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That all changed on November 1, 1959 when a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens, by the name of Jacques Plante, became the first at his position to wear a mask – though many are unaware that Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons actually wore one 19 years earlier, but for just two games.It was Plante that other players soon imitated, which could be why he was the “first”.
Years progressed and soon every goalie wore a mask, but many wanted to make alterations to help differentiate themselves from their counter parts.
(file that under things I thought I’d never write), “this is the best of the bunch in the ‘stylized team logos’ category, but it looks like a grad student in a graphic design class made it.” As someone who It’s always a bit of a stretch to call something “iconic” when it’s only been around for less than a year, but Ben Bishop’s glowing Tron mask is one of the most innovative and eye catching masks in recent time and will probably be much higher up one of these lists 10 or 20 years from now. It’s a well-known principle among designers that content and subject matter should always precede design, and Bishop’s artist, , has used his G. associations, the popular face plate-style masks of the 70’s helped opened a new door when it came to mask design.
After experimenting with designs off the ice for months, Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante felt he had found the right kind of goalie mask to use for protection in a game, but there was just one problem. It wasn't just that no goalie before him had ever worn a mask during a game in the NHL, but that his coaches, including head coach Toe Blake, thought it would hinder his vision, and therefore told Plante he would not be able to wear the mask. Andy Bathgate, a powerful forward for the Rangers, came steaming in on net and ripped a shot off the face of Plante, sending him into the dressing room for repairs.
It became less of a hindrance, and more of a good decision, as they proved they could still play at the highest level while keeping all of their teeth..whatever ones they had left.
The last goalie ever to play a game without a mask was Andy Brown in 1974; since then it has not only become one of the most obvious rules in the NHL, but the goalie mask is now the most expressive way for a player to show off their personal style and flair.