In the words of Joe Bowen this week’s Throwback Thursday features ….”The Pillowed Protectors of the Pipes, Tenders of the Tinseled Twine, Representatives of the Roped Rotundas, Keepers of the Cabled Cabanas,” or in simple terms, goaltenders.
It has been long understood that goalies are interesting and maybe even a bit quirky. From stories of superstitions to just outward weirdness (Ilya Bryzgalov in 24/7) they’ve got to be a tad bit crazy to defend the net from high-speed rubber pucks.
What I’ve always found most interesting though is the headgear they sport. Over the years the style and coverage of the mask has changed while the amount of design and detail continues to grow.
Today, more than ever, the mask is inked with personal details, a true representation of the man that wears it.
This post is dedicated to some of the masks we’ve seen on a goaltender wearing the blue and white.
Turk Broda and Johnny Bower along with most goalies in their era went sans mask. And while Johnny did eventually wear a mask for his last 18 games in the NHL, the one he sports in this photo was made for practice. Although I’m not sure if he in fact wore it for practice it is a pretty cool picture.
Mike Palmateer’s mask was brought back to life in this year’s Alumni Showdown in Detroit against the Red Wings alumni.
Felix “The Cat” Potvin’s mask.
But Curtis Joseph’s mask seems to be the fan favourite on twitter when I asked which Leafs goaltender had the best mask….
Another fan favourite was Eddie “The Eagle” Belfour’s mask featuring an illustration of his nickname…
Andrew Raycroft may have only played two seasons for the Leafs but his mask featured years of history.
Current Leafs goaltenders Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer have personal touches added to their masks as well.
Bernier’s features a Leo on the top for his astrology sign. More info and photos of his mask HERE. James Reimer’s current mask has an illustration of Optimus Prime with a Leafs spin pairing with his nickname in LeafsNation, Optimus Reim. More on his mask HERE.
A shout-out to the Pizza Pizza Great Canadian Goalie Racers too. If you’ve ever been to Air Canada Centre and were lucky enough to catch one of the most spirited intermission activities the Leafs have you’ve seen these guys battle for their corresponding sections. This is a picture from last Saturday night when the Goalie Racers posed for a picture with fans wearing some cool masks of their own.