustaches, online at DetroitRedWings.com/Movember.
“We want to draw a little attention to it,” Smith said. “It’s funny when you see people in the stands wearing fake mustaches and stuff so it’s obviously bringing the fans into it so it’s a good idea.”