Monday, April 11, 2011

RATE MY MASK - Warren Skorodenski

There are a number of goalies who have had all but a cup of coffee in the NHL, yet remain memorable to many because of the mask they wore.

This goalie fits that bill almost better than anyone else.

Warren had brief success playing for the Blackhawks in the early 1980's. Making his NHL debut in the 81/82 season, he played just one game for the Hawks while spending the rest of the season in the AHL. That season, he shared the Harry "Hap" Holmes Memorial Award with Bob Janecyk for the fewest goals against.

He finally broke through with Chicago in 1984 and actually led the league in save percentage (.904), playing in only 27 games. He also saw limited time in his first Stanley Cup playoffs that year.

He played six more games in the NHL, three in Chicago and three with the Oilers, after signing as a free agent in 1987.

Skorodenski finished his playing days with the Canadian National Team, finally hanging up his pads in 1991. He managed just 12 wins in his 35 career NHL games.

As for his mask, the skull design remains one of the most popular masks mentioned by goalie enthusiasts and fans alike. No surprise since it's a slick piece of hardware.

There is little info as to the nature of Skoro's mask, but I did find a quick interview with him where he says his mask was created by George Light in Selkirk, Manitoba. George worked in the casting department at the Selkirk Mental Hospital. He made Glen Hanlon's mask as well.

As for the debate whether he or Gary 'Bones' Bromley had the first skull mask, Warren says his was painted in the late 70's when he played for the Calgary Wranglers. He didn't even know who 'Bones' was until they played against each other in the AHL. Bones did not play in Vancouver until 78-79 and Warren had the skull mask in Calgary playing junior.

Recently, Warren served as the backup goalie during the Heritage Classic featuring the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens Alumni. He has played in a number of charity games and 3-on-3 tournaments in the Calgary area (and in fact, I had the chance to interview him a number of years ago myself....I really should dig out that interview). The skull mask still makes people do a double-take.

The design for its day was totally unique. No team colors or abstract design. This mask was all about intimidation.

Having the mask wrap further back around his head than most masks of the day also helped with the effect. I really like the color tone and detail while the smaller air holes allow for more of a skull feel as opposed to a mask feel.

I managed to find one quick video of Warren wearing the mask. You tell me how odd it looks compared to the rest of the players. Definitely ahead of its time.

4 out of 5. Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!


  1. I'll agree on this one. A solid 4/5

    very original in design as well as shape. No others like it.

  2. That last photo is pretty freaky.

  3. That mask reminded me a lot of one of the goalie masks in Slap Shot, which led me to this if you're intersted...

  4. Now you've ruined it Dave. This was supposed to be all goalie oriented and you had to plop the 'pop culture' turd. :)

    That said, the Dennis Lemieux mask is pretty sweet.

  5. that is a 5 for sure the design of the mask is the best evar!!! VERY unique and i like that!! :)

  6. Thanks for the comment Shauna.

    Unique is a wonderful thing.

  7. Old school. Way cool. I'll give it a 4.

  8. Being a goaltender myself, that is a great mask on #1. You obviously don't see them like that anymore. That mask should be in the H.O.F. in Toronto, even if Warrens record and career wasn't the best. Speaking of masks, what about the Thunder Bay Bombers goaltenders mask? Check it out from "Youngblood". You'll see what I mean.