Hockey players missing teeth include Alex Ovechkin, Brent Burns, Austin Watson, Paul Stastny and John Tavares. NHL players consider it as a badge of honor.
Despite the obvious uneasiness in eating, talking, and smiling, the players chose to wait until the end of the season to visit the dentist.
Hockey players lose teeth due to the game's involvement of hockey sticks and physical contact. As many as 50-80% of hockey players have lost their teeth inside the rink, including some big names in NHL.
Moreover, many players have avoided the protective gears around their faces, which further adds to the risk of losing their denticles.
Bobby Clarke no teeth incident after winning the 1974 Stanley Cup is one of the most iconic moments in the history of the NHL. His remarkable smile post losing his front tooth became so popular that it encouraged the current generation to carry forward the legacy.
Here is the list of ten players missing teeth at the moment along with their current NHL teams;
1. Alex Ovechkin - Washington Capitals
Alex Ovechkin first lost his tooth on October 5, 2007, during his game against the Atlanta Thrashers. He now plays as a left winger and also captains the Washington Capitals.
He had taken a stick to his face that resulted in a broken middle tooth back then. The medics gave him 14 stitches for the injury.
Alex was proud of the gap between the dentition and did not fill it in afterward. Meanwhile, his front tooth was later cracked in half in September 2018.
Although he fixed the chipped incisor, he has gracefully continued playing without the one he lost sixteen years ago in 2007.
2. Joe Thornton - Free Agent
Joe Thornton is one of the premier centers in the league He is a free agent currently but has played with the Boston Bruins, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Florida Panthers since 1997.
A veteran of more than two decades, Joe has lost some teeth along the way. However, he covers them up and appears to be ready to smile.
He was also included in the Bleacher Report's list of 22 players with the worst teeth in hockey history back in 2011.
Likewise, Thornton was also a part of an iconic Apple iPhone advertisement, where he and former NHL star P.K. Subban were on an outdoor hockey rink on a cold winter night.
The two were seen searching for Subban's missing tooth in the snow with the help of an iPhone 14’s flashlight.
3. Brent Burns - Carolina Hurricanes
Brent Burns is the defenceman for the Canes. He has formed a formidable partnership with Jaccob Slavin in the league.
Burns is widely known for his tough style of gameplay and dashing bearded look. He has gained a reputation amongst hockey fans for his statement missing teeth look. However, it was way before he joined NHL in 2003.
Burns was only 16 years old when he lost three of his natural teeth, a day after getting his braces removed. He was hit in the mouth with a high stick, which caused damage to his denture.
It has been 22 years since the incident, but Burns has not opted to wear a fake set of gnasher. He'd rather focus on his career and personality.
The NHL star recently made headlines for playing his 1,300th league game on January 29, 2023.
4. Austin Watson - Ottawa Senators
Austin Watson is the left winger for the Senators. He is missing three front teeth, which occurred in many stances throughout his hockey career.
It started during his junior hockey days when a helmet hit his head in Windsor, Ontario. The second time, it was a puck and the third was a stick to his face.
He had initially gone for long dental tours but eventually found out that temporary fixtures were actually not the solution. Hence, Watson decided to visit a dentist only after he retires from his NHL career.
The Tennessean revealed that his golfing friends often tease him by offering apples as they know that he cannot eat the fruit due to his missing teeth. Thus, he is sure that he may not have apples anytime soon.
5. Sean Couturier - Philadelphia Flyers
Sean Couturier is a center and an alternate captain for the Philadelphia Flyers. He has been with them since his draft at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Sean lost three teeth when he was hit by a puck in 2016. He wears a dental bridge when off the ice but comes to play without it.
Sean has been in the game since 2011 and has found his foot around the rink, even in terms of losing some fangs and the consequences of it. Many noted that he bore a slight resemblance to a young Bob Clarke after the incident.
6. Paul Stastny - Carolina Hurricanes
The center for the Carolina Hurricanes, Paul Stastny, is one of the active NHL players to wield missing teeth. The gruesome incident happened on the 18 January 2020 game against the Canadiens.
The game puck hit his mouth, and he lost his denticle right away despite wearing mouthguards. While the incident became the headlines, the most distressing thing was Paul had to pick up his lost teeth from the ice right after.
He then rushed towards treatment with blood all over his mouth. He now flaunts his smile after three years of the incident.
7. Claude Giroux - Ottawa Senators
Giroux once revealed to Bleacher Report that he once got a crosscheck to the face and lost a bunch of teeth. Since then, he has grown over the fact and is okay with his new looks.
Meanwhile, the NHLer did not clarify the exact date of the incident. As of 2022, he has gone for a dental set when he is out though his edentulous look is still a hit among the Hearst natives.
The 5 foot 11 inches tall forward currently plays for Ottawa Senators alongside fellow countrymen Derick Brassard.
8. Ryan O'Reilly - Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan took everyone by storm when he took out his fake denticle and proceeded with his speech at the 2019 ESPYs Award night.
He was presented with the Best Comeback award for his incredible performances and contribution to the team post his return.
In March 2021, Ryan revealed online that he lost his tooth when he was 16. His face was hit by a stick, and two of his front incisors were damaged.
The dentist could not save one of them; hence he puts on a replacement whenever he is out. Ryan continues to go edentulate during the games.
Ryan plays as a center for the Toronto Maple Leafs and learned a lot playing alongside former NHL defenceman Tomas Kaberle.
O'Reilly has previously represented Colorado Avalanche, Buffalo Sabres, and the St. Louis Blues before his trade to the Leafs.
9. John Tavares - Toronto Maple Leafs
The Canadian ice hockey forward is also the captain of the Leafs. He was initially drafted into the league by the New York Islanders.
Tavares was the first overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, while another NHL prospect Tyson Barrie was the 64th overall draft back then.
Since then, John played with the Islanders till 2018. He took a punch during a game against the Chicago Blackhawks in October 2013.
The punch caused Tavares to lose a few teeth, which was quite a painful situation for him. However, giving into a typical hockey-player fashion, he decided to yank a loose one out of his mouth.
He is now mainly seen with a mouthguard during the game. Meanwhile, he has also fixed the issues with his denticulation outside the rink.
10. Rocco Grimaldi - Rockford IceHogs
Grimaldi initially lost his teeth in fourth grade. He was drafted by Florida Panthers in the 2011 NHL Draft.
He wore a hooded sweatshirt back on and walked towards a brick wall. He ultimately crashed to the wall and chipped his gnasher.
The dentist was able to fix it, but the NHL star continued to break them in half time and again due to hard-shell tacos, granola bars and boxing.
Coming into 2019, he was hit by a puck in the mouth during an October practice session. He lost a pool of blood and a pile of denticles on the ice at Centennial Sportsplex.
His lip required 15 stitches while completely losing his front right tooth. However, his regular visit to the dentist made him fix it and replace it with a fixed denture.
Grimaldi currently plays as a forward for AHL's Rockford IceHogs. The team is a top minor league affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks.