by Mike Chen on 04/21/09 at 12:00 PM ET
One of the good things Versus does during the playoffs is stick with a consistent nightly double-header schedule for the first round. Part of that package is the Versus in-studio segments with Brian Engblom and his one-of-a-kind hair. How much power does Engblom’s mullet have? It is so mighty that not just one, but too people I lived with stopped dead in their tracks in disbelief at the hair on the TV—one roommate years ago and my then-girlfriend-turned-wife. Coincidentally, both referred to him as “that hair guy” whenever hockey broadcasts came up.
Since Engblom joins us (or at least US viewers sticking with Versus) for about six hours a night, I thought it’d be fun to take a little trip down memory lane with Engblom and that all-powerful mullet.
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (or at least the world before Center Ice or even ESPN2), Brian Engblom was just like any other hockey player with a mullet in the 1980s. Check out one of Engblom’s cards.
Now there’s certainly no shame in that hockey mullet. There were even Magnificent and Great hockey mullets back then.
In the 1990s, ESPN2 had a ton of hockey games and in order to get enough analysts to work on them, they needed someone besides the King of Hockey Mullets to help out. In comes the ever-enthusiastic (and nice guy) Darren Pang and Brian Engblom.
That’s right, in the 1992-93 season, not only did the hockey world have Jaromir Jagr’s mullet in full force, Brian Engblom was re-introduced to the broadcast public. However, his mulletude, though high, wasn’t exactly unique or distinct. It was no Andre Agassi or Billy Ray Cyrus; it was, in fact, just another mullet from the early 90s. Check out this comparison with Patrick Swayze circa Roadhouse. Pretty close, huh?
Strangely enough, this mullet lives on in Ryan Smyth.
Now the problem is that Engblom stuck with his hair throughout the entire decade. While the world went mullet-less, Engblom’s hair lived on, probably spurred by the power of working with Barry Melrose. If you’ll recall, Bud Light immortalized the hockey mullet in a series of commercials, including this one showing off Engblom as a ladies’ man.
Now when we get to the Versus era, things start to get a little strange. You’ll notice in the previous photos, as well as any of the Bud Light commercials, that Engblom kept a good sweep on the sides of his hair. However, at some point he decided to combine the 1980s mullet with the 1990s Brian Bosworth side-buzz into this weird amalgamation of bad hair.
Recently, Engblom has taken a step forward and removed the mullet aspect completely from his hair. (And, according to the bastion of fact known as Wikipedia, he won a special award from the Supercuts Corporate Retreat in 2008). However, he’s retained the shaved-side look for something totally unique:
The cool thing about this? With Engblom’s hair seemingly floating above his head, it’s easy to do any sort of Photoshop fun.
Now what does the future hold for hockey fans? Well, it’s plain to see that the influence of Engblom and Melrose have had on the hockey community (google “Engblom hair” to see how popular the discussion is). The result will be an entire generation of hockey fans who want to grow up to be hockey broadcasters with awesome hair.
I present to you the future analyst of Hockey Night In Canada:
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