Union hockey coach Rick Bennett is losing his hair.
No, it has nothing to do with the stress of preparing his top-ranked Dutchmen for their NCAA Frozen Four semifinal game against Boston College on Thursday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN2. He is willingly getting his hair shaved off.
Bennett, along with several volunteers from Union athletics, will participate in the St. Baldrick’s “Shave in Solidarity” event today at Proctors Theatre.
The event, which will show solidarity with children fighting childhood cancer, runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Bennett’s turn with the razor comes at 1 p.m.
Bennett committed to this a few weeks ago before the Dutchmen knew they were going to play in the Frozen Four.
“These children, they didn’t have a chance to decide,” Bennett said. “I had a chance to decide, and that’s the way I see it. It’s not a publicity stunt. It’s something that I definitely wanted to do. I’ve lost people to cancer, too. I want to make sure that there’s an awareness of it.”
Union head athletic trainer Cheryl Rockwood got Bennett involved in the process.
“I happened to be talking to Rick about it and I was like, ‘Hey, you want to shave your head?’ ” Rockwood said. “He jumped on board. But you never want to talk about these things ahead of time. I told Rick, ‘You do know that if we’re fortunate enough to be playing, it’s in the off week [of the NCAA hockey tournament].’ He said, ‘That will be fantastic.’
“Not everybody’s brave enough to get their head shaved to go on national television. You’ve got to give kudos to Rick for keeping his word.”
This won’t be the first time Bennett has lost his hair during his hockey career.
“I’ve had it done in college [at Providence] my first year,” Bennett said. “That was one of the rituals that had to happen. In pro hockey the first year, I had it done, too. It’s not anything out of the norm.”
In addition to Bennett, Rockwood said that members of the Union track team, which is at a meet in Ramapo, N.J., will shave their heads, and that will be shown inside Proctors.