Grooming

The Hometown Hero Gets his Head (and Shoulders) in the Game

Zach Hyman Just Might Have the Best Hair in the NHL

Henrik Lundqvist. Erik Karlsson. Jaromir Jagr. Steven Stamkos. There’s one common thread that ties these hockey legends together, and no, it’s not All-Star Game appearances or Olympic medals. It’s the hair.

Whether you call it salad or flow, maintaining a good head of hockey hair is as celebrated of a skill in the NHL as faceoff wins or shorthanded goals. (Case in point: even the Great One was well-aware of its importance.) And now you can go ahead and add the Leafs’ Zach Hyman to that list.

The Toronto left-winger recently teamed up with Head & Shoulders for the brand’s new Headstrong campaign, and while he may not have Lundqvist-level locks (yet), he’s a perfect fit for a campaign dedicated to celebrating confidence and pushing through adversity – and of course, good hair.

That’s because Hyman is well acquainted with rising to the challenge, going from a former fifth-round pick to playing on the first line for the team he grew up rooting for in Forest Hill. (He’s also a published author, having written three children’s books, and earlier this year, launched his own eSports company, E11 Gaming.1)

I got on the ice with Hyman at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga to talk to the Leafs’ homegrown star about the perfect hockey flow, helmet hair, and what being headstrong means to him.

TITLE: So how’d you get involved with Head & Shoulders?

 ZACH HYMAN: I’ve used Head & Shoulders for a long time. When you play hockey, you want to get something good to clean your hair and scalp, and Head & Shoulders was always in the locker room. Then I heard about their Headstrong campaign. How it’s about overcoming adversity through confidence. And I found it so relatable to me as a hockey player and author.

What does being headstrong mean to you? Because it seems to fit your style of play on the ice pretty perfectly.

Not just in hockey, but in life – people doubt themselves and they go through hard times. And the ability to find your confidence and push through that and pursue your goal, whatever it is, is something that I think is really important.

What are some of the things you’ve had to push through in your own career?

Oh man. As a hockey player, you’ve got lots of ups and downs. You’ve got times where things are going great and everybody loves you, and it’s awesome. That’s when it’s easy. Then there are times when maybe the puck’s not going in the net for you, and then you’ve got to find your confidence. As a player, that happens. As a team, that happens too.

Have you been thinking about your hair more as a result of this?

[Laughs.] Yeah. I’ve been getting tons of compliments after my Head & Shoulders haircut. I think I’m going to be keeping this hairstyle.

No plans for a Jagr mullet in your future?

No. [Laughs.] But I got some volume now.

Winter, especially in Canada, can be pretty tough on guys’ hair. But I assume it’s probably even tougher for hockey players, since you’ve got helmets on all the time. What’s worse – hat hair or helmet hair?

Probably helmet hair, because you smell afterwards. If you’ve got a nice clean hat – hopefully you keep your hats clean – you don’t smell.

Can you walk me through your grooming regimen? Is it part of your pregame routine, or is it strictly a postgame thing?

Well, pregame you want to look good. You’re rocking a suit. When you’re coming to the rink, you want to have confidence and feel good about yourself. So I always shower before I go to the rink. I’ll dry my hair, put a little gel in.

All right, here’s the big question: who’s got the best hair on the Leafs? You can say yourself.

Me, right now. [Laughs.] No… Well, Willy’s not here. Willy Nylander’s got great hair. Hopefully he comes back.2 But if not, I’ll just keep the title.

What about in the rest of the NHL?

In the league? Hmm. Henrik Lundqvist also partnered with Head & Shoulders; he’s got pretty iconic hair. Jagr, obviously in the past, had that mullet, and everybody recognizes him as having “the hockey flow.” But there’s a bunch of guys. I think hair is often associated with hockey players.

The Leafs have experienced a real rebirth in recent years. Has that been extra special for you to be a part of, as someone who grew up rooting for this team?

Oh, yeah. Definitely. You know, we have a bunch of guys who are from the area. Obviously, JT [John Tavares] came back home to play with us. I think when you grow up in the city, you understand how important the Leafs are to the community, and to kids in general. You want to play for the Leafs when you’re a kid; you always have that kind of desire. So it’s pretty special.

 

References   [ + ]

1. Even pro athletes have side hustles these days.
2. Spoiler alert: he’s back. A few days after this interview, the star forward finally agreed to a new six-year contract with the Leafs. (Still no word on whether Hyman’s relinquished the title yet.)