Center Nick Bonino was not only an integral part on the Pens’ 2016 Stanley Cup championship on the ice, but he has become a cultural hero in Pittsburgh.
He put the B in the HBK Line – along with sidecars Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin. He’s also the bacon on the Primanti’s Bros. sandwich. His last name has become almost synonymous with the Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi goal calls. And lastly, he had the greatest beard on the team.
Most of those items are still true. However, Bonino’s beard is no more.
On Friday afternoon outside of the Giant Eagle at Camp Horne, Bonino shaved his beard for charity in front of a crowd of Pens fans.
“I became more fond of it than I thought I would,” said Bonino, whose beard was quite lengthy. “It was past that itchy stage and felt like an extra pillow. It’s been fun to grow it out. I know my wife and teammates are excited that I’m shaving it. They all think it’s gross.”
Bonino’s wife, Lauren, was in attendance, along with their first-born Maze. The little girl had on a t-shirt that read “Daddy’s Little Beard Puller.”
“That’s been her favorite thing, to grab on (his beard) and pull until it hurts,” Lauren said. “It would be different if he would maintain it, but in the playoffs you just want the biggest, burliest beard. I won’t miss it too much, but hopefully we can grow it again next year.”
Penguins Radio Network’s Josh Getzoff and Phil Bourque emceed the event. And the crowd cheered the entire time, even during the shaving.
“I’ve never been shaved in front of a thousand people before,” Bonino said. “I keep getting surprised, I shouldn’t, at the outpouring of support.”
At the conclusion of the event Giant Eagle and Gillette presented a check $2,016 to the Penguins Foundation.