‘Movember’ is a success for Canisius hockey team

Mustaches support good cause, look great

Hockey players have a reputation as being a good-looking group of guys. Never is this truer than the month of November – or as they call it, Movember – when players grow mustaches all month long in support of prostate cancer awareness.

Some of the mustache-wielding players, including Coach Dave Smith, pose for a picture after practice this week.

The Canisius College hockey team joined forces with players and teams across the globe through Movember.com, which is quite literally committed to changing the face of men’s health awareness.

Even coach Dave Smith joined the party this year, but he wanted his players to do it for the right reasons, not just because the NHL guys do it, too.

“He pushed not just growing the mustache, but being more knowledgeable about what it really stands for,” said junior forward and mustache virtuoso Torrey Lindsay, whose uncle had prostate cancer. “He was kind of pushing that everyone know, if somebody asked you what Movember was, you’d be able to explain it to them. So if you saw someone with a moustache in November, it’s gaining awareness for prostate cancer.”

The NFL does a great job supporting breast cancer awareness by wearing pink throughout October, but men’s health awareness month in November often goes under the radar. Movember is doing its best to change that.

“By putting a fun twist on a serious issue, Movember aims to change the way a large number of men think about and treat their health,” its website reads. “The moustache is Movember’s catalyst for change and will be used to bring about change and give men the opportunity and confidence to talk about their health with friends and family.

“[Supporters] effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November. Through their actions and words, they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.”

Senior captain Scott Moser will admit that the team hadn’t gone all-out for the movement in years past, but this year all the guys got in on it and he enjoyed it. He forgot about his mustache the first day he had it, and then looked in the mirror and said “Oh my gosh, I have to go to school like this.” But the more players who joined in, the easier it became.

Junior forward Preston Shupe, also a captain, made it known early in the month that players were to register with the website and start growing mustaches. When Lindsay’s started coming in (he took a head start), players took notice, and once Coach Smith made the commitment, everyone knew they should too.

“We were surprised because [coach] didn’t say anything about it, and then he just came in for a pregame talk like a week into November and he shaved off his chin hair and his pregame speech was all about Movember and being committed to things,” Moser said.

“He was like, ‘you know what, I’m going to be committed to Movember this year. We’re going to be committed to playing team games, so if you guys want to commit to Movember, I’m all in.’ ”

“I’m motivated,” Smith said. “I thought Movember was a great cause, but I wasn’t committed. So I said, ‘I’m going to commit to doing what you guys are doing and I’m going with Movember,’ and it feels great. …A lot of people asked about it because it is out of character for me [to wear a mustache], but it feels good to tell people why were doing it as a group and be a small part of something bigger.”

About a week later, senior goaltender Dan Morrison gave a lecture in the locker room. He had given a speech about Movember for his Oral Communication class, and Smith suggested he do the same for the team so everyone was clear on what the mustaches were about.

So Morrison gathered his note cards in the middle of the dressing room and addressed his teammates. He rattled off some info about when you should start getting checked – age 50 for most men; 40 if there’s a history of it in your family – before giving the damming statistic that 1 in 6 American men will develop prostate cancer. Then he looked around the room. That’s four of five of his teammates and coaches who will eventually have it.

The U.S. has the highest rate of prostate cancer of any country Movember partners with (followed by Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland) and it is estimated that prostate cancer will kill 33,000 Americans 2011, according to numbers Movember publishes from its research partners in each country.

From seniors to freshmen, the Griffs are doing their best to support the cause and spread awareness.

“I was a newbie to Movember, so I thought it was a hockey thing, just doing it for fun or to stand out, but then I realized it’s for prostate cancer so it’s for a good cause that means something,” said freshman Logan Roe, who enjoys his facial hair freedom after attending a prep school that mandated a clean shave.

“There’s a lot of different styles [of mustaches], too,” Moser said. “There’s just the straight mustache, you have the handle bar, I kept the flavor savor… you get food kind of stuck in it, so it’s the flavor savor down there. Then there’s the pirate look, when you keep a little bit on the chin.”

Lindsay’s mustache is certainly impressive, but the players are quick to give the best ‘stache award to a pair of sophomores, forward Taylor Law and goalie Tony Capobianco, both of whom turn 22 this winter. They are earning the Griffs respect on the ice as well as off it.

Goalie Tony Capobianco, voted one of the best mustaches on the team.

Lake Superior State’s coach made them shave for the team picture,” Moser said. “Usually when you’re walking through the handshake line, you don’t say anything, but a couple of them were like ‘man, you’ve got a great bunch of dusters on your team.’ I was like, ‘thank you very much!’ ”

The players weren’t even aware that they had raised $115 for men’s heath by way of their page on Movember.com. The top earning member on the team page was play-by-play announcer Nate Lull at $25, and most of the donations earned by the players came from Lull’s girlfriend, who gave $5 to each player registered on the site.

“Basically, Preston Shupe came to me this year and said ‘you did a great job helping us last year, would you want to participate this year?’ I tried to help the guys out by saying it as much as I could on the air, so maybe family and friends would go to the website,” Lull said. “They really got into the spirit of it this year. Torrey Linday, Taylor Law, Braeden Rigney…it was pretty incredible.”

The money will go toward Movember’s global funds, which have grown exponentially since startup in 2003. Movember now has over 1 million “Mo Bros” and “Mo Sistas” registered across the globe and has raised over $170 million for the cause – and neither of those are including numbers from 2011.

Movember took the NHL by storm this year, backed by the likes of Twitter mogul Paul “Biz Nasty” Bissonnette and the legendary mustache memento that is Jonas Hiller’s goalie mask, which is covered with pictures of his teammates, all with crazy facial hair drawn on. Locally, several Sabres like Thomas Vanek and T.J. Brennan got attention for their mustaches.

As November comes to a close and the Griffs look forward to shaving, something they’d like to do better next year is start it up sooner, to get more publicity for it and raise more money. Moser said he’d even like to see other teams on campus – men’s teams, that is – put down their razors and support the cause.

And then the senior had a great idea: Next year, the team should do a mustache night as a promotion.

“We should hand out fake mustaches to everyone at the game. I’d even come back for that one.”

It could turn into one of the most successful promotions the team has ever had. They’ll need to start planning it soon – it’s just 11 months until Movember starts up again.

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NFL Week 12 picks

With one career rushing touchdown to his name, this may be top-10 draft pick C.J. Spiller’s last shot to prove he isn’t a bust.

JETS (-9) over Bills

ST. LOUIS (-3) over Arizona

CINCINNATI (-7) over Cleveland

JACKSONVILLE (+3.5) over Houston

Carolina (-3.5) over INDIANAPOLIS

TENNESSEE (-3) over Tampa Bay

ATLANTA (-9.5) over Minnesota

Chicago (+4.5) over OAKLAND

SEATTLE (-3.5) over Washington

New England (-3) over PHILADELPHIA

Denver (+6) over SAN DIEGO

Pittsburgh (-10.5) over KANSAS CITY*

NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Giants

Overall

Skurski: 78-73-6 (4-6-1)
Game Seven 77-74-6 (4-5-1)
Northrop: 76-75-6 (6-4-1)
McKissic: 74-77-6 (5-6)
Gaughan: 73-78-6 (5-5-1)
DiCesare: 71-80-6 (5-5-1)
Sullivan: 70-81-6 (6-4-1)

Last week

Bills (+2 1/2) at Miami
Miami
Dolphins 35-8. Win
Tennessee (+6) at Atlanta
Atlanta
Falcons 23-17. Push
Cincinnati (+7) at Baltimore
Ravens
Ravens 31-24. Push
Jacksonville (pick) at Cleveland
Jags
Browns 14-10. Loss
Oakland at Minnesota (+1)
Raiders
Raiders 27-21. Win
Carolina (+7) at Detroit
Detroit
Lions 49-35. Win
Tampa Bay (+14) at Green Bay
Green Bay
Packers 35-26. Loss
Dallas at Washington (+7 1/2)
Dallas
Cowboys 27-24. Loss
Arizona (+9 1/2) at San Francisco
49ers
49ers 23-7. Win
Seattle (+1 1/2) at St. Louis
Seattle
Seahawks 24-7. Win
San Diego (+3 1/2) at Chicago
Bears
Bears 31-20. Win
Philadelphia (+4 1/2) at Giants
Giants*
Eagles 17-10. Loss
Kansas City (+14 1/2) at New England
Pats
Patriots 34-3. Win
7-4-2

NFL Week 11 picks

The Bills' offense is averaging 9.0 ppg over the last two weeks. Miami is 2-0 over that stretch. Ryan Fitzpatrick just signed a nice big contract...but since he's looked more like a ball boy than an NFL starter.

The Buffalo-Miami rivalry is about as dead as it’s ever been.

Buffalo is in the hunt and the Dolphins are at the bottom of the league. This week should have been about the hurting the Bills are about to lay on their alleged rivals. Instead, it’s been about the goose eggs the Bills laid in back-to-back weeks and the two-game winning streak the ‘Fins have ripped off.

On one hand, it’s good Miami is winning — it might keep Andrew Luck out of the division. On the other hand, this is Miami. We shouldn’t want them to win, ever. This is supposed to be a rivalry.

Rivalry are based on hate. Nobody cares anymore. Indifference doesn’t get our players to go out for blood and it doesn’t get people in Buffalo extra pumped for these two Sundays out of the year. Zero and sixteen. That should be what we want Miami to finish every single year. Dead last.

I don’t know if the Bills have it in them this week. The last two weeks have been terrible and Chan’s offense hasn’t been able to do anything. Maybe this rivalry still exists in South Beach.

Bills (+2 1/2) at Miami
Miami

Tennessee (+6) at Atlanta
Atlanta

Cincinnati (+7) at Baltimore
Ravens

Jacksonville (pick) at Cleveland
Jags

Oakland at Minnesota (+1)
Raiders

Carolina (+7) at Detroit
Detroit

Tampa Bay (+14) at Green Bay
Green Bay

Dallas at Washington (+7 1/2)
Dallas

Arizona (+9 1/2) at San Francisco
49ers

Seattle (+1 1/2) at St. Louis
Seattle

San Diego (+3 1/2) at Chicago
Bears

Philadelphia (+4 1/2) at Giants
Giants*

Kansas City (+14 1/2) at New England
Pats

Overall

Skurski: 72-68-4 (4-6)
Northrop: 70-70-4 (5-4-1)
Game Seven 70-70-4 (4-4-1)
McKissic: 69-71-4 (5-5)
Sullivan: 66-74-4 (5-4-1)
Gaughan: 68-72-4 (4-5-1)
DiCesare: 67-73-4 (5-4-1)

Last week:

Bills (+5.5) over DALLAS
Cowboys 44-7. Loss

Pittsburgh (-3) over CINCINNATI
Steelers 24-17. Win

Denver (+3) over KANSAS CITY
Broncos 17-10. Win

Jacksonville (-3) over INDIANAPOLIS*
Jags 17-3. Win

TAMPA BAY (+3) over Houston
Texans 37-9. Loss

CAROLINA (-3) over Tennessee
Titans 30-3. Loss

Washington (+3.5) over MIAMI
Dolphins 20-9. Loss

New Orleans (pick) over ATLANTA
Saints 26-23. Win

Detroit (+2 1/2) over CHICAGO
Bears 37-17. Loss

CLEVELAND (-2.5) over St. Louis
Rams 13-12. Loss

PHILADELPHIA (-9) over Arizona
Cardinals 21-17. Loss

Baltimore (-6.5) over SEATTLE
Seahawks 22-17. Loss

Giants (+3.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
49ers 27-20. Loss

New England (+1.5) over JETS
Pats 37-16. Win

Minnesota (+13.5) over GREEN BAY
Pack 45-7. Loss

5-10

Overall

Northrop: 66-59-4 (4-4-1)
Skurski: 66-59-4 (4-5)
Game Seven 68-70-4 (4-4-1)
Gaughan: 62-63-4 (3-5-1)
DiCesare: 62-63-4 (5-2-1)
McKissic: 62-63-4 (5-4)
Sullivan: 59-66-4 (4-4-1)

Sandusky is pinnacle of generation shaped by scandal

I never understood what people meant when they said “it’s a different world.” Different from what? When I was growing up, all that meant was my mom never let us buy anything from the ice cream man.

Slowly but surely, I started to get it. I was 10 years old in August 2002, when Major League Baseball was hours away from canceling the remainder of the season. A strike? I thought that was when you threw a pitch over the plate. I didn’t know you could go on one.

The players and owners reached a last-minute agreement to save the season — and my elementary school faith in the world.

I was a little bit wiser by September 2004, when the NHL announced the cancellation of the entire season because of the lockout. I still didn’t know anything about labor unions or collective bargaining, but my middle school brain was able to understand that there was some type of problem that both sides needed to work on.

I remember December 2007 like it was yesterday. I darted out of ninth-period math class and missed my shot at asking a pretty girl to the winter dance because I was in a hurry to get home and read the Mitchell Report — 409 pages of never-before-seen information about illegal use of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, the result of a commission led by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell.

I obviously didn’t read the entire thing that afternoon, but I remember it being the first time I seriously thought ESPN was lying to me. I couldn’t believe how many “good guys” were connected with the stuff. In total, seven former MVPs and 31 former All-Stars (covering all nine positions) were named in the report.

I sat at my computer and kept hitting the refresh button. I wanted the page to change, but every time it gave me the same grave report. Roger Clemens’ MLB-record seven Cy Young Awards? Reported to be helped by steroids. Eric Gagne’s consecutive saves record? Tainted. Barry Bonds’ and Rafael Palmeiro’s record-breaking home run totals? Those were in question even before the report, but this really did them in.

Living through the Steroid Era changed the way sports fans view the world. We question every accomplishment and second-guess every athlete. If someone has a breakout season, my first thought is “What’s he on?” The Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista had never hit more than 16 home runs in a season over the first six years of his career, then exploded for 97 over the last two seasons. I want him to be a cool story about a hard-working guy, but “naive” isn’t even beginning to describe someone who isn’t at least considering PEDs.

College athletics were the last haven in all of sports — and then those crumbled too. USC and Ohio State headlined an extensive group of programs with major violations that went all the way to the top of the institutions. Not trusting professionals was one thing — it’s all money, money, money with them — but college kids weren’t supposed to be that way.

We’re drawn to good stories in sports and we flock to athletes who manage to retain their innocence. People have mixed feelings about Duke but everyone respects Coach K. and what he’s done for that program. Tebow Mania swept the nation as he ran through SEC defenses while staying humble and devoted.

Joe Paterno’s Penn State football program was the last of a dying breed. It had character. It had respect. The Nittany Lions’ no-nonsense uniforms were a reflection of the discipline that was the backbone of the program.

And now it’s dead.

A new story comes out about Jerry Sandusky every day, about the children he abused and the adults who didn’t do enough to stop it. It’s not going to get any better. I won’t understand any recruits who still choose to attend PSU in the fall — recruits can be released from their NLI’s if the coach is fired — and I won’t understand any current players who stay with the program instead of transferring.

I tried to read the Grand Jury report on Sandusky, but I just couldn’t do it. It makes me sick. I got to page 2 before reading that he performed and received oral sex from an 11-year-old and had to stop.

Penn State finally hired a PR firm that specializes in dealing with dire situations, but it’s a little too late for that. That should have been the first thing the school did. I’ve already talked to students in public relations classes who are doing projects on how not to handle a situation: the Penn State story. The school just needs to start over; clean house and rebuild from the top.

Joe Paterno had coached Penn State since 1966, being a beacon of character and honesty through the murk of big-time college athletics. And in a matter of days, his school and his reputation crashed and burned amid a scandal that keeps getting worse. The last program we thought we could trust went up in smoke — and we won’t be trusting anyone again any time soon.

Griffs left off final roster at U.S. Olympic tryouts

Olympic dreams for three Canisius College synchronized swimmers came to an end Tuesday night, when USA Synchro announced the final cuts it made following this weekend’s tryout.

Senior Jessica Grogan, junior Missy Andrews and sophomore Jessica Mancini had advanced all the way to the final round of 15 swimmers before the last six cuts were made on the roster that USA Synchro will submit to the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Being left off the roster did not come as a surprise to swimmers, who were exciting to make it as far as they did. Sunday night, Andrews said they were “sure” they weren’t going to make the team.

“We weren’t horribly far off, but enough that it’s clear,” the junior said from her hotel room in North Carolina. The three flew back to Buffalo Monday morning, a full day and a half before the roster was announced.

Michelle Moore, a native a Tonawanda, N.Y. who has since moved to California to train more extensively, made the team. The official release from USA Synchro can be found here.