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(Left) Jacob Bloomfield, a junior, is a goalie for the Ohio hockey team. 

(Middle) Graham Harwood, a junior, is a defender for the Ohio hockey team. 

(Right) Gabe Lampron, a junior, is a forward for the Ohio hockey team. 

Hockey players embrace the 'hockey lifestyle' on and off the ice with hair flow

Hockey players talk hair care and the lifestyle of flow, a cultural phenomenon in the hockey world. 

Ohio goalie Jake Bloomfield credits his highest percentage of saves this season to not only his hard work, but also his hair.

“For as long as I’ve been growing (my hair) out, I’ve been playing the best hockey I’ve been playing in my entire life,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve actually grown it out.”

When Bloomfield realized his long hair was a good luck charm to his 94 percent save rate for the 2015 season, he decided to let it grow. Bloomfield, whose hair is now 10 inches long, has been growing out his hair since fall 2014.

Hockey players' long hair, or “flow,” is a cultural movement hockey teams endorse across the country and, for the players, is more than just a hairstyle.

“Flow is not so much (about) the looks that come with it, it’s more of the lifestyle that comes with it,” defenseman Graham Harwood said. “It’s being for the boys at all times, like, never putting yourself before anybody on the team.”

Harwood, who has participated in the flow movement two or three times, said players who choose to have flow need to commit to the entire process, which builds camaraderie and can help a team bond. The stage between short hair and flow is dubbed “hockey flow in progress” and has many awkward growing stages.

“You have to wear a hat for at least the first five or six months because your hair just looks ridiculous in between the short hair and the long hair,” Harwood said. “A lot of the guys will say you don’t want to cut it in the middle of the season because that’s bad chi.”

Players who grow out their hair and facial hair sometimes do not cut it until the regular season ends in February. Ohio started its playoff season Feb. 21 and starts its American Collegiate Hockey Association tournament March 4. After the team's loss over the weekend, many players shaved their facial hair including Bloomfield, who had been grooming a beard for the past two months to go with his flow.

In January, Harwood lost his locks after donating 10 inches to Locks of Love

Harwood added that other players on the team cut their hair into mullets when the season ends. One year he said the team got bowl cuts and it did not look good on any of them, but most of the time, players don’t cut it and just try to get used to playing with long hair up and down the ice.

“Sometimes if you hit somebody pretty hard, it can get in your eyes a little — you gotta take it — but when you take it off to fix it, it looks pretty good,” Gabe Lampron, left wing for Ohio, said.

Depending on how the season ends, Lampron said he might end up cutting it for the summer because the long hair can be annoying to tame in the heat.

As a goalie, Bloomfield said his neck guard pulls on his hair and he has to wear a headband to make sure his hair isn't stuck in his helmet or in his eyes while in the goal.

For it to grow out the way he wanted, Lampron’s hair, now at shoulder length, had to be trained constantly with the proper hair products and grease control throughout his year-and-a-half growing period.

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“You always have to have a hat pushing it back or it’ll grow out all weird,” Lampron said. “Sometimes we don’t even have shampoo, so it just gets all greasy. The key is Mane ‘N Tail. It’s horse shampoo and conditioner. Ever since high school, the kids who had long hair told me I had to use it. Six years later, I’ve been using it ever since. Even when I had short hair that’s the best stuff.”

Bloomfield said the idea of flow always has been connected to hockey and there has been a handful of players who have participated in the culture.

“It’s kind of like a hockey lifestyle. The flow is just the way it is. Everyone just kind of knows that hockey players have long hair and mullets and stuff,” Lampron said. “Girls like it, it looks good coming out of the helmet and that’s why I grow it out.”


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