Ticats Mike Filer giving up epic beard (or getting a trim) for charity

The razor has jumped into the lead but, as he and his fellow Tiger-Cats seem to say every July: “It’s early yet.”

So there’s still time for a scissors rally.

Mike Filer, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ starting centre the past six seasons, will either cut off most of his considerable mop of hair or shave off his trademark beard on Jan. 17, as part of a fundraising campaign for the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre Foundation.

The hirsute Filer, one of the most fan-popular Ticats, lost his mother Kimberley Filer to cancer last January. She spent nine years taking treatments at Juravinski, including a stem cell transplant. So as a payback and fulfilling a promise to his mother, “Mike’s Manscaping Challenge For Cancer” supports “Tomorrow Stems From You,” the hospital’s drive to raise funds for a new stem cell transplant unit.

Anyone can cast a vote, or many votes, by donating to the campaign and then selecting either ‘Shave the Beard!’ or ‘Cut the Hair’ on the website at hamiltonhealth.ca/mmc4c.

“The shave is taking off like crazy,” says Filer, who’s also a guitarist and could pass for a member of The Sheepdogs. “I have no idea why people want me to shave my beard.”

Filer, one of the top offensive linemen in the CFL, began growing his facial hair about seven years ago, during his final year at Mount Allison University, before he went to the CFL draft combine.

“I wasn’t a big prospect out of university, so I kind of wanted something that could make me stand out from the other kids at the combines,” he says. “Something that would get you noticed at first. I wanted to see it where it would go.

“This is my image now. Essentially I’m kind of known for it — the guy with the big beard — although we’ve got (fellow bearded offensive lineman) Ryker Mathews now.”

The dark hair flowing from his head and chin is part of Filer’s public identity and he admits that at first he was “a little questioning of this, but I’m doing it for my mom and for a great cause.

“If it’s the beard that’s shaved off, I’ve already got a new look planned: a pretty dirty handlebar moustache. If it’s the hair, I’ll chop several inches off and donate the hair for wigs. My mom had to wear wigs.”

Filer had made a donation to the hospital’s stem cell program in September and the new campaign arose from that. The Ticats media crew put together a video to support it.

The goal is to raise $5,000 for each alternative, for a total of $10,000, and so far $3,500 has been pledged.

“My mom was there for nine years as a patient and her doctor Dr. Graeme Fraser is still there,” Filer says. “It was first class, and everyone there treated us like gold.”

Steve Milton

Steve Milton

Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.
Steve Milton
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Steve Milton
About Steve Milton (188 Articles)
Steve Milton is a long-time columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame media wing in 2012.

5 Comments on Ticats Mike Filer giving up epic beard (or getting a trim) for charity

  1. Keith Robbins // December 13, 2017 at 8:21 am //

    Great article as usual but this is synonymous with the Austin Cats. No big re-signings and so we are relegated to stories on hair. Why is it that all of the Cat free agents are likely going to test the market? Every other team has re-signed at least one big name.

    • Wait, so what you got out of an article about a Ticat player donating money (and hair) to cancer research to honour his mother who passed away is that it’s Austin’s fault we haven’t resigned a big name. Maybe this isn’t the right thread for you…

    • Lennywasout // December 17, 2017 at 3:59 pm //

      You need to get a life.

  2. I’ve met Filer a few times at Ticat functions (my son is a huge Hamilton fan), wonderful guy!
    Good on him for honouring his mother!

  3. Green Pastures // December 18, 2017 at 11:13 pm //

    Nice article by a credible source.

Comments are closed.