Nov. 21, 2013
When juniors Mike Chiasson and Alex Guptill began to plan the Michigan Moustaches for Men's Health initiative this summer, it didn't occur to them that head coach Red Berenson would be involved. But some hard lobbying Chiasson, Guptill and Michigan captains Mac Bennett, Derek DeBlois and Andrew Copp helped convince the longtime Michigan coach to bring his staff along for the ride this month.
"I feel like I'm part of the team, which wanted to make this happen in November," Berenson said. "The (team) felt good about it and were excited about (the initiative). I know they were more excited when I agreed to involve the entire Michigan hockey staff. I think it's been a fun thing, and there's enough conversation about it that it will do some good."
Chiasson was surprised and pleased when Berenson told the team that the coaching staff would be part of the initiative.
"To have a legend like Coach Berenson involved, someone who is widely respected and known in the Michigan community, it really was great to hear," Chiasson said.
For Berenson, his involvement came after some reflection on his own medical history.
"In my case, I went through a bout with bladder cancer about 10 years ago," Berenson said. "I thought I was bulletproof, and yet something like that just jumped out of the woodwork at me."
Five years ago, Berenson was also diagnosed and treated for melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
"We got through that," Berenson said. "But I've got a number of friends that are getting up there that have dealt with a number of health issues. I think it was a no-brainer for me to support this cause."
Berenson did once have a moustache full-time during the late 1970s but has never been a fan of the look dating back to his playing days.
"When I was playing in the NHL and Derek Sanderson was growing a moustache for Boston, I believed at the time and I said this, 'He should be kicked out of the league if he's going to grow a moustache,'" Berenson said. "I didn't care who it was, that was the norm in those days. You just didn't do that. But now that's obsolete"
Berenson said earlier in the month that he has no plans after this month to keep the look. In fact, Berenson shaved his moustache off before his induction last night into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame.
"I'm not a moustache person," Berenson said. "I'm not a facial hair person unless I've been on a canoe trip or a long extended fishing trip, which is once a year. I'm fine with it right now, but it will come off in a short time. I know my wife will be happy."