Tri-City Storm Hockey

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                                Goalie Masks and Helmets

                                                               Goalie Masks

        Elizabeth Graham was the first person to wear a goalie mask in a hockey game. Back in 1927 she put on a fencing mask to protect her face.

First mask         The first hockey mask was made of leather designed by goalie Clint Benedict. But he only wore it for a game or two in 1929-30 season.  Benidict had been hit in the nose by a puck.  He wore this football face guard leather mask for a couple games but the large nose piece impeded his vision.
        The idea of wearing a mask did not really catch on until 1959 when Canadiens' goalie Jacques Plante started wearing one. That was after having his skull, cheekbones, nose and jaw broken! A puck to the cheekbone was apparently the last straw. His coach did not want him to wear the mask so he gave it up for a while.  But he put it back on again and soon other goalies were wearing them too.


       In the 1960s the first goalie masks were really masks, a sheet of fiber-glass with holes cut for eyes and mouth, bent on the sides to prevent reflection. To get a custom made mask the goalie pulled a woman’s nylon stocking over his head, put straws in his nose for breathing and covered his face with vaseline before having the fiberglass mixture applied.
First Mask
Mask with stiches  
        By 1973 masks were worn by all but one goalie.  Some of you who have been hockey fans for a number of years may remember those early masks. What I remember is a white mask with black lines crosshatched to show the hits by pucks and sticks, and the stitches that would have been required had the goalie not been wearing a mask. It was gruesome.

       As the years passed more goalies and their artist friends started decorating the masks.  An eye injury in 1978 started the move toward the “bird cage” mask which had been used by Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak some five years earlier.

A Breed Apart, The History of Goaltending.

        Goalies helmets and face masks have evolved into what appears to be single units. Many goalies have their helmets decorated to fit their team and/or their own personalities. The helmet of Zane Kalemba, a Storm goalie during the 2004-05 season, was black on one side and purple on the other with a lightening bolt over the ear on each side. Kalemba's helmet
Goalie Nick Hopper         Another Storm goalie during that season, Nick Hopper, had streaks of lightening on each side of his purple helmet and a small palm tree behind the lightening. Why not. After all, he is from California.

          Davidson, John, Hockey for Dummies, 2000
          Duplacey, James, The Official Rules of Hockey, 2001



Revised: 07/05/2016