Friday, May 17, 2013


In The Game recently released the 2012/13 edition of one of my all-time favourite sets - Between The Pipes.  I normally bust a box of the product (I'll share that another time) with the goalie mask cards being the highlight (and pursuit).

This year's offering is a little different than past sets and I think the changes are an improvement.  I picked up a handful of Masked Men 5 cards at the Toronto Expo and so I'll let the show & tell do all the talking.

John Garrett.  This mask immediately shoots me back to the early 80's.  It's the mask on one of my favourite OPC cards from the era and it is also a huge reminder of the infamous All-Star Game in which Garrett was the replacement for Richard Brodeur.  He was on his way to winning the MVP (and a new car) until some guy named Wayne decided to pot four goals in the third.

Murray Bannerman.  Notice anything about these cards?  That's right....not photos, but artist sketches.  Paul Madden (the same guy who did some work on the Enforcers product as well as Sportkings to name a few) has done some stunning work.  These sketches are bang on capturing the expression and character in each of the player's faces and masks.  An amazing feat if you ask me.

Doug Favell.  Love this Rockies mask.  The crispness of the sketches is far superior than the sometimes blurry photo zoom in that plagued previous releases.  Check the base cards if you want a good example of that.

Denis Herron.  Notice a trend here?  Yeah, I love the vintage fibreglass lids.  They just have way more character than today's masks.  Simple designs and bold colors combined with archaic looking masks create an instant classic.

Mike Palmateer.  Case in point.  This is another of my faves.  So simple, but so cool.  Best ever Washington mask if you ask me.  It's a 50-card set and this year it's all current or past goalies.  No junior or AHL players.  No offense to those guys, but I like my goalie mask sets to be pros only.  In fact, if it were up to'd be vintage all the way.

Bernie Parent.  One of the few non-NHL masks.  Anybody know what team Bernie was playing for when he donned this classic lid?  Shouldn't be too tough (if you're over say 35 years of age).

Gary Simmons.  Sweet!  The cobra mask is another that gets top billing in my book.  I love that the mask doesn't match one bit with his Golden Seals jersey color.  Why should he change's just too awesome.

Billy Smith.  Most of us remember him wearing his helmet and cage from his Stanley Cup winning days, but before he became the go to goalie in the playoffs, Billy wore this cool mask.  The long chin and unique throat guard makes this a keeper.

Wayne Stephenson.  Bold colors again...and a clever way of including the Flyers logo.  Looks very menacing.  Love it.  They just don't make 'em like this anymore.  Shame.

The red background has some funky refracting shiny goodness to it and there is a slight embossing to the mask sketch itself.  One wouldn't think that it would all come together and work - but it spades.  A really solid looking card (and they scan well too).

There were a couple more mask cards I picked up (with a certain Habs collector in mind).

Nice and nice.  One has since been traded away while the other stays in the pc (he had it already).  I've also added a few more from my box break, made a couple trades and as a result.....the wantlist is different.  But I just needed to share these goodies.  I think they look fantastic.


  1. Man... this set is awesome. Some of these masks would have given me nightmares as a child.

  2. WOW...Love the retro masks.

  3. Didn't Bernie play for the Philly Blazers of the WHA?

    As for the images, what's your take on the paintings? do you think this is a nod to counter some of the fuzzy photos that ITG uses?

    1. Bingo....on both fronts.

      I think that's exactly what the reasoning is. To me, it pays off well. The sketches look really impressive. The detail and likeness are uncanny.

  4. Does anyone know who illustrated the masks?

    1. His name is Paul Madden and he also illustrated the cards in Enforcers and has also done some Sportkings work. I got a chance to meet him at the Toronto Expo back in 2013. Super talented.