Two decades before he would grow the most famous playoff beards in NHL history, “Jumbo” Joe Thornton was a teenager, with nary a whisker, playing major junior hockey. This hockey card from the 1995-96 Slapshot OHL set is of a 16-year old Thornton playing for the Sault Ste. Marie (“Soo”) Greyhounds. The back shows a fresh-faced Thornton, 30 pounds lighter and with much less hair.
No beard or facial scruff, though there is a hint of a five o’clock shadow that probably took him a week to grow. Below his picture, the card states “Joe is a big forward who uses his size and his head along with his great shot and playmaking abilities.”
Twenty years later, Thornton is still using all of those traits in the NHL, but we should add “growing an awesome playoff beard” to the list, too. ■