Sunday, 3 July 2011

A Little Off The Top

These three men have Chicago proud over the course of their careers. Patrick Kane scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal not so long ago, Jonathan Toews is the heart and soul of the Blackhawks, and Bobby Hull led the Blackhawks to their last Stanley Cup championship before the 2010 victory. All three men have awards and credentials to their names, but only one of the three men has experienced something that a lot of men go through: baldness. While Bobby Hull has always tried to maintain his locks, I have finally discovered an article that confirms that Mr. Bobby Hull paid for that signature coif of his.

It has long been suggested that Bobby Hull's locks were thinning as he was in the prime of his career. Thanks to a Sports Illustrated article written in 1971, it appears that the value of Hull's hair was published as he had transplants done in the summer before the 1971-72 season.

"There will be only two significant changes in the lineup that carried the Hawks to the seventh game of the cup finals last May. Gary Smith has been brought in from California to replace injury-prone Gerry Desjardins as Tony Esposito's substitute. And the Golden Jet returns to the Black Hawk lineup after an absence of some five years.

"Bobby Hull hasn't really been away—just his hair. For the sum of $900 he has had 91 plugs of golden locks transplanted into his balding scalp by the same man who gave Frank Sinatra his hair. 'It will take a month or so to grow in,' says Bobby. 'When it does I'll look like the old me again.'"
Wow. $900 for 91 plugs? That doesn't seem like a very high price or many required hair plugs when you consider that most procedures today range from 1000 to 4000 plugs and can cost anywhere from $3000 to $12000. So what else do we know about Bobby's golden locks that were surgically moved to the top of his dome?

The one thing that made me laugh in reading the Wikipedia info on hair transplantation was the line that read, "Alcohol and smoking can contribute to poor graft survival." As you're probably aware, Mr. Hull engaged in the very nice lifestyle that involved a little drink and the occasional cigar. It seems that these hair transplants might have forced Mr. Hull into a better lifestyle thanks to no alcohol or smoking. According to the article, Hull confirmed this.
"Bobby Hull says he feels terrific. 'Better than in several years.'"
Ironically, Bobby and his new hair would be gone one year later as Hull jumped to the WHA with the Winnipeg Jets. "The Golden Jet" would live up to his nickname as his trademark locks flowed in the wind as he tore down the ice.

It seems that this hair transplant procedure is nothing new for celebrities, though, and the sports world has its share of people who have invested in their own exterior image. Soccer superstar and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney did it, and he paid £30,000 (approximately $48,000 US). While I'm skeptical due the National Enquirer reporting it, apparently Tom Brady was checking out the options for hair restoration as well. Jose Theodore didn't visit a clinic, but his 2006 Olympic Winter Games aspirations derailed because he was treating his thinning hair with Propecia, a banned substance. Movie stars and music stars have been doing it for years as well. From as far as I can tell, men in the celebrity spotlight have been treating baldness for years. It seems that the only thing they're not doing is talking about it.

While this isn't going to evolve into a male pattern baldness blog by any means, I do want to point out that Bobby Hull went to the best to have his thinning locks treated. Dr. Norman Orentreich was the doctor who performed both Hull's transplant and Sinatra's transplant, and he is considered the "father of modern hair transplantation". Dr. Orentreich is actually well-known in the beauty and make-up circles as he created the Estee Lauder line of "Clinique" products. The New York-based doctor served as the first president of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Bobby's hair was significantly thicker after his treatment, so I'd say the procedure was a success. And if Sinatra's hair looked as good as he did, I'd say that Dr. Orentreich was indeed an excellent doctor.

$900 for 91 hair plugs, though? I think he underestimated the value of Hull's hair.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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