Tuesday, October 12, 2010

BEHIND THE MASKS - Slick Tribute Mask

How many of you caught the Canucks/Kings game on Saturday night? If you did, you probably caught the sweet gear that Kings' tender Jonathan Quick was sporting.

For those of you that missed it, check it out. I am using some photos from InGoal Magazine's website as they are hands down the best ones showing closeups of the masks. Check out their website if you like goalies and/or goalie masks.....it is a very solid website.

Vintage goalie equipment rules. Just sayin'.

With the celebration of the Canucks' 40th Anniversary year, all of the Vancouver players were donning their true retro jerseys. And to make the night even more special, so were the Kings.

Anytime that happens, I always pay close attention to what the goalies wear. In this case, I was pleasantly surprised. Not just retro pads, retro blocker, retro catcher, but a cool retro mask paying homage to the famous crown mask of Rogie Vachon.

Sure it might not be an exact replica, but the spirit of the vintage feel was definitely there. The purple and gold just punched through and the brown pads and such just recreated the 'old-time' feel perfectly.

Just in case he was called into action, backup goalie Jonathan Bernier also had his mask 'retro'ed up for the occasion.

Again, the colors are just awesome. Something you don't see much of nowadays. I can only imagine what kind of cards can come from this with the classic purple and gold eventually getting cut up and slapped into cards (you know it'll happen).

Now, the tribute mask of Quick's wasn't the first of its kind.

Probably the most popular (and most memorable) was Steve Shields and his Cheevers tribute mask from a few years ago. A great conversation starter and definitely a one-of-a-kind look at the time.

Or so you would think.

Hannu Toivonen, a once highly touted goalie (who has since become that journeyman scrub-type player) also had some nice tribute masks. This one, from his stint with the Blues, pays homage to Ed Staniowski and his classic mask.

Toivonen also had tribute masks made up depicting Dennis Lemieux, the goalie for the Charlestown Chiefs in the classic hockey film Slap Shot, as well as with his current team - Chicago, paying tribute to Tony Esposito.

Now these masks were not the first tribute masks to be worn in the NHL. Back in the mid-90's, Montreal goalie Jocelyn Thibault had a fairly simple and crude tribute mask. But nonetheless, a tribute.

The helmet paid tribute to the pretzel-style mask goalies had in the 1960's. A little weak I would say, but still a nice shout out to the goalies of an era past.

I'd like to see more tribute masks sprout up for situations like anniversary games or special games like the Winter Classic or the All-Star game. I think, when done right, can really trigger interest in other aspects of the game and get more people informed with the history of the sport.

My first choice would be somehow to get a team to do a Gilles Meloche mask from the Cleveland Barons. Now that would be sweet.

What would be your choice?


  1. I have to say the Shields mask is my favorite of the tribute masks.

  2. I'd like to see someone invent a mask that gets rid of the bars entirely, but is still safe enough that it will protect as well as the new ones. I find those bars really get in the way of some of the creativity that could be had on masks. I guess the bars give the goalie better visibility, too, but still some way to go back to the old style would be nice.

  3. Check out Marty Biron's new tribute mask here

  4. That is very cool. Great find. Thanks for sharing.

    Now what he needed to do is go full on fibreglass. Now THAT would have been awesome.