Intimidating hockey masks
Harrison would go on to make masks for more than eighty percent of the league’s goaltenders in the 70’s, including the famed masks of Gilles Gratton, Brian Hayward and Wayne Stephenson, just to name a few.40-odd years later, goalie mask design has reached a new level of artistry and personal expression for netminders.
And if you can’t guess the number one mask already then you need to take some time and watch some vintage NHL games from the ’70s.
Even the goaltenders who then adopted the new form of protective gear didn’t think much about the appearance of them until the 1970’s when Gerry Cheevers began putting markings on his mask every time he was hit in the face, either with a puck or a skater’s stick.
That all changed in 1974 when art student and former goalie Greg Harrison crafted a for Penguins goalie Jim Rutherford, commonly viewed as the first instance of personal art on a mask and thus spawning a new artform.
Jacques Plante was the first goaltender to create and use a practical mask in 1959.
Plante's mask was a piece of fiberglass that was contoured to his face.