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Cody McKay is in the middle of a serious conversation. He runs a hand carelessly through his freshly-cut hair, jams his hat back on his head, and chooses his words carefully.
“I think flow is coming back in style,” he says.
If we’re to take the fourth year St Thomas University student’s word for it, hockey hair is back. The appropriately-dubbed “flow” can be seen at hockey rinks and other sporting arenas all over the country. The hair is grown to stick out the bottom of the helmet or hat and “flow” back, hence the name.
The hairstyle is popular among male athletes, especially in team sports. But McKay’s not a hockey player, he’s not on the soccer team, and he doesn’t play lacrosse. He’s a runner. This summer, he decided to grow his hair of its clean-cut comfort zone and join the flow revolution.
McKay’s job as a labourer made for a great excuse to grease up his hair and let it flow free.
“I kinda just grew it as a joke. But then more people started to compliment it. And so many people asked me if I played hockey or soccer. It’s funny that a hairstyle alone made them think that,” he says, remembering his lost locks. He cut his hair shortly after the summer – and the experiment- came to an end.
Flow reviews are mixed. Some hate it and some love it. Maybe it’s because the long hair too closely resembles a mullet, or maybe it’s the grease that turns people off. But those who support the flow movement support it with a passion.
“It’s that slicked-back look,” says McKay.. “Not just from a greasy guy perspective, but it works as a business look, too. It gives you that business in the front look,” he says.
McKay notes, though, that this hairstyle carries with it a process. One does not simply grow their hair out in a day. It’s a real learning experience with many options to weigh.
“There’s accessories. A hat is really good for flow, just to keep that shape. If you don’t have a hat you need to find something to slick it back . No one likes a mop. Some guys use gel, or goop, whatever you can find,” he says, noting that while some guys like it crusty, he prefers to stay away from gel and instead builds up some natural grease.
McKay says despite the mixed reviews, he’d grow his hair out again.
“It was a flow that looked good. I got a lot of compliments, got a kick out of it. Maybe I’ll do it next summer. You never know where the flow will go.”