November is normally a time of charitable deeds for several Capitals players, who have been participating in an event called Movember in recent years by growing mustaches in an effort to raise money for men’s health.
Because of this season’s lockout, participation in Movember among NHL players hasn’t been as organized. The camaraderie of teammates and support from the clubs in the past made it more formal, and the visibility of playing while sporting a mustache helped the cause.
But the lockout isn’t stopping Capitals defensemen Karl Alzner and John Erskine. Alzner joined up with Florida Panthers forward George Parros for this year’s pledge drive. Parros is leading a team with other NHL players, such as L.A. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, on Team Parrosmos, while Maple Leafs tough guy Mike Brown is hosting Team #Brownbeauts. Erskine, who had a very memorable Movember two seasons ago, signed up independently.
Alzner grew a mustache last season alongside teammates Erskine, Jason Chimera, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson, Matt Hendricks, Mike Green, Joel Ward, Mathieu Perreault, Jeff Schultz and others. The Capitals raised $10,095, which was the fourth-highest total in the NHL.
Though Alzner is fortunate to not have had anyone in his immediate family suffer from those types of health issues, he’s still quick to contribute to the cause. “Whenever I can help out with any sort of charity, it’s pretty much a no-brainer to grow a mustache and help people out,” he said.
He’s also glad to be on Parross’s team. “That’s a pretty famous mustache he has, so I’m happy to be a part of that,” he said.
Currently in Calgary with his new wife, Alzner is spending his time practicing with several Flames players and working out with a personal trainer.
Asked about his lockout plans, Alzner wasn’t quite sure yet whether he’ll end up playing for a team in Europe like some of the other Capitals.
“It’s a real tough decision. There’s so much that comes into play with that and finding the right place to play,” Alzner said. “It’s stuff I’ve been considering. I would like to continue playing and you can only do so much in a practice and a scrimmage. It would be really nice to come out and play some games but it’s a matter of the timing and the right place.”
In previous years, the NHL teams supported the players in their Movember initiative with promotion and updates. With the teams forbidden to associate with the players before a collective bargaining agreement is reached, the players are on their own, relying on Twitter to raise awareness.
Alzner says he’ll try to get his Capitals teammates to contribute to the Movember cause. “It’s definitely different,” he said. “Usually we do stuff like make an appearance at a school or hospital or playground. But this is kind of a funny thing. People start looking at us, and it brings a bit of laughter to the whole thing. People really enjoy this. Hopefully we’ll still have a few different styles to laugh at.”
Movember raises money for prostate and testicular cancer initiatives, working with charities like Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Livestrong Foundation. Click here to donate to Alzner’s page and here for Erskine’s page.
Update: Braden Holtby and several other Hershey Bears are also now participating. Click here to see their team page.