CEDAR PARK — Facial hair is a common occurrence in the Texas Stars locker room as a handful of players typically sport beards or mustaches throughout the season.
In November, however, that facial hair has some added meaning; several players have grown out their facial hair as part of the Movember movement to raise awareness of men’s health issues.
“I’ve done it ever since my first year (of) junior (hockey),” Stars center Justin Dowling said. “It kind of became tradition once you get into the hockey environment … even if just a couple extra people donate because they see me with a mustache, that’s what it’s all about, and that’s why we do it.”
The Movember Foundation was started in 2003 as a movement to “change the face of men’s health” and encouraged men to grow mustaches during November to raise awareness of prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health problems. In 11 years the foundation has raised more than $550 million for support and research.
The hockey community was one of the first to embrace the movement when it was introduced in the United States in 2007, and the Movember Foundation became an official partner of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer campaign in 2012.
“It’s been amazing,” Movember Foundation CEO and co-founder Adam Garone told NHL.com. “These hockey players are just so down to earth and genuine. They usually take the approach, ‘OK, I’ll grow a mustache and I don’t care what I look like and it’s for a great cause.’ ”