Hockey hair, 2021 edition: The NHL’s best beards, mullets and more

 Hockey hair, 2021 edition: The NHL’s best beards, mullets and more

Hockey and hair go together like peanut butter and jelly or a burger and fries with a milkshake on the side. They’re a long-storied winning combination: from mullets to mustaches to playoff beards, the two are intertwined through the annals of sports history. 

This year is a special one and may go down in the record book with the best hockey-hair game ever. Why? Well, it’s 2021 and we’ve been in a pandemic for almost a year. Many cities have shut down hair salons or people may not be clamoring for a new do right now.

MORE: NHL COVID-19 case tracker for 2021 season

As a result, the flow this year is off the charts and the beards are already in grizzled, deep playoff-run mode. This list is going to take a look at the styles on the ice as opposed to the nicely-quaffed headshots (looking at you Rasmus Ristolainen). 

Here’s a look at some of the early candidates for best hockey hair in 2021.

  • Mika Zibanejad, Rangers

    Zibanejad potted a career-best 41 goals and 75 points in 57 games last season, which included a five-goal night on March 5 against the Capitals. Comparing these flowing locks to the pics from then, it looks like the Rangers star forward hasn’t cut his hair since then.

  • Kyle Palmieri, Devils

    It’s been a few seasons since the veteran forward was in the playoffs, and almost six since he made a deep run with the Ducks, but this heavy beard is already playoff-worthy. The look also helps set him apart from some of his more babyfaced teammates, such as 19-year-old Jack Hughes and 22-year old Nico Hischier.

  • Adrian Kempe, Kings

    The Kings centerman has his hair slicked back in his headshot for 2021, so it’s hard to gauge whether this is a traditional mullet. Regardless, he’s got some serious lettuce going on.

  • Joe Thornton, Maple Leafs

    Timeless. Iconic. While he scared us all back in May when he shaved the beard off, it’s back in all its glory for 2021. Jumbo Joe is on the shelf for a few weeks with a fractured rib and we’ll surely miss seeing the whiskers.

  • Duncan Keith, Blackhawks

    The Chicago defenseman sported long locks in the bubble over the summer and it doesn’t look like he’s trimmed much off since then. Keith may have had long hair and didn’t care, but he reportedly snipped his strands about 10 days into the season. Hopefully the three-time Stanley Cup champion didn’t lose his hockey powers with the trim.

  • Brent Burns, Sharks

    Like Thornton’s, this beard is an icon all its own. And it came in pretty handy when he was, what else, a Viking on the Amazon Prime series “Vikings.”

  • Filip Forsberg, Predators

    Hockey player or evil cartoon character who spends his days twirling the ends of his mustache? Hard to tell, but it’s a pretty fantastic look.

  • Jon Merrill, Red Wings

    The veteran defenseman may be wearing the winged wheel of the Red Wings now, but this mullet from his Golden Knights days is still flowing strong.

  • The Tanev boys

    Chris (Flames) and Brandon (Sabres) may be having a who-can-grow-their-hair-longer contest, but the younger brother has officially won the craziest headshot award.

  • Braden Holtby, Canucks

    Checking out this beard, and its unruliness, the Canucks netminder — and 2018 Stanley Cup champ — is ready for another deep playoff run with his new club.

  • Artemi Panarin, Rangers

    The Rangers forward is representing the curly-haired guys with aplomb as his ringlets pop out of his bucket.

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