We need to talk about William Nylander. Or, more to the point: We need to talk about William Nylander’s hair.
Hockey, as a sport, is no stranger to fantastic hair. We’ve seen some truly incredible hair, from Jaromir Jagr’s mullet to the strange styles that have emerged from Minnesota’s All Hockey Hair Team. (If you’ve never stared in awe at the sheer oddities that high school boys subject their hair to in the name of hockey, click that link. You know you want to.)
In all the glorious history of hockey hair, though, have we ever seen any hair as sublime as William Nylander’s?
I would posit that we have not.
The key attribute to his hair — aside from its lovely honey-gold color — is that it simply always looks good, even in situations in which it shouldn’t.
Take, for instance, the 2014 Scouting Combine.
William Nylander’s Hair Looking Unreasonably Nice Considering The Circumstances, Exhibit A:
What is this nonsense? Isn’t this portion of the Combine a series of physically exhausting tests to drag prospects through in order to present arbitrary rankings of fitness that have very little direct correlation to on-ice performance? Shouldn’t he look more disheveled? He’s literally flying through the air and his hair is simply flowing beautifully behind him. That doesn’t seem possible, and yet…
And then this! I hear the Wingate isn’t as miserable as the VO2max but his hair still looks way too good for the level of physical exertion he is engaging in!
Look. He’s exhausted after the Wingate and his hair looks nicer than mine does after hours in the salon. That just feels unfair.
Overall Rating (NHL Scouting Combine): 9/10. This is not the best we have seen William’s hair, but it gets extra points for its indomitable spirit in the face of basically pointless physical tests.
William Nylander’s Hair Looking Unreasonably Nice Considering The Circumstances, Exhibit B:
His hair looked nice at the Draft itself. Of course it did. I wouldn’t even bother mentioning it except that I do want to put the above photo into context. At the moment that photo was taken, our most esteemed commissioner, Gary Bettman, was standing mere feet away from William and his hair. I want acknowledge the fact that his hair doesn’t lose any of its volume or shine even in the presence of Gary Bettman. That deserves acknowledgement.
This also deserves acknowledgement:
Now we can get to the truly impressive part about this day.
We all know that the post-draft yearbook-style photos mostly succeed in making various prospects look awkward. It’s practically a rite of passage. However, if you thought that William Nylander’s photos would be typically awkward, you were wrong. Dead wrong. Come on, did you really think his hair would allow him to look anything less than dazzling for these weird yearbook pics?
Of course not. This is objectively not a terrific photo (Why is the stick red? Why is it just floating by his head? Why can’t you see the rest of his torso, or where he’s holding the stick?), but his hair eliminates any awkwardness by drawing your attention to its soft shine in the light.
Here it looks like William is creeping on you from the shadows, but frankly, it’s not even that disturbing. “Wow, that boy has been staring for a while, but at least he has great hair,” you think to yourself as you walk by.
Overall Rating (2014 NHL Entry Draft): 8.9/10. While looking through photos of this day, I had to see a lot of Gary Bettman’s face, so I’m feeling uncharitable.
William Nylander’s Hair Looking Unreasonably Nice Considering The Circumstances, Exhibit C:
Here is a fun fact for you: The use of helmets became mandatory for incoming NHL players in 1979. This is good, because protecting the brain is important and we should take that seriously. However, it does mean our view of fantastic hair is obstructed. It’s a small price to pay for safety, though, and honestly? Truly fantastic hair will find a way to dazzle, helmet and all.
And because this is William Nylander, helmet hair isn’t even a concern. Look at this postgame photo. He has literally just played a game, and his hair is luxurious. Dejected from a loss, but luxurious nonetheless.
Overall Rating (On Ice): 9.8/10. I sought out Marlies games last season in the hope that I would catch a glimpse of this hair. I will probably go out of my way to watch the Leafs this season for the same reason. (The skill of the incoming prospects has nothing to do with my desire to watch Toronto, of course.) I deducted two tenths of a point only because Lou requires his players to keep their hair relatively short.
William Nylander’s Hair Looking Unreasonably Nice Considering The Circumstances, Exhibit D:
William’s hair is, as we’ve seen, always beautiful. For some reason, it is especially nice during media scrums. In that gif above, his hair is still wet and it’s amazing! Artfully tousled! Mad props to TLN’s own Steve Dangle for providing the video from whence that gif came. It’s even titled “Nylander’s Hair & Dev Camp.” You’ll notice that Nylander’s Hair received first billing, as it should.
Just look at him running his hand through his golden locks and then topping that motion off with a subtle hair flip that tells us he knows exactly what he’s doing.
This moment is perhaps the pinnacle of all William Nylander hair moments, at least in the “media scrum” subcategory. Look at the way he sweeps his hair back to achieve the aforementioned artfully tousled look, at which point a soft glow surrounds him, giving his hair the lighting it truly deserves.
And just once more for good measure, this time featuring a playoff beard which, while sparse, seems to indicate that there is some potential there for future Leafs postseason endeavors!
Overall Rating (Media Scrums): 11/10. He broke the scale here. The close-ups during media scrums allow us to bask in the full glory of his hair, and I’m grateful to be able to witness it.
William Nylander’s Hair Looking Unreasonably Nice Considering The Circumstances, Exhibit E:
For our final exhibit, we need to take a look at William’s hair at this year’s draft. I mean, look at the way the wind gently ruffles his hair during this entire draft weekend interview with his brother. When I’m out on a breezy day, my hair ends up a tangled disaster, but the wind would never dare do that to William’s hair.
How does his hair fall over his forehead like that, every strand in its proper place? I don’t know, you don’t know, and the Nation Network’s own Adam Laskaris, who took this picture, doesn’t know.
Seriously, his brother just got drafted (congrats to Alex Nylander on going 8th overall just like William — that rivalry’s going to be fun in a few years!) and his hair is practically stealing the show. What gives?
Overall Rating (2016 NHL Entry Draft): 9/10. It’s a terrific –and Lou-approved — length, and it manages to shine without wholly overshadowing his brother’s accomplishments. (Alex’s hair, by the way, has plenty of merit as well.)
William Nylander’s hair should be considered a national treasure, and I am looking forward to more impossibly perfect hair against all odds in the coming season.
(I am also looking forward to the fun and probably occasionally-infuriating hockey the Leafs’ young roster has to offer, but mostly William Nylander’s hair.)