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15 Gnarly Hockey Faces

by: Esteban On  Monday, January 23, 2012

gnarly hockey faces

The NHL is not a place for guys who take great pride in their good looks and impeccable bone structure. In fact, if you have reservations about suffering permanent facial disfigurement, you might want to think about taking up another sport.

The Edmonton Oilers’ Taylor Hall certainly know what I’m talking about. Last week, the 20-year-old up-and-comer had a pretty scary rendezvous with the skate blade of teammate Corey Potter during the warmup for a game between the Oilers and Blue Jackets. Now he’s got one of the nastiest hockey scars we’ve seen in a long time (which, ironically, will probably only help him with the ladies, because hockey chicks dig scars).

Today, in celebration of Taylor Hall’s new face decoration, here are 15 amazingly messed up hockey mugs we’ve seen throughout the years. If you didn’t realize how badass hockey players were before, you definitely will after you check this out.

But be warned: some of the images that follow are not for the faint of heart.

15. Jody Shelley

jody shelley

Let’s kick things off with a mild one, shall we?

The Philadelphia Flyers’ Jody Shelley truly has the face of an NHL enforcer, doesn’t he? Of course, his mug doesn’t look like this all the time; this is just his game face. But you get the idea—hockey players’ faces take a beating.

14. Darren McCarty

Darren McCarty bloody hockey fight

Darren McCarty was an enforcer for the Red Wings for 11 years before signing with the Calgary Flames for a few years after the lockout. As you can see from this photo, he didn’t change his ways when he headed out west.

I particularly like this grizzly hockey image because, if you were doing makeup for a fight scene in a movie, you would make it look like this.

13. Aaron Voros

aaron voros bloody hockey face

This former Duck hasn’t spent a ton of time in the NHL (about 162 games, to be precise), but he always tries to make an impression while he’s there. And though he didn’t score any goals in his 12 games during the 2010-11 season, he did give us this lovely hockey face. Sure, there probably wasn’t any permanent damage, but it was a pretty gross sight at the time.

12. Willie Mitchell

willie mitchell kings hockey scar

Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell shows it aint easy standing in front of the net all the time. Cause, you know, sometimes pucks hit you in the face. Sure, hockey players could wear full face masks. But then they wouldn’t get awesome stitches like this.

11. Matt Hendricks

matt hendricks capitals hockey stitches

Fans of the HBO series 24/7 got to see this close-up of Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks last year. The stitches really aren’t as bad at those of #12 Willie Mitchell, but Hendricks has the bloody eye and dramatic lighting working for him.

10. Mats Sundin

mats sundin hockey scar

Maple Leafs legend (who never won a Cup) Mats Sundin was a big guy, but he was known more for his ability to put the puck in the net than his willingness to drop the gloves. But even the most sportsmanlike players get his in the face with a stick or a puck from time to time, and Mats was no exception. This particular look was probably the most grizzled one he ever sported during his 18-season NHL career.

9. Taylor Hall

taylor hall hockey scar

Coming in at #9 is the guy who inspired the list. Here we have Taylor Hall showing his nasty stitches to reporters last week after that freak run-in with Corey Potter.

So let this be a lesson to all you youngsters out there: don’t slip and fall during a casual skate, then slide into your teammate’s freshly sharpened skate blade. Or, if you insist of falling and colliding with your teammate’s skate bland, just make sure you’re wearing a helmet with a visor.

8. Steve Yzerman

steve yzerman bloody eye hockey

Here we have Red Wings legend Stevie Y doing his best impression of a horror movie victim. Actually, the more I look like it, I think he might look more like the horror movie killer than the horror movie victim.

Regardless, Yzerman obviously had a rough day at the office when this photo was taken. (Not that you would have heard him complain about it.)

7. Ian Laperriere

ian laperriere puck to face hockey injury

Ian Laperriere was a feisty player who grinded out a nice, long NHL career. Or maybe teams just felt sorry that the poor guy took so many pucks to the kisser that they kept him around out of pity.

Nah, I’m just kidding. He was good. You don’t score 21 goals in the NHL (with the Avs in 2005-06) out of pity.

Still, that is one jacked up hockey face.

6. James Wisniewski

james-wisniewski-face-puck bloody hockey injury

Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski has gotten some bad press for administering some nasty hits in recent years. There was the 8-game suspension for a hit to former Blackhawk teammate Brent Seabrook in 2010, and then this year he was suspended for another 8 games for a hit on Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck. But judging from this photo, Wisniewski is not unfamiliar with nasty injuries.

This, folks, is what hockey players look like before they get the stitches.

Not pretty, is it?

5. Jacques Plante


You know the guy who invented the goalie mask must have taken a few too many pucks to the face. So of course Jacques Plante makes the list. However, as this photo shows, those early face masks didn’t really provide all that much protection—they were more for peace of mind.

4. Lou Fontinato

lou fontinato hockey face gordie howe

Former New York Ranger and Montreal Canadien Lou Fontinato found out the hard way that the worst part about a Gordie Howe Hat Trick was the fight.

And as you can see, in the olden days, when someone threatened to “rearrange your face,” they literally meant they were going to move your nose an inch to the right. Ouch.

3. Ryan O'Byrne

ryan o'byrne gruesome hockey injury

Everyone’s talking about the injury to Taylor Hall these days, but last year Taylor Hall was on the giving end of a nasty skate-related injury.

Avs defenseman Ryan O’Byrne had a chunk of flesh taken out of his face when Hall was upended and his skate nicked O’Byrne’s cheek. As you can see, the result was pretty gruesome.

What’s that? You want to see the video? Okay, here you go:

2. Darryl Boyce

darryl boyce hockey nose injury

No, this is not photoshopped. This guy’s nose really was almost sliced off.

In February of 2011, poor Maple Leaf Darryl Boyce (no, not exactly a household name) found out that you really, really do not want to go face-first into the glass where they have those holes cut out for cameras. Even still, the guy’s a hockey player, so he wasn’t freaking out or anything. In fact, he’s the one who tweeted the photos of his sliced up nose prior to getting stitches.

1. Borje Salming

borje salming hockey scar

At #1 we have yet another Maple Leaf. This time it’s Borje Salming, who was kind enough to show us all what it would look like if someone stepped on your face with the blade of a hockey skate. The incident occurred during a game between the Leafs and Wings in 1986, and the injury required surgery and over 200 stitches.

So thanks, Borje!