Last hockey season I reported on the newly blonding of Dallas Stars players Darryl Sydor and Grant Marshall. I watched in awe as the newly towheaded duo flashed past the TV cameras with their platinum locks gleaming under their helmets.
I was fascinated and intrigued by the blonding. What did it mean? Even as I covered the news of their new blonde locks for this site I still did not know why they did it. There had to be more to the story. Geez, there just had to be some cool scoop in there somewhere.
My mind jangled with the endless possibilities. Maybe they lost a bet, had to dye their locks platinum and get an unknown body part pierced. Or maybe they were auditioning for the cover of GQ and wanted to look contemporary from head to toe. After all, Darryl is famous for his classy off-the-ice wardrobe (Move over Mike Modano). Or maybe.....
After my curiosity had almost killed me I managed to wrangle a phone interview (thanks Tom) with the newly hued guys and get the inside scoop on why they had adopted their hot new hair colors.
When I finally caught up with the very charming and witty Darryl and Grant it was at the end of last season, right after the Stanley Cup loss. Darryl, Grant and their families were packing up to go back to their native Canada to escape the hot Dallas summer.
Believe it or not the guys did not want to talk about the past hockey season. Instead they were very willing to give me the whole scoop on their blonding escapades.
Do Blondes Have More Fun?
According to the guys, the whole blonde hair adventure actually started approximately two years ago when they pondered the possibility of going blonde. The idea got punched up when Scott Thornton arrived at the Stars from Montreal. Scott burst onto the Dallas hockey scene with a full head of bleached blonde hair.
Scott gave Grant and Darryl more pause for thought about doing the blonde trip. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the two wives were strongly in favor of blonde hubbies. Grant told me that he teased his wife Jennifer that she probably always secretly wanted to marry a blonde. Since I didn't hear from Jennifer I guess we will never know for sure. (pssst Jennifer, you can email me if you want to spill your guts on this one).
Darryl told me that even though he was interested in trying the blonde look he had some initial doubts. He was just not sure how he would look.
After much speculation and some nudging from Grant, he and Darryl made a pack to take the platinum plunge.
Blonding By Billy
Darryl and Grant popped into the North Dallas Jose Eber salon for the blonde deed. Although the guys normally trust their famous locks to Eber's Rheinart, they checked their heads in with color expert Billy for the actually blonding.
Billy wove his color magic on Grant with little effort. Since Grant had lighter hair than Darryl his color was a breeze to accomplish. Grant confessed that the bleach did sting a little but just a tiny bit. The result was a fabulous platinum.
Much darker hued Darryl was more of a challenge for Billy and required two applications of bleach. Even with the added steps Darryl and Grant turned out to have slightly different shades of blonde. While Grant's hair came out a great shade of white, Darryl's hair was less white and more yellow blonde.
I asked the guys where Jose was for this monumental event. Apparently he was out of town. However, Grant told me that he has spied glimpses of Jose from time to time and he always had on his trademark cowboy hat.
Ouch - Beauty Hurts
Darryl admitted that he was less thrilled with the blonde adventure than Grant. When I asked him why, Darryl explained that due to his very dark natural color Billy had to apply the bleach twice to get the proper results. As Darryl put it, the blonde came with a painful price. Unlike the slight sting that Grant experienced, the bleach stung and burned Darryl's very sensitive scalp. In fact it burned both times that the bleach was applied.
Did it burn less the second time he had the bleach job? Nope, according to Darryl, it hurt a lot both times.
But did they like the look? Grant told me that he immediately loved the new look. In fact, he liked it so much that he and Darryl actually went back to Billy and had the blonde treatment done twice during the season. Even though Grant had a darker colored beard, he liked the way that it blended with his naturally lighter hair. Jennifer loved it and so did the fans.
Darryl told me that it took him a day or so to get used to the new look. Once he did, he liked it and thought it was a good decision. The longer he had the blonde color the more he liked it. So did his wife.
OK OK. So why did they do it? Did they lose a bet, take a dare or decide to match new hair with some unusual tattoos? Was this a way to kill the controversial hockey mullet of days gone by? Or were they following a new hockey hair trend? After all, some of the St. Louis and Detroit players went blonde during the same point in the season.
The guys told me that the press asked them the very same question. Cool. At least I had some company in my curiosity.
Grant and Darryl told me that the sports press originally thought that they went blonde as part of some secret good luck ritual or because the Stars made it to Stanley Cup.
The real reason? Grant and Darryl agreed that they did it for the image. They wanted to demonstrate their style and class. Bottom line, going blonde seemed like a very fashionable thing to do. They both noted that the overall image of hockey players is changing. The days of hockey players sporting the famous mullet dos is long gone. Many players, like Darryl and Grant, are embracing a more fashion conscious image.
Darryl told me that he really loves to wear all the latest looks in clothing and accessories. Keeping with his love of fashion he felt it was only natural to change his image to match the hot new trend in hair color for men.
Darryl also pointed out that the fashion world has been slow to notice that hockey players are definitely making some excellent fashion statements with their off-the-ice attire, accessories and hair.
Darryl confessed that he was actually a reformed Hockey Head or Mullet head. Really? Could this be? A man willing to endure painful blonding in the name of fashion had worn hockey hair?
Yep it's true. Even though Darryl long ago saw the wisdom of his hair ways he told me that he had a really long mullet when he was playing junior hockey some years ago in Canada.
Darryl reported that his naturally curly hair easily gets tangled or matted in his helmet when he plays hockey. He also said that the helmet causes him to sweat and this also impact his hair. Darryl told me that the best styles for his curly hair are either longer or a lot shorter styles. Either style helps keep the tangles at bay. Hence a long Mullet kept the curls down and out of the range of the helmet.
Eventually Darryl realized that the Mullet had to go and he went with a much shorter style to help control the curls.
Handle With Care
Darryl confided that he had a few problems with his hair as a result of the bleach. Besides the stinging and burning of his scalp during both the initial bleach application and the second treatment, he really didn't like the black roots that seemed to grow with lightening speed marring his new blonde do
Darryl told me he felt uncomfortable with the black roots and that he felt that his showed a low worse than Grant's. The reason was that Darryl's hair is so much darker. Darryl agreed to have the bleach applied for the second time as a direct result of wanting to eliminate the roots.
Another problem that Darryl experienced, which is common for people who bleach their hair, was that it really dried out his hair and scalp. Which led us to a brief chat on the benefits of deep conditioning.
Darryl reported that he had experimented with some of the hair styling products that I had sent him. He reported that he had liked it but felt it was important not to use too much of the grease at one time. He also said he got good results with the smoothing lotion on his naturally curly hair. I explained to Darryl how to use the Smoothing Lotion to get perfectly straight hair using a brush and a dryer.
Brunette Is Back
I asked the guys as they were off to Canada if they had plans to continue the blonding process. Both of them agreed that they would probably do the blonde trip again, but not while they were in Canada for off season. If and when they did another round of blonde, it would be with Billy at their favorite Dallas salon.
Recently I was hanging out at Morton's Restaurant in North Dallas when Darryl and Grant showed up for dinner. I was trying to keep a low profile because I felt guilty that I had taken so long to get their great interview published. My hopes of avoiding them was dashed when Mick the Matre'd seated them in the booth right next to mine. They were so close I could have leaned over and touched them.
Luckily I managed to don my trusty dark glasses and escape before they noticed me. The good news is that I did get a great view of their hair as I shot past their table. All traces of the blonde are completely gone. Darryl's hair was short and looked like he had been conditioning. Grant's hair actually looked a little longer, also healthy, but zero blonde.
What do I think about their hair adventure? I think that these are two very fashionable guys with excellent taste who understand the trends. Will they go blonde again? Only time will tell. Who can be sure what they will do?
One thing I can say for sure, I am so glad that I have finished this piece so I no longer have to worry about sneaking out of restaurants cloaked in dark glasses.
Note: A very special thank you to Darryl Sydor and Grant Marshall for graciously sharing time out of their busy schedule to spend time talking with me about their journey.
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- Revised Publication Date: 02/07/11