Kress finally clips his tresses

EVERETT – In the middle of the Everett Events Center hockey rink Sunday evening, Mark Kress’ tresses were sheared by one of his biggest fans.

Snohomish resident Barbara Lipp won the right to wield the clippers in an online auction at the Silvertips’ Web site. After the first period of the game, Lipp helped cut the hockey player’s mane, which he was growing long to raise money for charity.

Michael V. Martina / The Herald

Silvertip fan Barbara Lipp (right), whose husband won the chance to shave Silvertip Mark Kress’ head at center ice, watches Mount Vernon hair dresser Matt Fowler during Sunday’s game against Spokane. Kress vowed to not cut his hair until he had raised $10,000 for cancer charity.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Lipp said after the game. “And they won! The evening really couldn’t have been better.”

Sunday’s hair affair brought an end to Kress’ season-long effort to raise $10,000 for Providence Everett Medical Center cancer patients. He was also trying to grow his locks long enough – 10 inches – to donate them to Locks of Love, which makes wigs for children who have suffered hair loss because of medical treatments.

“I think it’s great what (Kress) did. I think the Silvertips give back so much to the community. There really is no way to measure it,” Lipp said Sunday evening.

Kress couldn’t be reached for comment Sunday night. Though the player ended up about an inch short of being able to donate his hair to Locks of Love, he decided to go ahead with the haircut after meeting his goal of raising $10,000, said Silvertips Spokesman Keith Gerhart.

Actually, it was Barbara’s husband, Charles Lipp, who won the auction. He bid, without telling her, knowing that Kress is her favorite Silvertip. Charles Lipp said he didn’t intend to win, but kept bidding until he was around $2,000. One person did outbid him, but later dropped out, so Barbara got to do the honors.

“I mean, it’s for my wife. I don’t want to cut Mark Kress’ hair,” Charles Lipp said, laughing. “But I ran (the bidding) up for a good cause.”

The money fans donated will go to help cancer patients who are struggling financially because of the radiation treatments that often keep patients from work or make it difficult for them to pay bills.

Along with visiting local schools and hospitals, Kress’ outreach is part of a larger Silvertips effort to give back to the community, Gerhart said.

“I think it’s very important for the team to be in the community,” he said. “We need to interact with our fans as much as possible, and getting out in the community is the best way to do it.”

In addition to the auction, the $10,000 came primarily from fans donating money at games and the “chuck-a-puck” challenge hockey fans play during the games’ period breaks.

When Barbara Lipp found out she’d be shaving her favorite player’s head, she was floored. It didn’t help that the haircut was to take place in the middle of the ice after the first period of Sunday’s game.

“My first reaction was, ‘I’m not doing that, Charlie,’ ” she said Friday. “I just hoped (Mark) wouldn’t be nervous, too, because that would just make two nervous people going out there to do that.”

The Lipps moved to the area from Buffalo, N.Y., where they were hard-core hockey fans and attended many NHL games. They have been Silvertips season tickets holders for the team’s two seasons.

“We were there for their first game, and I was laid back because it was junior hockey. I didn’t think I’d really like it,” Barbara Lipp said.

Then, in the Silvertips’ first home game, she saw Kress drop his gloves and start a fight. She immediately liked him. Plus, 16, Kress’ jersey number, is her lucky number.

The 54-year-old Bryman College pharmacy technician instructor said she’s been acting like a teenager.

“During playoffs, my husband would just stare at me cheering and say, ‘You’re in your own world,’” Barbara Lipp said. “I just never thought I would be that way. I didn’t even want the tickets at first. Now, it’s like, ‘When is the next hockey game?’”

Reporter Jennifer Warnick: 425-339-3429 or jwarnick@heraldnet.com.

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