The playoff beard is an overrated phenomenon. I’m sorry. Not shaving: anyone can do it. Now, the cultivation of a handsome mustache is another matter. And the NHL might lay claim to the first truly great mustache of the modern era in professional sports: Derek Sanderson’s 1970-71 season display, here memorialized on a classic Sports Illustrated cover:
Note well that cover date. This is a full season before Rollie Fingers began growing what would become his famous mustache during 1972 spring training. I might add that Fingers’ twirly style was a tribute to the look of baseball players out of nineteenth century vintage photographs, whereas Sanderson’s was an irony-free icon of the 1970s, and hence, in my view, a more authentic emblem of its times.