There are a number of things you need to become a professional hockey player: natural ability, hand-eye coordination and exceptional cardiovascular strength, to name a few. Perhaps most important, though, is hair. (Relax, we said “perhaps.”) From Mike Commodore’s fuzzy fro to Ron Duguay’s epic flow, having a good lid is a big deal in the NHL — the right ‘do can leave as lasting an impression as a game-winning goal.
So, when Head & Shoulders needed a new Hair Ambassador, they took to the ice and selected Bobby Ryan from the Ottawa Senators. It’s a big responsibility to set on that flawless head of hair, but the 28-year-old right winger isn’t worried. He’s got just the right locks for the job.
Walk us through your grooming regimen.
When you picture hockey hair, it’s a guy in a helmet with a little bit coming out of the ear wells, right?
I’ve always said that less is more. During the season, being in and out of hats, helmets and different temperatures, our hair takes a beating. I try to go simple, basic. A cleansing shampoo and a little moisturizing serum. Then I run a comb through it and that’s about it. My wife was a hairdresser so I have a lot of stuff at my disposal, but for the most part I keep it clean and fluffy.
Hockey players seem to have the best hair. What makes great hockey hair?
It’s gotta have a little bit of a wave in it, I think. When you picture hockey hair, it’s a guy in a helmet with a little bit coming out of the ear wells, right? Those are the two distinct parts: a wave and enough to peak out of the helmet.
Who in the NHL, past or present, has the best head of hair?
Jaromír Jágr, for sure. He said recently that he would bring back the mullet. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but the mullet he wore in the ’90s was incredible. He’s bringing it back this year and, honestly, I can’t wait. That guy has a great salad. Great head of hair.
I was going to ask if you prefer to say ‘lid’ or ‘salad’ but I guess that’s my answer.
You gotta call it a salad. It’s picking up steam in the locker room. That’s your answer.
Would you rock a mullet if it came back?
I don’t think it would look good on me. Not in the cards for me. I have an oval face, so I don’t know if I can pull it off.
Yeah, THAT’S why you shouldn’t do it. You’re the Hair Ambassador for Head & Shoulders. What does that mean?
I’m still new at this, but we’re going to be doing a lot of cool things in the next little while. They have a new campaign called Shoulders of Greatness. I’m excited for it. It’s cool to work with this brand because it’s so iconic and I was using all the products to begin with. How can you say no? It’s still early but I’m excited to see what comes. The motto is “Shoulders are meant to carry greatness, not dandruff.” And it can’t be any truer.
Have they asked you not to shave your head?
Not outright, but I imagine they wouldn’t be impressed! I don’t think it was in the cards for me in the near future anyway. I think I’m going to grow it out.
We interviewed Michael Del Zotto not too long ago and asked about his preseason prep. What does your own look like?
For me, I’ll put on weight like this [snaps] if I take time off. I have to battle every day to not go on eating binges. I get into a system where I cut carbs almost 100 per cent during the summer. Which is hard, because I live in Idaho and the potatoes we get there are the best. I have a lean meat and plant diet for a good portion of the summer. Once I start skating, I’m burning a lot more calories so I start to reintroduce sweet potato and pasta. When you get away from it for a while, and then start to eat them again, you can really feel the energy kick back in. The rest of my diet stays pretty consistent. I don’t take off weight quite as quickly as other people. I struggle with it.
What food is your weakness?
Peanut butter. Anything with peanut butter — mousse, bread…anything. A slice of bread with peanut butter is everything. It takes a lot for me not to eat it day in and day out. In terms of real food, potatoes and fries. Driving through Idaho, you can smell them. It makes my eyes water a little bit.
Lastly, who do you think has better hockey hair: Americans or Canadians?
Oh jeez, you’re putting me on the spot. I’m an American playing for a Canadian team and living in Canada. I’m going to say Americans. I’m saying it to a Canadian publication, too. We have better hair in the States.