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Another NHL season starts next week which means that hard hockey puck will be flying around at high speeds and occasionally getting directed at a player’s face. Then you also have hockey sticks sometimes intentionally or unintentionally landing the blade on an opponent’s face. Because of this hockey players have a long history of oral injuries and missing teeth, often sporting smiles with big gaps as a badge of honor. Dental injuries are nothing to joke about, but it can be fun to take a look at some players whose smiles were changed while in the heat of battle on the ice. Here we take a look at just 6 of the many athletes who might just have their dentists on speed dial.
Gordie Howe had a long career in professional hockey and he’s known by many as Mr. Hockey after nearly 3 decades of starring in the NHL and the World Hockey Association. But as this photo indicates, even toward the end of his career he was showing off some extra spaces in his mouth.
Duncan Keith is an active defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks who has helped the team win a trio of Stanley Cup titles. Many fans remember him best as the player who lost 10 teeth in a playoff game in 2010 and returned to help Chicago as the team captured its first NHL championship in almost 5 decades. At the team’s parade and pep rally, he walked up to the podium and asked the large crowd if they could recommend a good dentist.
Theo Fleury once scored 51 goals in a season for the Calgary Flames, but in this 1996 photo with Santa Claus we can guess what he may have been asking for for Christmas—a couple front teeth.
Mike Ricci was a talented soccer player growing up in Scarborough, Ontario before switching sports and becoming a hard-nosed center for 16 NHL seasons. Like many a hockey player, he was known to smile a lot even if a few teeth were missing in his mouth.
Bobby Clarke was a talented player for the Philadelphia Flyers when the team became known as the Broad Street Bullies for their aggressive play on the ice. Clarke helped the team win a pair of Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s and he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated with a tooth or two missing from his mouth. For years he showed off his missing-teeth look and went on to a stellar career that landed him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Not as famous as the other players on this list, Bryan Bickell became endeared by Chicago Blackhawks fans by saving his best for the playoffs. He played a pivotal role in the team’s Stanley Cup title in 2013 by scoring 9 goals and 8 assists in the postseason. Bickell retired in 2017 after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but today he often makes appearances to talk hockey and these day’s he’s smiling with a full set of teeth