Goaltender mask

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Jacques Plante's original fiberglass mask, first used on November 1, 1959 Plante Mask.jpg
Jacques Plante's original fiberglass mask, first used on November 1, 1959

A goaltender mask, commonly referred to as a hockey mask or a goalie mask, is a mask worn by ice hockey, inline hockey, field hockey, bandy and floorball goaltenders to protect the head from injury. Jacques Plante was the first goaltender to create and use a practical mask in 1959. [1] Plante's mask was a piece of fiberglass that was contoured to his face. This mask later evolved into a helmet-cage combination, and single piece full fiberglass mask. Today, the full fiberglass mask with the birdcage facial protector (known as a "combo mask") is the more popular option, because it is safer and offers better visibility.

Contents

History

Clint Benedict, shown in 1923, became the first goaltender to wear facial protection in a game in 1930. Clintbenedict.jpg
Clint Benedict, shown in 1923, became the first goaltender to wear facial protection in a game in 1930.

The first goaltender mask was a metal fencing mask donned in February 1927 by Queen's University netminder Elizabeth Graham, mainly to protect her teeth. [2] In 1930, the first crude leather model of the mask (actually an American football "nose-guard") was worn by Clint Benedict to protect his broken nose. [3] After recovering from the injury, he abandoned the mask, never wearing one again in his career. At the 1936 Winter Olympics, Teiji Honma wore a crude mask, similar to the one worn by baseball catchers. The mask was made of leather, and had a wire cage that protected the face, as well as Honma's large circular glasses.

It was not until 1959 that a goaltender wore a mask full-time. On November 1, 1959, in the first period of a game between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers of the National Hockey League (NHL) at Madison Square Garden, Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante was struck in the face by a shot from Andy Bathgate. [4] Plante had previously worn his mask in practice, but head coach Toe Blake refused to allow him to wear it in a game, fearing it would inhibit his vision. [5] After being stitched up, Plante gave Blake an ultimatum, refusing to go back out onto the ice without the mask, to which Blake obliged, not wanting to forfeit the game, since NHL teams did not have back-up goaltenders at the time. Montreal won the game 3–1 and continued on an 18-game unbeaten streak, which went through November. [6]

In preparation for the playoffs, Plante was asked by Blake to remove it for a game on March 8, a 3–0 loss. [7] Plante donned the mask the next night, [8] and for the remainder of his career. When he introduced the mask into the NHL, many questioned his dedication and bravery; in response, Plante made an analogy to a person skydiving without a parachute. Although Plante faced some laughter, the face-hugging fiberglass goaltender mask soon became the standard; by late 1969, only a few NHL goaltenders went without one. [1]

Since the invention of the fiberglass hockey mask, professional goaltenders no longer play without a mask. The last goaltender to play without a mask was Andy Brown, who played his last NHL game in 1974. He later moved to the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association and played without a mask until his retirement in 1977. [9]

Types

Face-hugging

Vintage Fibrosport goalie mask.jpg
Jasonmask.jpg
Left: 1970s mask made by Fibrosport; right: Friday the 13th character Jason Voorhees wearing the now-iconic goalie mask, molded from a 1970 Jacques Plante Elite FibroSport model 103, and painted in the style of a Detroit Red Wings mask

The face-hugging fiberglass, the type which was worn first by Jacques Plante, is a longtime symbol of ice hockey as typified by the famous painting At the Crease, by Ken Danby. The goaltender mask evolved further from the original face-hugging fiberglass mask designed by Plante. Although this mask does not seem very protective now, at the time it was, based on the style of game that was played.

Gerry Cheevers's use of the face-hugging mask for the Boston Bruins was among the first to be "decorated" in a custom manner; as prompted by then-Bruins trainer John "Frosty" Forristall as a joke, painting a fake stitch on the mask where Cheevers had been struck by an errant puck. [10] Cheevers adopted the "stitch mask" as his own, [11] and went on to set a NHL record (which still stands) of 32-straight wins during the Bruins' 1971–72 season. [12] [13]

While this style of mask is no longer used by hockey leagues, it has remained famous because of its use in popular culture. Perphaps the best-known example is the character Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th horror film franchise. [14] Casey Jones from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise also wears a stylized version of the mask, as did D-Roc the Executioner, the late guitarist of the heavy metal band Body Count. [15] Similarly, the members of Hollywood Undead are always seen wearing signature masks based on this design. In the film Heat , the protagonists wear face-hugging hockey masks as part of their disguise during a heist, as do the characters in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City , during a mission which is heavily inspired by the heist from the film.

Helmet-cage combination

Dominik Hasek face.jpg
Martin Gerber.jpg
Left: the cage/helmet combo mask, worn by Dominik Hašek; right: A standard (typical) full fiberglass/Kevlar mask, as worn by Martin Gerber

In the 1970s, a helmet-cage combination was popularized by Vladislav Tretiak. Like the original fiberglass design, the helmet-cage combination has been criticized for not providing adequate facial/cranial protection. Dan Cloutier switched from this type of mask to the more popular full fiberglass citing safety reasons upon the advice of the Los Angeles Kings. Dominik Hašek used this type of mask. Rick DiPietro, last with the New York Islanders in 2013, was one of the last NHL goaltenders to use this type of mask. [16] Following Clint Malarchuk's life threatening injury in 1989, more goaltender masks have adopted a plastic extension to guard the neck, usually hanging loose for more maneuverability. On March 4, 2014, Tim Thomas took the ice for the Florida Panthers wearing an old Cooper helmet painted dark blue with a modern Bauer cage and white Itech neck guard attached. During the game, the cage broke from a slapshot and Thomas returned with a red Mage-style helmet with a similar Bauer cage. [17] Goaltenders at lower levels of hockey (such as high-school, college or recreational leagues) who choose to use this design cite reasons such as the plastic helmet used is lighter than the fiberglass or composite materials used in other designs, and that the helmet has a wider opening than a traditional mask for a less claustrophobic feeling and better sight of the puck.

Fiberglass/cage combination (Combo mask)

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask with a full fiberglass/birdcage combination goaltender mask Tuukka Rask.jpg
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask with a full fiberglass/birdcage combination goaltender mask

In the late 1970s, a second type of goaltender mask with a fiberglass mask with a cage attached in the middle was developed by Dave Dryden and Greg Harrison. It can also be made out of carbon fiber, or a fiberglass and kevlar mix. Gilles Meloche and Chico Resch were among the first early NHL adopters to the combo mask in the early 1980s. Today, modern versions of this mask are aerodynamically designed to better withstand the impacts of hockey puck at higher speeds and are used at all levels of organized ice hockey. These masks are considered safer since they disperse the impact of the puck better than the helmet-cage combination and are the most common type used by goaltenders today. Former goaltender Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins wore a newer style one piece called a Sportmask Mage RS, which is made like the newer fiberglass mask, but resembles the helmet/cage combination. The combo mask was approved for Canadian minor hockey in 1989. Amateur versions have square bars, as the cats-eye bars are banned in minor hockey.

Tactical play

The advent of the goaltender mask changed the way goaltenders play, allowing them to make more saves on their knees without fear of serious head or facial injuries. Before the advent of the mask, most goaltenders stayed standing as much as possible. In the modern era, a goaltender is likely to suffer temporary discomfort instead of serious concussions and lacerations; however, a mask does not eliminate all potential risk of injury, and goaltenders have been concussed by a shot hitting the head. Some goaltenders, like Dominik Hašek and Henrik Lundqvist, have used their heads intentionally to stop shots. Lundqvist said that his reason for this is to not obstruct his vision by placing his catching glove in front of his mask to stop the shot.

Mask decoration

With available surface area provided by fiberglass masks, goaltenders find it fashionable to give their mask distinctive decorations. This tradition started with the earliest masks, notably by the aforementioned, now-retired Boston Bruins goaltender Gerry Cheevers, who was known for drawing stitches on his mask whenever it got hit. [18] These stitches represented where Cheevers would have been cut had he not been wearing his mask. [19] Modern-day masks also offer this ability, and goaltenders are well-identified with their helmet design, often transferring the motif into their new team's colours when traded or signed to a new team (for example, Patrick Lalime's Marvin the Martian theme, Félix Potvin's cat theme, Curtis Joseph's Cujo theme, Ed Belfour's eagle theme, Martin Brodeur's Devils theme, Peter Budaj's Ned Flanders theme, Cam Talbot's Ghostbusters theme or John Gibson's Arcade game theme).

Other uses

Other sports

A baseball catcher wearing a mask modeled after the goaltender mask. Baseball catcher.jpg
A baseball catcher wearing a mask modeled after the goaltender mask.

In recent years, baseball catchers have begun wearing facemasks similar in style to goaltender masks. Charlie O'Brien was the first to use a hockey-style catcher's mask in a Major League Baseball game in 1996 while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. [20]

Goaltender masks are commonly seen being worn by box lacrosse, ringette, rinkball, floorball and field hockey goaltenders at both youth and professional levels.

See also

Related Research Articles

Jacques Plante Canadian ice hockey player

Joseph Jacques Omer Plante was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. During a career lasting from 1947 to 1975, he was considered to be one of the most important innovators in hockey. He played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1953 to 1963; during his tenure, the team won the Stanley Cup six times, including five consecutive wins. In 2017 Plante was named one of the "100 Greatest NHL Players" in history.

Bernie Parent Canadian ice hockey player

Bernard Marcel Parent is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender who played 13 National Hockey League (NHL) seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, and Toronto Maple Leafs, and also spent one season in the World Hockey Association (WHA) with the Philadelphia Blazers. Parent is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest goaltenders of all time. During the 1973–74 and 1974–75 seasons, in what many consider the finest consecutive seasons ever by a goaltender, the Flyers won two Stanley Cups and Parent won the Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy both seasons. In that two-year run of dominance, Parent posted 30 shutouts in regular and post season play combined. A 1984 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, Parent was rated number 63 on The Hockey News' list of The Top 100 NHL Players of All-Time in 1998. Parent remains an iconic fan favorite in Philadelphia more than three decades after his retirement. In 2017 Parent was named one of the '100 Greatest NHL Players' in history.

Goaltender Person who blocks the goal in ice hockey

In ice hockey, the goaltender is the player responsible for preventing the hockey puck from entering their team's net, thus preventing the opposing team from scoring. The goaltender usually plays in or near the area in front of the net called the goal crease. Goaltenders tend to stay at or beyond the top of the crease to cut down on the angle of shots. In today's age of goaltending there are two common styles, butterfly and hybrid. Because of the power of shots, the goaltender wears special equipment designed to protect the body from direct impact. The goalie is one of the most valuable players on the ice, as their performance can greatly change the outcome or score of the game. One-on-one situations, such as breakaways and shootouts, have the tendency to highlight a goaltender's pure skill, or lack thereof. No more than one goaltender is allowed to be on the ice for each team at any given time. Teams are not required to use a goaltender and may instead opt to play with an additional skater, but the defensive disadvantage this poses generally means that the strategy is only used as a desperation maneuver when trailing late in a game or can be used if the opposing team has a delayed penalty.

Hockey helmet

A hockey helmet is worn by players of ice hockey, inline hockey, and bandy to help protect the head from potential injury when hit by the puck, sticks, skates, boards, other players, or the ice. The shell of a hockey helmet is generally made of a substance called vinyl nitrile that disperses force from the point of contact, while the liner may be made of either vinyl nitrile foam, expanded polypropylene foam, or other material to absorb the energy, to reduce the chances of concussion. Hockey helmets grip the head from inside by cupping the back of head, or the occipital protuberance. Helmet manufacturers will have a chart that relates their helmet sizes to head measurements. Mt on older models, the helmet size is adjusted by loosening the screws on the side to slide the front portion forward or back.

The 1959–60 NHL season was the 43rd season of the National Hockey League. The Montreal Canadiens were the Stanley Cup winners as they defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs four games to none for their fifth straight Stanley Cup.

Glenn Hall Canadian ice hockey player

Glenn Henry Hall is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender. During his National Hockey League career with the Detroit Red Wings, Chicago Black Hawks, and St. Louis Blues, Hall seldom missed a game and was a consistent performer, winning the Vezina Trophy, which at the time was awarded to the goaltender on the team allowing the fewest goals against, three times, being voted the First Team All-Star goaltender a record seven times, and winning the Calder Memorial Trophy as best rookie. Nicknamed "Mr. Goalie", he was the first goaltender to develop and make effective use of the butterfly style of goalkeeping. In 2017 Hall was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players in history. He is the grandfather of Grant Stevenson.

Gerry Cheevers

Gerald Michael "Cheesie" Cheevers is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender who played in the National Hockey League (NHL) and World Hockey Association (WHA) between 1961 and 1980. Cheevers is best known for his two stints with the Boston Bruins, whom he helped win the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1985.

Clint Benedict Canadian ice hockey player

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Ice hockey goaltending equipment

In ice hockey, the goaltender wears specialized goaltending equipment to protect himself from the impact of the puck and to assist himself in making saves.

Dave Dryden Canadian ice hockey player

David Murray Dryden is a Canadian former professional ice hockey goaltender. Dryden has the distinction of creating the modern day goaltending mask consisting of a fiberglass mask with a cage.

Butterfly style

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References

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