The Fort Wayne Komets have been struggling with a 2-3-2 start, but they've still found things to laugh about in the locker room. It's November, time for their annual Movember mustache-growing contest to raise awareness for men's health issues.
"Guys like to get on it and see what other guys look like, especially guys who can't grow a mustache like Kaleigh Schrock,'' Komets organizer Chris Auger said. "I think he's been going for two weeks now. He said he had the early lead, but I think that was on Day One before everybody's 5 o'clock shadow came in. He fell immediately to the back.''
As everyone lets out their inner caveman, some players can grow mustaches, and others have to use a marker to add some shade.
"Probably myself or Schrocky or (John) Dunbar have the worst ones,'' Brandon Marino said. ``Mickey (Lang) over there doesn't even have a 'stache. Auger's is pretty greasy, too, but he's just a pretty greasy guy. The worst one is Coyle. That's a full two weeks of growth right there.''
Jace "Babyface'' Coyle, a defenseman, may have the softest face of any player on the team.
Last year the Komets raised more than $2,400 for the cause after raising $600 the first time two years ago. Not all the mustaches looked good, but the money looks fantastic.
"I think everyone that is capable of getting a mustache will at least give it a go,'' defenseman Jeremy Gates said. "Not everyone's will be good, including myself, but the reason we do it is for the cause. Not to mention it's fun for us to see each other in mustaches.''
Auger has started a Komets Movember page on Facebook and on the official site, movember.com, where fans can search for the Komets' page and make donations. There will be plenty of pictures to chart the team's ... um ... growth.
One other benefit of the contest is that there's less time for the Komets to shave. With 14 games, this is their busiest month of the season and the most games they've played in November since 2002-03.
"It gives guys something to rally around and some common ground,'' Auger said. "It's always a fun conversation starter, too, when you are out in public. People look at you and just go, 'Why?' There is a reason for it. I'm not one of those who usually chooses to have this thing on my lip. A lot of the looks you get are priceless.''