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Thomas trades whiskers for charity

At Gillette, goalie swaps beard for $25,000 for youth sports

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By Taryn Luna
Globe Correspondent / June 21, 2011

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“One beard remains.’’ The words flashed on two flat-screen televisions next to a stage at Gillette World Shaving Headquarters in South Boston yesterday, as employees of the company waited for the man with that beard: Tim Thomas, goalie for the Stanley Cup-winning Boston Bruins.

Thomas, sporting the traditional beard grown by hockey players during playoffs, came for his first full shave since before the Bruins entered the postseason on April 14. Thomas allowed Gillette to trim his facial foliage in exchange for a donation to a charity of his choice.

“This is so exciting. This is awesome. I love my job,’’ said Apryl Rossi, a 32-year-old administrative assistant at P&G Grooming, the division of Procter and Gamble Co. that includes Gillette. “This is like having the pope come here.’’

“An athlete shave is one of the signature athlete and Gillette trademarks,’’ said P&G Grooming spokesman Mike Norton.

Thomas isn’t the first athlete to be shaved by Gillette for charity. In May 2004, then-Red Sox player Johnny Damon was cropped for a $25,000 donation to children’s literacy. After the 2006 Super Bowl win, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was shaved on “The Late Show with David Letterman’’ for an unspecified charity payment. Kevin Youkilis of the Red Sox shaved his goatee with a Gillette razor following the World Series win in November 2007; a $5,000 donation was made to Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids, which focuses on the health and well-being of children.

P&G’s Norton said that in return for smoothing the jowls of the Bruins goalie, the company will give $25,000 to New England youth sports charities to be named later. Thomas has no product endorsement deals with Gillette.

Yesterday, as Queen’s “We Are the Champions’’ played in the background, Thomas sat motionless as master barber Arthur Mirzakan of The Art of Shaving, another P&G Grooming brand, removed the beard with electric clippers.

“I don’t know what I look like yet, but that’s a lot of hair,’’ Thomas said as he glanced at the carpet of clippings on his apron and at his feet. “It feels funny. I’ve had a beard for a long time.’’

After clipping the beard down to stubble, Mirzakan applied shaving cream to Thomas’s face and pulled out a black and yellow Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor, which was specially made for the occasion. Once most of the beard was gone, the barber handed the razor to Thomas to shave the final patch of stubble himself.

Thomas, winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player in the National Hockey League postseason, rose from the chair, grabbed a mirror, and gave the crowd a thumbs up.

“The shave felt great,’’ he said. “I could have fallen asleep in that chair.’’

Thomas elected to spare his mustache, which he’s had for most of the season. “I kept it because my oldest daughter liked it,’’ he said. “I hope she’s happy that I kept it.’’

When asked if the championship win had sunk in yet, Thomas said he’s reflecting on how special the season was, and how the team came together to win the cup.

“It’s a long road and it’s a hard road, but it’s worth it,’’ Thomas said.

The three-time all-star will be in Las Vegas this week for the 2011 NHL Awards.

“After this Vegas trip,’’ Thomas said, “I plan on hiding for a couple of days to decompress.’’

Taryn Luna can be reached at tluna@globe.com.

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