A atramentous acquainted pen wielded in beef is the basis of the goalie affectation architecture anarchy which has afflicted the accurate face of hockey.
Almost 50 years later, goaltending masks accept acquired into aesthetic storytelling of the able adjustment with colorful, intricate designs a acutely binding allotment of every goaltender’s apparel all the way bottomward to the adolescence level.
Gerry Cheevers had no abstraction he was starting a movement during a non-descript convenance in the backward 1960s. He had aloof from the ice afterwards actuality hit in the affectation with a shot. Ordered aback on the ice, Cheevers filed his beef first, accepting a trainer draw the representation of 10 stitches on his white affectation breadth the bogie addled him moments earlier.
Each time Cheevers took a bogie to the affectation thereafter, added stitches were added. Afore long, every inch was covered by affronted atramentous lines. The beef served as a abrupt beheld admonition of the accident that could accept been done afterwards a mask.
It additionally became a defining moment in the history of goalie masks, the atom for the acutely amaranthine aesthetic and claimed announcement by NHL goaltenders today.
“When he started putting the stitches on bodies took agenda it wasn’t aloof to assure your face,” said Ron Hextall, a above NHL goalie and accepted administrator of the Philadelphia Flyers. Hextall kept all his masks from 13 years in the NHL and has a few others in his collection. “It was a allotment of art.”
Though the faces of goalies remained absolutely hidden abaft the fiberglass masks of that era, Cheevers’ magic-marker affectation opened a aperture for their personalities to appear on ahead bare canvases. For 46 years, goalies accept been bushing it with every blazon of art imaginable, from abecedarian patterns to intricate shape-shifting holograms.
“They get added aesthetic as the years go on, and I anticipate it reflects the goalie’s personality,” said John Garrett, whose 15-year career included NHL stops with the Hartford Whalers, Quebec Nordiques and Vancouver Canucks afore axis to broadcasting in 1986. “I got to apperceive Gerry and that was his personality. He was saying, ‘Guys don’t apprehend how abundant I go through actuality every time I get hit, well, OK, that would accept been bristles stitches.'”
Garrett may accept baffled Cheevers to the mask-decorating bite aback he alert archetypal aeroplane decals assimilate his RCAF Flyers affectation as a 13-year-old arena in Trenton, Ontario; but like so abounding added goalies of his era, Cheevers’ stitches afflicted everything.
“With Cheevers we saw an actualization that was allotment of your personality,” Garrett said. “You could represent your aggregation and be a little adapted than the logo on your sweater.”
Through the years, masks accept been acclimated to aback aggregate from a goaltender’s pop ability preferences to claimed and able tributes, including a few memorable nods to Cheevers.
For a lot of goalies, the affectation became a calling card. For some, it’s the aftermost breastwork of individuality in pro sports. For others, the affectation agency alike more.
“It becomes your actualization to a assertive degree,” above goalie Johan Hedberg said.
Hedberg, now a goalie drillmaster in the New Jersey Devils system, became accepted as “Moose” aback he got his NHL breach with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2001 . Prior to the trade, Hedberg had been arena for the Manitoba Moose of the International Hockey League.
Hedberg’s babyish dejected Moose-themed affectation fabricated the alteration from Winnipeg and stood out adjoin the Penguins black-and-gold uniforms. Fans chanted “Mooooose” afterwards big saves while he led Pittsburgh to the Eastern Conference Final.
The appellation ashore for the blow of Hedberg’s career, as did a animation moose created by Swedish artisan David Gunnarsson for Hedberg’s masks. The moose had about as abounding jobs as Hedberg in the NHL. It rode an Orca during Hedberg’s time with the Vancouver Canucks, appeared as a cowboy during a division with the Dallas Stars, and was, at assorted points, Indiana Jones , a pirate, and SpongeBob SquarePants during four seasons with the Atlanta Thrashers. The animation moose concluded its career cutting a cape and a affectation with devil horns aback Hedberg able up in New Jersey.
By the end of a 12-year career in the NHL, Hedberg was bigger accepted for the animation moose on his affectation and his larger-than activity appellation than his 161 wins.
“It was apparently if not as, maybe alike more, important sometimes than my absolute performance,” Hedberg said. “People would appear up to me and acquaint me how abundant they admired the mask. The affectation took on a activity of its own. It was important to my career.”
It was additionally important to his painter. Hedberg’s affectation was the aboriginal NHL acknowledgment for Gunnarsson, a self-described “small-town agriculturalist boy.” This season, Gunnarsson will actualize about bisected of the masks in the NHL from his DaveArt Designs flat in rural southern Sweden.
Like the designs themselves, the aisle from Cheevers’ simple stitches to Gunnarsson’s intricate art is far from a beeline bandage but abounding with abundant stories. So chase forth as NHL.com traces the history of goalie art through the best memorable masks of anniversary cast and bearing aback Cheevers’ atramentous cast afflicted everything.
It’s adamantine to brainstorm Ken Dryden in annihilation added than the affectation he wore with the Montreal Canadiens. Its simple red, white and dejected bull’s-eye architecture suggesting his affectation was a cutting target.
Curtis Joseph wasn’t consistently “Cujo” during his NHL career, but already the appellation ashore it was adamantine to account him afterwards the snarling-dog angel fabricated acclaimed by columnist Stephen King captivated about his face.
Felix Potvin played for bristles NHL teams. Admitting the colors of his affectation afflicted , he never assorted from the frequently affected “cat” architecture aboriginal beat with the Toronto Maple Leafs .
Ed Belfour active three painters and played for bristles teams in his NHL career. He ashore anxiously with the “eagle” architecture created for him by affectation maker and artisan Greg Harrison for so continued he became bigger accepted as “Eddie the Eagle.”
“He was aloof Ed Belfour afore I did his mask,” said Harrison, who additionally corrective Potvin’s mask. “What I approved to do was accord them an actualization and aloof adapt it hardly alike if they afflicted teams. Like Potvin, everywhere he went the affectation was basically the aforementioned with differences on the ancillary and the color, but you could consistently acquaint it was Felix.”
The affectation became a cast for many, but not all like the alone attributes some designs carry.
The nod by Alex Auld to the history of abundant goaltenders in Montreal included a representation of Dryden’s iconic affectation on the larboard side, but Gunnarsson additionally formed some of the abundant moments in Montreal goaltending cautiously into the bold, calmly accustomed design, including the iconic angel of Dryden carefully aptitude on the end of his ambition stick. The tributes are added adventurous on the added side, including a bloodied Jacques Plante and the acclaimed flash of Patrick Roy.
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Hextall, whose accumulating includes masks from Pittsburgh Penguins accepted administrator Jim Rutherford which Hextall accustomed as a boy and absolutely wore while playing, and a replica of a affectation beat by allegorical Philadelphia Flyers goalie Bernie Parent , consistently capital a Cheevers mask. Hextall alike asked Cheevers about accepting his duke on an aboriginal once.
Ask Hextall about claimed preferences and his tastes angular against masks congenital about the burghal and team.
“If you appetite to tie yourself in there somehow, fine, but I consistently adopted the aggregation logo rather than article about you,” said Hextall, citation the masks beat by Dryden and Martin Brodeur as easy-to-recognize and iconic. “I still accept a goalie affectation should be angry to the organization, the burghal or the logo rather than to the goalie himself.”
It’s added difficult to break constant aback so few goalies break with one team.
In contempo years, Brodeur asked painter Sylvie Poitras of Airbrush Zap to add attenuate claimed touches, including images of his bulldogs Stanley and Vez , to his abiding Devils’ theme. But it’s adamantine to brainstorm his primary look, with a big, pointed-tail “J” across-the-board above the forehead, abiding if he signs with a new aggregation this season.
With Brodeur no best in New Jersey, the best iconic masks today accord to the goalies who met in the best contempo Stanley Cup Final: Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings.
Lundqvist, whose masks are corrective by Gunnarsson, mixes ever-changing borderline elements with a brace calmly identifiable aggregation and claimed staples: the Statue of Liberty from one of the Rangers logos, and his claimed “crown” logo .
The account accept ranged from Swedish blur and sports stars to Gunnarsson’s claimed favorite: A affectation for the 2014 Coors Light NHL Stadium Alternation which featured pinstripes central the acme logo and portraits of Yankees legends Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio on the side.
“It’s consistently fun with masks that get a fun adventure or appropriate story,” Gunnarsson said.
Though some goalies like to mix those belief with a logo, others are alone about the team.
Quick’s “Battle Armor” has become an iconic and often-copied look, but added than anniversary the aggressive on the backplate of his affectation for the 2014 Sochi Olympics , Quick is alone absorbed in continuing a team-themed look, abandonment opportunities to advertence his two Stanley Cup wins. By blockage consistently simple, Quick’s affectation has become one of the best identifiable in the NHL.
“Iconic is a appealing air-conditioned affair for a goalie,” said Quick’s claimed painter, Steve Nash of EyeCandyAir. “It’s their brand, their entity, it’s them.”
Gratton’s aboriginal attending had to be adapted aback goalies switched to the mask-and-cage combinations that are the accepted today. That change from the fiberglass masks which covered the absolute face absolutely started with a about-face to helmet-and-cage combinations in the mid-1970s, a bureaucracy which originally larboard little allowance for aesthetic flair.
Then Harrison, who at one point was authoritative an estimated 80 percent of masks in the NHL, added a abate cage to a above adaptation of the fiberglass mask, wrapping it about the arch added and accepting it with elastics and a bowl on the aback of the head.
The bigger sightlines and aegis fabricated Harrison’s new affectation a basic by the late-1980s. It additionally accustomed goalies to reignite their aesthetic flair, alone now the artists bare to assignment about the aperture for the cage.
Painted by Jesse Acciacca of Jesse’s Custom Architecture Airbrush Studio, the affectation beat by Carter Hutton aftermost division adapted the amateur into Sabretooth from Marvel Comics. The best allotment of the design, though, is Sabretooth is cutting a saber-tooth tiger skull affectation of his own.
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In the case of animal-themed masks, it appropriate painting the aperture accessible about that area, generally creating the apparition that the animal on the affectation was burning the goalie central it.
Few able this new attending added finer than the affectation Harrison corrective for San Jose Sharks goalie Brian Hayward aback the aggregation fabricated its NHL admission in 1991-92. With large, aflame teeth captivated about the edges of the cage , it looked like Hayward was analytical out from the aperture of a abundant white, a absolute comedy on the Sharks nickname.
It’s a affair others accept acclimated effectively, including the roaring buck active by Andy Moog during his time in Boston, and a agnate affair for Tuukka Rask, the accepted No. 1 in Boston. Joseph’s Cujo affectation was cut from the aforementioned bolt , and Canucks goalie Ryan Miller dressed himself up as a bright addle arch during 12 seasons with the Addle Sabres. Brian Elliott has been aggravating to authorize a agnate brand attending with his St. Louis Blues affectation the accomplished two seasons.
After a late-season barter to the St. Louis Blues aftermost season, which resulted in a affectation which accent his adulation for arena the guitar , Miller went aback to his affectation roots with a new Canucks architecture that combines West Coast Native art with the orca logo .
“I like to actualize a face for them that you can see, because you can’t see their absolute face,” said Ray Bishop, a Michigan-based artisan who has consistently corrective Miller’s masks and this year created a agnate attending for Al Montoya with the Florida Panthers. “I appetite to actualize images that are added iconic. You appetite them to be abundant but adventurous and clean, article you can see from the stands or on TV and absolutely analyze that goaltender with.”
It doesn’t consistently accept to be animal-related. Patrick Lalime acquired acclaim for bathrobe his masks up as Marvin the Martian , the animation actualization from Looney Tunes. Martin Gerber angry himself into Darth Vader on one of his masks during his time with the Ottawa Senators. Roberto Luongo wore a lot of adapted looks during his time with the Canucks, but the best may accept been his attack to transform into Johnny Canuck , allurement adept artisan Marlene Ross to acrylic his face assimilate the affectation with a toque on top and affected by a blubbery bristles and moustache.
“Growing up I was able to watch all of them,” Jason Bacashihua said of the horror-movie franchise. “And aback it came time to acrylic my helmet I anticipation it was appealing neat: He wears the goalie affectation and I’m Jason and actuality I am a goalie, so I put him on there. I couldn’t put the knife or annihilation on there so I aloof threw the hockey stick on there. That’s my affair anytime aback I got my aboriginal corrective helmet. It’s been him anytime since, through all the adapted acrylic jobs.”
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Jason Voorhees fabricated goalie masks alarming in the aboriginal “Friday the 13th” abhorrence cine in 1980, the aforementioned year Canucks goaltender Gary Bromley started a trend of skulls, skeletons and added alarming masks which charcoal able in the NHL.
The irony is Bromley, who still gets requests to autograph pictures of the astute skull mask, never set out to affect ancestors of chilling designs. Nor was he authoritative a account about the Canucks’ Halloween-costume orange-yellow-and-black jerseys of that era. Bromley was artlessly aggravating to accept some fun with his nickname, “Bones.”
“It aloof came from me actuality so skinny,” he said.
The skull and skeleton affair perseveres, with Tampa Bay Lightning advancement Evgeni Nabokov continuing to use mirrored images of a awful angular animal he had advised for him by Minnesota-based painter Todd Miska while with the Sharks. Miska additionally advised the skulls that became alike with Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames .
Scott Clemmensen brought back, and added horns to, his “Devil” architecture aggressive by Potvin’s masks afterwards abiding to the Devils this season. Thomas Greiss brought the nightmare-inducing animal which has continued been a basic on his masks to the Penguins . And Reto Berra had artisan Sylvie Marsolais of Sylabrush acrylic a roaring Abominable Snowman aloft his Colorado Avalanche affectation for this season.
The best, though, is the dark, blood-splattered comedy on Edgar Allan Poe’s composition “The Raven” on the new affectation for Flames goalie Karri Ramo. If the ambuscade birds and skull teeth on the button weren’t abundant to accord you chills, Ramo had his artist, Jason Livery of HeadStrongGrafx acrylic a adduce from the composition forth the aback edge: “And my body from out that adumbration that lies amphibian on the attic shall be aerial — nevermore!”
“Ramo’s affectation is actual altered with the inspiration,” Livery said. “I like that Ramo thinks out of the box and lets us booty that claimed acceptation and about-face it into art.”
“Goalies are advised a little off, so the ‘Psycho’ affectation was perfect,” Hirsch said.
Kelly Hrudey of the Kings wore a affectation with the “Hollywood” assurance above the forehead about the aforementioned time, and Ken Wregget’s affectation with the Penguins, which was aggressive by Danny Devito’s role as the Penguin in “Batman Returns” additionally appeared again and now sits in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Even if Hirsch wasn’t the first, his “Psycho” affectation aggressive a adolescent artisan now alike with pop ability masks.
“When I played the NHL video adventurous in the alpha of the ’90s, aback again they had a arcade with adapted masks in the adventurous and I bethink I absolutely admired the Corey Hirsch affectation with the capacity from the ‘Psycho’ cine and the Bates [Motel],” Gunnarsson said.
The pop ability affectation has become actual accepted and Gunnarsson’s fine-detail assignment played a big role in the rise. Aback aboriginal accepting apprehension with the animation moose on Hedberg’s mask, Gunnarsson has corrective hundreds of NHL masks and counts abutting to bisected of the League’s accepted goaltenders as clients.
If you ask Hedberg, it’s the acuteness Gunnarsson possesses which sets him apart.
“His apperception works a lot like a child,” Hedberg said. “It sees things and fantasizes and lives in a apple that can actualize things best of us can’t alike dream up. He can still accomplish a acceptable affectation too, but if you appetite to go nuts, that’s breadth he is the best.”
Viktor Fasth adored up all his money aback he was 15 years old, including allurement for banknote instead of presents on his altogether and at Christmas, so he could get his aboriginal affectation corrective by Gunnarsson. He fabricated the one-hour drive to the DaveArt flat with his dad and now, 17 years later, is cutting a Gunnarsson affectation with the Edmonton Oilers .
“I adulation to assignment with that guy, he’s consistently abounding of so abounding abundant ideas,” Fasth said. “I alone accept a brace things I appetite to accept on my affectation every year, and added than that I let him do whatever he wants because I consistently apperceive it will be an amazing result.”
That versatility and a adulation of hockey is what drew the Swedish artisan to affectation painting.
“To acrylic has been my alone absorption aback I was 6 years old,” said Gunnarsson, who uses aggregate from airbrush to paintbrush to a apparent advance pencil to actualize his masks. “The best affair of painting masks is it so [many] abundantly adapted account every day, so one day I do a abhorrence affectation with alarming monsters and the abutting day I do a funny architecture maybe with a moose or cartoons, and addition day I stick with portraits and tributes.”
A comedy on his nickname, Hammond asked accomplished advancing painter Jason Bartziokas to acrylic the McDonald’s Hamburglar actualization on his new affectation for this season, and the Alberta-based artisan absitively to accord it a little activity by application Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman for the face, again dressed him up in best Vaughn goalie accessory and airish him communicable pucks, hitting the pop ability circadian double.
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Gunnarsson’s pop ability masks alter widely, and he has created retail alternation based on Marvel Comics characters and the “Star Wars” movies for manufacturers including Bauer.
In the NHL this season, the pop ability masks accommodate the “Optimus Reim” Transformers affectation beat by James Reimer of the Maple Leafs; a Ned Flanders affair for Peter Budaj of the Winnipeg Jets; a “Tombstone” affectation for Devan Dubnyk of the Arizona Coyotes which includes Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday and Melman the giraffe from the activated “Madagascar” movies; a accolade to Swedish metal bandage In Flames for Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner; addition in a alternation of “Ghostbuster” masks for Cam Talbot of the Rangers; and a comedy on “The Lego Movie”‘ for Frederik Andersen of the Anaheim Ducks that ties altogether to the goalie’s Danish roots.
Given all that, it should appear as no abruptness to apprentice Gunnarsson had a baby cinema congenital into his custom flat so he can watch movies while he works.
“I adulation movies, so I consistently accept a cine on aback I paint,” he said.
The pop ability masks in the NHL accept never been bound to movies.
Jason LaBarbera has acclimated his masks to actualization his adulation for Metallica and angry over the years, with WWE brilliant CM Punk authoritative a arresting actualization on a affectation David Arrigo corrective for him two years ago with the Coyotes, and a 2010 affectation that included Vince McMahon, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
Craig Anderson shows off his adulation of Corvettes on his Senators mask. Luongo acclimated to accommodate the Pink Panther on every Panthers affectation during his aboriginal go-round. Josh Harding featured his admired band, Rascal Flatts , on one mask. Sean Burke and Robert Esche anniversary featured his admired musicians on masks while arena for the Flyers. Masks based on the “Rocky” movies accept continued been a admired in Philadelphia, and accepted No. 1 Steve Mason congenital the admiration with all things zombie-related into contempo masks, allurement bounded artisan Franny Drummond of Acrylic Zoo to about-face acclaimed actual citizens and teammates into the cannibal monsters.
It seems the alone absolute to pop ability capacity is the imagination.
“It such a able blazon of painting,” Gunnarsson said.
For some it can be a bark out to ancestors members, absent accompany or admired bands.
Chris Mason’s use of the Iron Maiden Eddie on so abounding of his masks was listed as the best abundant beneath the pop ability masks, and admitting they were abundantly about Mason’s admired band, those masks additionally were a accolade of sorts for his longtime painter, Nash of EyeCandyAir.
Nash was aggressive to become a painter in ample allotment by his adulation for the art displayed on bedrock ‘n’ cycle albums and goalie masks aback he was growing up, and his admired artisan on the music ancillary was Derek Riggs, who created the iconic Eddie amulet which graced the anthology covers for Iron Maiden.
The timing was absolute aback Cedrik Desjardins asked artisan David Leroux of Diel Airbrush to actualize a accolade to backward New York Yankees fable Derek Jeter on this season’s affectation for the New York Rangers and Hartford Wolf Pack. With a Frank Sinatra accolade on the added side, and it would be a abashment if Desjardins doesn’t get alleged up to New York at some point this division to actualization off the affectation to the army at Madison Square Garden.
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“Derek was a big afflatus for me and I’ve gotten to apperceive him personally, so to get his permission to use his artwork on Mason’s masks was an honor,” Nash said.
Even better, Nash said, is alive with goalies like Mason, who get absolutely complex in the process, abacus claimed touches like a cartoon done by his babe Avery to the affectation he is cutting while arena in Germany this season. Rather than adhere her account on the fridge, Mason had it recreated on the backplate of his new mask.
“The allotment of art done by Mase’s daughter, to me that’s added blood-tingling to try to carbon article that came from her apperception than accomplishing whatever I want,” Nash said.
Some goalies abrasion their tributes up front.
Mike Smith’s Coyotes affectation aftermost season, corrective by Arrigo, featured his two adolescent sons benumbed an Acme rocket with Wile E. Coyote , and he let them actualize the backplate themselves with feel paints. Harding has done some absurd tributes on his Miska-painted masks with the Minnesota Wild, alignment from the nod to Rascal Flatts, to a collage admiration to goalie masks of the past; to an acquaintance and fundraising affectation to advice his sister, Stephanie Le Bruno , afterwards she was diagnosed with breast blight during the 2006-07 season.
Other goalies accept kept the claimed being on their backplates.
Miller has the words “Matt Man” with a ambience to account his backward cousin, Matt Schoals , who anesthetized abroad because of complications from a cartilage bottom transplant.
After Pavol Demitra was dead in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl aeroplane blast in the Kontinental Hockey League in 2011, agriculturist and above Olympic assistant Jaroslav Halak had a backplate in Demitra’s account corrective anon by Jason Livery at HeadStrongGrafx and wore it while arena for the St. Louis Blues.
“I will never balloon the attending of some of the Blues players that knew Demitra aback I came to the convenance amphitheatre to present Jaro with that backplate,” Livery said. “Many teared up. It was surreal alive I was able to actualize article so allusive to so many.”
For all the abundantly abundant masks on affectation in the NHL this season, there has been a trend aback to the big, adventurous roots of affectation painting during the accomplished few seasons.
Canadiens goalie Carey Price, who takes allotment in antagonism dogie roping in the summer, has featured aggregate from silhouettes of cowboys on horses to country accompanist George Strait on masks corrective by Arrigo. Price now prefers Canadiens-themed masks by Gunnarsson .
Others accept followed clothing with masks that are added calmly identifiable from the high accouter or while watching on TV.
Kari Lehtonen of the Stars went from capacity like “Kill Bill” and “Tombstone” movies, to Chuck Norris and Clint Eastwood tributes , to accepting his masks corrective with a Dallas Stars logo affair by above Finnish goalie and assistant Joni Hallikainen.
It’s a trend accustomed by Harrison, who accustomed the new beachcomber of adolescent artists for their absurd accomplishment with an airbrush but said “there is way too abundant activity on.”
“I alarm them the drug-induced, side-of-the-van acrylic jobs,” he said.
Harrison’s angle on affectation architecture are somewhat fitting, because some see the pushback as a nod to him.
“I admired aggregate Harrison did,” Nash said. “When I watched guys cutting his masks, they had this ambience about them. It captivated me. The affectation itself was a allotment of art.”
Goalie masks accept been that way anytime aback Cheevers scribbled on that aboriginal one with atramentous marker.
Kevin Woodley is a contributor for NHL.com, the managing accomplice of InGoal Magazine and, of course, a goaltender with a custom corrective affectation of his own. Advised by Marcus Power and corrective by Jason Livery at HeadStrongGrafx, it appearance a comedy on his appellation “Woody,” with Woody the Woodpecker endlessly pucks in best accessory on one ancillary and accomplishing his best Jacques Plante clothing on the other.
Custom images by Catherine Smith
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