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Nov. 25, 2012

by Alan Cross -

Since the first clean-shaven day in November, Grand Rapids Griffins players and front office staff have been growing out their moustaches for ‘Movember,’ a global initiative promoting men’s health awareness and treatment. Working alongside LIVESTRONG and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the movement focuses on raising vital awareness and funds for men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.

Mo Bros, the male participants in Movember, alongside their Mo Sistas, the women in their lives, raise funds by seeking sponsorship for their moustache. The effects from this selfless campaign are felt all around the world, completely changing the attitudes of men concerning the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of deadly diseases.

Not only has the moustache mission helped impact the world off of the ice, but the upper-lippers have also directed the Griffins towards governing the Midwest Division. Reigning first as a result of an eight-game winning streak, the Griffins players recognize the importance of their furry friends.

“I think that all of the moustaches are definitely the key to our success,” explained Trevor Parkes, acknowledging the might of the ‘mo.

“I just feel indestructible,” said Triston Grant, whose nose neighbor recently helped him record three points in a four-game stretch.

In particular, moustache-growing has helped Francis Pare continue to ascend the franchise’s all-time leaderboard. Pare became the fifth player in franchise history to reach 200 points after notching three points in a 5-3 win over Rockford on Nov. 9, and he became the fourth-highest scorer in Griffins history by passing Derek King with a two-point game in a 6-5 overtime win at Lake Erie on Nov. 16.

With an incredibly successful month in hockey, Pare believes that both the Griffins’ winning streak and his own success are no mere coincidence.

“Guys at the faceoff are looking at me and they’re scared,” he said. “It’s all about the moustache. I don’t deserve any of the credit; it’s the moustache giving me the power and the drive to score some goals. Every night we’re putting up some wins.”

On the ice, the moustache has transformed Pare into a wild animal.

“My moustache is like a tiger, it’s all over the place. And guys are looking at me and they can’t look at my moustache or in my eyes, they’re terrified. I can see that in your eyes too, actually.”

Last season, forward Mitch Callahan and defenseman Greg Amadio competed in a moustache-growing battle and raised $1,633 towards the fight for men’s health. This year, with the rest of his teammates in tow, Callahan returns to moustache arena to make a difference to a cause very dear to his heart.

“My grandpa just recently passed away from prostate cancer so it’s a huge honor for me to do this,” said Callahan. “I’m really proud of the guys for stepping up and taking action with this.”

Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan, who sports one of the more finely-tuned moustaches on the team, recognizes not only the camaraderie the moustaches have brought to the team, but also how their efforts transcend into the bigger picture of men’s health.

“I think the whole idea of it has gotten bigger, which is great to see,” says Hoggan. “Recognizing men’s health, prostate cancer, and being aware of it all. Supporting a cause like this is great and anything you can do to draw attention to it is good since people are dying from it.”

Undoubtedly, awareness has definitely increased for the Movember cause. Since its inception in 2004, donations have increased exponentially with each passing year. In its premiere year, Movember raised approximately $40,000 total. Last year, its participants were able to raise $126.3 million dollars.

Fans can donate through either directly to a member of the Griffins’ front office staff or to the players through the “Donate to Team” button. Individual player progress photos are available here and will be updated before the end of the month. Click here to view Movember progress photos.

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