Oilers' anthem singer offering personal serenade for Movember donation
EDMONTON -- It's a hairy rivalry, but the Edmonton Oilers' anthem singer promises it's for a good cause.
"I don't know if the Oilers know there's this competition—but I know there's this competition," laughed the team's anthem singer, Robert Clark.
He and a team of men are facing off against the pro hockey players in an arena where they have more equal footing: beard growing.
While the Oilers would surely win a matchup at Rogers Place, Clark and his teammates have maintained a fundraising lead over the NHLers throughout Movember.
As of Thursday afternoon, Clark's team, Beardless for the Bros, had raised more than $11,300, with Clark himself raising more than $3,100.
The Oilers, however, have raised just $9,200, led by 2019 Moustache Cup team captain Zack Kassian, who has personally raised nearly $4,600.
To lock in his team's $2,100 lead, Clark is offering his anthem-singing services to those who donate $75 or more in the final days of the month-long campaign.
"I want to use my Oilers 'fame'"—he said, emphasizing the word with finger quotes—"finally for good, and it's turned out to work in my favour."
There's no moustache-ing that. Several donors are taking the singer up on his offer.
"I am doing birthday parties. I'm doing somebody's Christmas dinner on the 23rd. I'm going to a couple of schools already. Somebody's birthday at a bar I'm going to go sing," he told CTV News Edmonton.
"Calgary's too far. Within reason. Within the Edmonton city limits kind of thing... but yeah I will go and sing for whatever people want me to."
Clark called Movember an opportunity for his voice to be used for more than singing.
"I want to be a real voice for anybody who's struggling, who's reaching out, who wants to be able to share their story as well. Because I found strength in hearing other people's stories."
Clark has been managing depression with medication since being diagnosed in 2008.
A momentary slide in his wellbeing over the summer prompted him to be more vocal about his experience.
"Things were just not doing well. And I know, because I have a really great support system, that I can reach out to certain people," he recalled.
"I did and talked to some people and got the help that I needed, which is what a lot of men don't do."
'Start the conversation,' says Humboldt Broncos' Smith
It was a message also shared by former Humboldt Broncos player, Tyler Smith, on Thursday.
He and several other local Movember participants bid farewell to their fur at MAST Hair.
Having received donations from across Canada and the U.S., Smith has raised $7,500 for his third Movember.
"Growing a moustache is just a bonus," a clean-shaven Smith told CTV News Edmonton.
"(Movember) is a platform where I can raise money for men's mental health and hopefully try to end that stigma."
Since being involved in the 2018 crash that killed many of his team members, Smith has been outspoken about the need for men to seek help for their mental health.
"It just needs to be a part of everybody's daily routines," Smith said.
"Hopefully a lot of people take advantage of the month of November and start that conversation, but at the end of the day, it's more or less keeping it going and running with it every day, 365."
Since launching in 2003 in Australia, the Movember movement has grown from raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer to tackling a spectrum of men's health issues.
Last year, Movember raised $98.6 million globally.