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November 27, 2013 at 6:58 PM

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Northwest Wanderings: The price of playing hockey


If you want to have strong, healthy teeth, your dentist will tell you not to chew hard candy, corn nuts or ice -- or play hockey.

Not playing hockey is easy.

Playing hockey requires "ability and grace, being in shape and as strong as an ox to make very fine movements on the width of a blade," a blade that's less than a quarter-inch wide, says Travis Huntington, who does play-by-play for the Everett Silvertips.

Mitch Love, assistant coach with the team, lost a front tooth when he took a slap slot to the mouth as a defenseman with the Broncos in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

"I was on a penalty kill and slid too far across the front [of the net]." His mouth guard was of little help against the hard rubber puck traveling close to 100 mph, frozen before games to minimize bounce during play.

Love played only two years for the Silvertips but still ranks fifth in penalty minutes.

He also spent three seasons with the Moose Jaw Warriors and holds their single season record for penalty minutes. He knows what it means to be tough on the ice.

You have to "be willing to go to the boards, the corners, the front of the net."

With the Houston Aeros in the American Hockey League, Love set the franchise record with 34 fighting major penalties.

So, if you want to have good teeth don't get into fights, don't play hockey and be sure to floss.



ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Mitch Love, assistant coach of the Everett Silvertips, took a slap shot to mouth as a player and the puck got the better of a tooth.

ALAN BERNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Silvertips forward Manraj Hayer takes a stick to the chops from teammate Jujhar Khaira during practice.

For more photos, visit the gallery.

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