When Garth Boesch joined the Notre Dame Hounds junior hockey team as a 17-year-old in 1937-38 it marked the start of his ascent to the NHL but also a major controversy of those times, which followed him throughout the balance of his hockey career. During his second season at Notre Dame Boesch decided to grow a moustache, which in those days was not strictly forbidden but highly frowned upon by most junior and professional teams. "I started growing it at 18," Boesch recalled. "It caused a lot of commotion at the time, but I felt it was my right. It was not effecting my playing ability and I liked the look."
Boesch was the property of the NHL's New York Rangers in 1941. Rangers' GM Red Dutton was told of Boesch's facial hair and his refusal to shave it. "If that's the case then he's got two strikes against him before he even gets to training camp." Despite the tough talk from the Rangers Boesch kept the moustache. However, another obstacle arose when Boesch was denied entry into the U.S. from Canada in 1941 due to wartime travel restrictions. Boesch played in the minors for three years with Regina and Lethbridge and missed the 1943-44 season at the height of the War.
He returned to sporadic action in 1944-45 playing with the Winnipeg RCAF and was back playing hockey full-time the following season with the Pittsburgh Hornets. Boesch's rights had been transferred to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a special Dispersal Draft in 1943 and it was then that he finally got his shot to play in the NHL. With the moustache still plainly visible, Boesch suited up for 35 contests with the Leafs in 1946-47 scoring four goals and nine points.
Boesch played four seasons with Toronto and was a member of three Stanley Cup winning Leafs' teams in 1947, 1948 and 1949. He died of heart disease at the age of 77 on May 14, 1998.