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Celebrating 50 Years Of Less-Ugly Hockey Players
October 22, 2009 12:37 PM   Subscribe

The Face Of Hockey: November 1st will mark the 50th anniversary of Jacques Plante - subject of an upcoming biography - skating onto the ice wearing a goalie mask. A new style was born, one that would later be carried into the mainstream by another prolific slasher. And to celebrate the anniversary, TSN is running a poll asking which current goaltender has the most original mask. (gallery)

bonus gallery links - Life's Head Case: Weird, Wild Hockey Masks & Sports Illustrated's Goalie Masks of the NHL (previously on mefi)
posted by mannequito (31 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
HOCKEY!

Man, this is fun.
posted by grubi at 12:40 PM on October 22, 2009


No-one will ever top Gerry Cheevers' mask.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:41 PM on October 22, 2009 [4 favorites]


Brodeur's mask went from classic to "gross self-promotion" in the blink of an eye. He played 15 years and only missed 5 or so games due to injury, then he changes his mask and ten games later he tears his biceps tendon and is out for 6 months. I don't think that's a coincidence.

Gerry Cheevers's mask will always be the best though.
posted by crashlanding at 12:46 PM on October 22, 2009


Ahh! You have everything there but the cheesy Jacques Plante Historica Minute (larger but fuzzier YouTube version). Nice!
posted by maudlin at 12:47 PM on October 22, 2009


I would love to see an NHL goalie get his mask painted with Ayrton Senna's signature helmet design. Gulf Oil livery would be good, too. Really, anything to combine two sports that I love.
posted by The World Famous at 12:50 PM on October 22, 2009


some of those are tacky as hell...some are wicked awesome, and some are Tacky as hell AND wicked awesome. For me it's a tie between Mt. Rushmore/Russian Eagle and Spiderman/Statue of Liberty in a Rangers Jersey.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2009


I'm really digging Marty Biron's and I like Valiquette's Spidey and Elliot's Casey Jones as well.
posted by ghharr at 1:08 PM on October 22, 2009


I didn't expect Ned Flanders. But that's what I got.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on October 22, 2009


It's actually a Captain Kirk mask painted white.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on October 22, 2009


Patrick Lalime of the Sabres should win that TSN poll in a cakewalk. Most of the modern masks' artwork looks like it was lifted from the side panel of a '70s-vintage Chevy van. Meanwhile, Lalime's got Marvin the Martian wearing a Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes helmet on his lid (admittedly against the backdrop of a Chevy-vannish bison-in-winter scene). Still, Marvin the Martian - how can you top that?

Also, no goalie mask gallery's complete without Vladislav Tretiak's Sputnik-errific Summit Series helmet. And Grant Fuhr's vaguely art deco Cup-winning mask.
posted by gompa at 1:17 PM on October 22, 2009


I really like Luongo's mask for some reason. Must be the slightly-decaying/rusted look. Also, lumberjacks.
posted by threetoed at 1:29 PM on October 22, 2009


Cheevers. Absolutely.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:48 PM on October 22, 2009


also:
vaguely art deco Cup-winning mask.

Art Deco? more like Art Bozo. That thing is creepier than Ronald McDonald.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:55 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


>Brodeur's mask went from classic to "gross self-promotion"
You're right. I didn't know that until you pointed it out.

I vote Luongo.
posted by philfromhavelock at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2009


I'm going to be a huge nerd and say I really like the Mount Rushmore mask. Also, I like Biron's a lot. It seems more old-school to me, because it's not as loud and ridiculous as some of the others.

And fucking Brodeur! Is his new mask seriously nothing more than his initials on the front?!
posted by Shesthefastest at 2:14 PM on October 22, 2009


This post/thread got me thinking...are there any other pro sports where the athletes are allowed within the rules of the league to personalize their uniforms/equipment this way? The World Famous mentioned Ayrton Senna's helmet, but aside from car racing (and most of that is ads, right?) I can't really think of anything.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:51 PM on October 22, 2009


aside from car racing (and most of that is ads, right?)

Helmets in Formula 1 are highly personalized to the drivers. There is advertising on many of them, but the overall design is unique to each driver and not sponsor-driven.

Jenson Button's helmet this year, for example, was a design that combined the B of his surname, the Union Jack, and the colors of his team (Brawn GP). Then, partway through the season, sponsor elements began to be added to that design.
posted by The World Famous at 2:54 PM on October 22, 2009


Nothing says "hockey" like a flaming skull. Kipper!

Agree about Biron's mask, sometimes simple is best.
posted by cRamsay at 2:55 PM on October 22, 2009


Interesting point Card Cheat. I wonder if you can draw a line all the way back and point to the fact that the change was initiated by a player rather than the organization.
posted by mannequito at 2:56 PM on October 22, 2009


This post/thread got me thinking...are there any other pro sports where the athletes are allowed within the rules of the league to personalize their uniforms/equipment this way?

Players of various sports can get away with quite a bit when it comes to shoes.
posted by The World Famous at 3:04 PM on October 22, 2009


Lord Byron would have been proud.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:21 PM on October 22, 2009


Gump Worsley didn't need no stinkin' mask, cause he had the coolest name which protected him from the puck.
posted by digsrus at 3:28 PM on October 22, 2009


"Well I heard Wendel talking to Dave Hodge last night--
And he said that he was confident and keen.
And he said that Jacques Plante didn't die
So all of us could glide,
He said that hard work is the ethic of the free."


-- The Ballad of Wendel Clark, The Rheostatics. (from Part II penned by Dave Bidini and Dave Clarke)
posted by salishsea at 3:57 PM on October 22, 2009


Tretiak's helmet is awesome but only because he is in it.
posted by srboisvert at 4:53 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


>This post/thread got me thinking...are there any other pro sports where the athletes are allowed within the rules of the league to personalize their uniforms/equipment this way?
Borje Salming IIRC had a sticker on his helmet when he played with the Leafs in the early eighties. That is about the only one I can think of, off hand.
posted by philfromhavelock at 6:43 PM on October 22, 2009


I feel like the neighborhood codger ("You kids get off my rink!"), but I find the modern masks not at all interesting. (Dr. Wu in the previous thread summed it up well, I think, when he compared them to bad airbrushed van art from the 70s.)

Cheevers's is the mask that comes immediately to mind, of course, but many of the masks in the old days had a primitive majesty to them that their present-day counterparts lack.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:05 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


I believe Terry Sawchuk tops Cheevers's mask.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:28 PM on October 22, 2009


Borje Salming IIRC had a sticker on his helmet when he played with the Leafs in the early eighties.

Don't forget the Cheeversesque facial customization he had.
posted by srboisvert at 2:06 AM on October 23, 2009


Marlene Ross has designed quite a number of NHL goalie masks. I like Martin Brodeur's mask from World Cup 2004.
posted by Kabanos at 7:14 AM on October 23, 2009


I don't know. While I like the artistic qualities of many of the masks, I can't help but think Chris Osgood's plain red unadorned cage is one of the best out there right now. Simply because (a) it reminds me of the old-school mask designs, and (b) he doesn't need some fancy paint job to let players know he means business in the net.

And god damn, Sawchuck looks like he was attacked by a pack of wolves. That face is exactly why my grandpa turned down an offer to play for the Red Wings back in the 1940's. The players didn't make enough money back then, he had a family to support, and the thought of ending up disfigured for life - what they were offering wasn't enough for him to accept the position.

(He claims he was only offered the spot because there was a war on, and the "good" players were overseas. My aunt says he's full of shit, and he was good enough that he could have done well had he gone pro. Ah well, his team [the Escanaba Hawks] was one game away from winning the Calder Cup when his brother-in-law sunk the puck in the wrong net, and that's as close as he came to hockey fame...)
posted by caution live frogs at 10:17 AM on October 23, 2009


Gotta say, I like the old school masks.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:15 AM on October 23, 2009


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