Wednesday, March 14, 2012

RATE MY MASK - Dan Bouchard

Time for a little vintage mask goodness.

I've got a bit of a soft spot for this one (and it might just affect the scoring). This was one of my faves as a kid growing up. Mainly because it was cool to draw (and easy......just needed a red pencil crayon).

Dan Bouchard was the number one goalie in the Flames' organization when they moved from Atlanta to Calgary to start the 1980 season. For a short time, Dan was my man.

Until he was traded to Quebec after just 14 starts (for Jamie Hislop). I was a little bummed (but I soon discovered the Vancouver Canucks and all would be better.

I spoke of drawing Bouchard's 'fire' mask as a kid and here was the template I used to do some mean tracing. FYI.....when you're 8, tracing is the same as drawing.

This page came from the 'Hockey Masks and the Great Goalies Who Wear Them' book I would constantly be borrowing from the library.

At the time, I wouldn't really care about what the words said at the bottom. After all, there was a cool mask to look at.

For those who still don't want to read it, I'll give you a chunk of the dialogue.

"From first vaseline to final paint and polish, Dan Bouchard's masks are his own creation. 'I started making my own masks when I was 18. I have a special recipe to give extra strength to the fibreglass. The young son of a neighbor acts as art critic. If we both like the design, I feel it's a good one.'"

It's pretty cool to think that Bouchard did his own artwork. I think it's even cooler that a 13-year-old kid designed this lid that would catch the eye of a lot of teammates, opponents and fans all throughout the NHL.

This Jim Homuth mask was one of the final full fibreglass masks to be worn in the NHL. It was the early to mid-80's when most goalies switched to either the conventional helmet and cage or the combo mask (that would eventually become the norm in pro hockey).

In fact, if you look at old videos and photos of Bouchard, you'll notice that the switch occurred when he was still with the Flames (makes sense since I don't recall him wearing a fibreglass mask when he came to Calgary).

I really like the crown of flames at the top of the mask. Rarely do you get to see this part of the mask (especially close up). It's just a simple idea, but I really like how the whole mask works the positive and negative space (red and white).

This mask currently sits in the collection of a mask connoisseur named Barry Levine. I came across his fantastic website tonight which showcases some of the great lids he's accumulated over the years (including a Murray Bannerman and Rogie Vachon.....very nice).

Be sure to check out some of the amazing closeup photos he's taken to really give you a great sense of what these masks have done over time to protect the brave tenders. In some instances, he compares these photos to actual game photos to prove that he does indeed own the actual mask. It's very cool to see.

The scuff marks, paint chips and full blown cracks must make the goalie breathe a small sigh of relief that it's the fibreglass and not the face that receive the bulk of vulcanized rubber punishment.

You can pretty much see the brushstrokes as the design is carefully placed on the blank white fibreglass canvas. I love the non-symmetrical paint job. It gives the mask a human touch that sometimes is lacking with today's airbrushed work.

Simple and effective.

Talk about simple, check out the inside of the mask. It's downright scary to think that this is what was referred to as 'protection' back in the day. Little to no padding.

But I guess it beat the alternative.

3 out of 5.

Now it's your turn to Rate My Mask!


  1. 2/5. It could be Red Wings mask.

  2. always liked Dan... the fact that he made it himself, awesome.

    see ya at trade night tonight.