It’s that time of year again when the Toronto Maple Leafs sport moustaches and team up with their fans to raise money for Movember — a campaign geared towards raising funds and awareness about prostate cancer and men’s health.

Leafs enforcer Colton Orr might be known as a fighter on the ice but his role spearheading the MOple Leafs Sports initiative proves he’s not afraid to drop his gloves to fight the disease as well. “I’ve done it before in past years,” Orr says. “It’s just a great platform for us to raise awareness for prostate cancer and it’s fun to do.”


Colton Orr on Movember. Video Credit: Mike Brock & Jeffrey Garriock

Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst men with one in seven expected to develop it in their lifetime. In 2013, 23,600 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed and 3,900 men will die of it, according to stats from Movember. But athletes offer a prime vessel for boosting support, raising funds and helping to get the fans involved.

“In the past year I’ve had a couple of close family friends who’ve both been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I really want to support them.”

Maple Leaf mo’s

In addition to Orr, teammates Mark Fraser, James Van Riemsdyk, Cody Franson and Toronto Marlies player John-Michael Liles have also joined the mo’ growing efforts.

As part of the campaign, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is letting fans sign-up to raise money with their favourite players from other Toronto teams including the Toronto Raptors, Toronto FC and the Toronto Marlies. In 2012, they had 289 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas and raised $91,932 putting them in eighth place in Canada.  This year they hope to surpass 300 members and raise $100,000. For Fraser, the cause hits close to home. “In the past year I’ve had a couple of close family friends who’ve both been diagnosed with prostate cancer,” he says.  “I really want to support them.”

Outside of team efforts, Fraser hopes to help raise hype for his barber’s campaign. “He lost his father a few years ago to prostate cancer, so I’m on his team at Movember.ca trying to get as many donations as I can,” says the defenceman. “He has a target goal of $4,000 and I think that we can surpass that easily.”

“I look awful with a moustache and I know that — it’s more just to have fun with it and be a part of the entire thing."

Healthy competition

Orr hopes his efforts will inspire teammates to join the cause.  “I’m trying to encourage more guys to get involved,” says Orr. “Some of them already have the beards so maybe we can get them to take them off, get some moustaches going and help support the cause.”

As more players support it, Orr hopes it’ll have a ripple effect amongst fans and other teams.

“I think a lot of guys in the NHL do get quite involved so I think you’re going to see some competition from other teams as well,” says the Leafs enforcer pointing out that a little bit of competition is “healthy,” especially for a good cause.

Even Liles, who admits his moustache pales in comparison to Fraser and Orr, is willing to embrace the athlete’s role in raising awareness.
“I look awful with a moustache and I know that — it’s more just to have fun with it and be a part of the entire thing,” says Liles.