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Halloween Special: Some of the scariest goalie masks in NHL history

Gary Bromley's Bone Mask

Jacques Plante’s is the one who always gets credit for the goalie mask. There is even a charming Heritage Minute in which Mr. Plante, having been badly cut by a slap shot, tells his coach he won’t go back out onto the ice without the strange-looking mask he’d been wearing in practices.

Mr. Plante’s insistence that he be allowed to wear it – despite the protestations of Montreal Canadiens coach Toe Blake – not only changed goaltending, it changed the game of hockey.

To the modern fan, they bear a close resemblance to Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s mask in “Silence of the Lambs,” which happens to be the creation of a long-time fiberglass goalie mask maker named Ed Cubberly. He claims he had the whole thing designed it 10 minutes.

 

 

As “scary” as Cheevers’ mask is, it’s much more terrifying when you realize all those stitches could represent real injuries.

Terry Sawchuk mask
The face of legendary hockey goalie Terry Sawchuk, before goalie masks were introduced, 1966 – unfortunately, it’s fake.

Actually, the first real painted goalie mask was a Halloween prank.

Flyers’ Doug Favell, in 1971, happened to be the starting goalie on Halloween. He casually mentioned, during the morning skate, to team trainer Frank Lewis, “Wouldn’t it be fun to have an orange mask to go with the orange jersey on Halloween? Could look like a great big pumpkin.”

Doug Favell's "pumpkin" mask
Doug Favell’s “pumpkin” mask

After that, once goalies discovered airbrushing and decorating masks was a thing they could do, there was nothing to stop them going crazy. That’s how Gary Simmons, whose nickname was “Cobra,” decided on his new mask. Greg Harrison, the artist, based the full-sized mask design on a Hot Wheels cobra, but added a rattlesnake tail by mistake, something Simmons never let him forget.

The mask became slightly less creepy after a crown was added to the snake’s head during Simmons’ time with the Kings, but only slightly.

Gary Simmons and his 'Cobra' mask - 1979
Gary Simmons and his ‘Cobra’ mask – 1979

There were two skull masks, worn by Gary Bromley and Warren Skorodenski. Bromley had always been skinny, and so for a man nicknamed “Bones,” it made sense for a bone-themed mask. Even the back had his nickname spelled out in bone-shaped letters.

Although there’s no official explanation for Skorodenski’s X-ray skull of a mask, odds are it was for similar reasoning. Skorodenki was 5-8 and 165 pounds.

Gary Bromley's Bone Mask
Gary Bromley’s Bone Mask

Gilles Gratton — New York Rangers (1977)
Gilles Gratton — New York Rangers (1977)

Gilles Grattons mask was the first mask to not actually look like a mask, but rather like a roaring tiger’s head. Gratton, who played 41 games in the mask in 1977, was said to have even growled at opponents.

Those early days provided the basic resources for movies such as Friday the 13th and Jason’s mask – an absolute classic

Jason's Mask from the movie Friday the 13th
Jason’s Mask from the movie Friday the 13th

From the classics, we move into more modern hockey goalie mask designs, with modern materials and airbrushing – providing a blank canvas for goalie expression.

Mike Dunham, New Jersey Devils: You could almost hear Dunham's mask screaming "We're the Devils! We're the Devils!" at unsuspecting skaters during the 1998 season.
Mike Dunham, New Jersey Devils: You could almost hear Dunham’s mask screaming “We’re the Devils! We’re the Devils!” at unsuspecting skaters during the 1998 season.
Ken Wregget, Pittsburgh Penguins: There's nothing scary about the tuxedo-wearing flightless birds? But The Penguin from "Batman Returns" played by Danny DeVito was equal parts scary and gross.
Ken Wregget, Pittsburgh Penguins: There’s nothing scary about the tuxedo-wearing flightless birds? But The Penguin from “Batman Returns” played by Danny DeVito was equal parts scary and gross.
Curtis Sanford - St Louis Blues (2006)
Curtis Sanford – St Louis Blues (2006)
Curtis McElhinney, Calgary Flames: An undead zombie skeleton cowboy and so, so many fiery skulls
Curtis McElhinney, Calgary Flames: An undead zombie skeleton cowboy and so, so many fiery skulls
Olaf Kolzig of the Tampa Bay Lightning's Saw inspired mask
Olaf Kolzig of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Saw inspired mask
New York Islanders Thomas Greiss goalie mask with an angry Sasquatch
New York Islanders Thomas Greiss goalie mask with an angry Sasquatch
Jacob Markstrom from the Vancouver Canucks showing off his modified "Jason" mask
Jacob Markstrom from the Vancouver Canucks showing off his modified “Jason” mask
Jean Sebastien Giguere channelling his inner Yeti whenever the Colorado Avalanche wore their third jerseys in 2013.
Reto Berra channelling his inner Yeti whenever the Colorado Avalanche wore their third jerseys in 2013.
Vesa Toskala - Toronto Maple Leafs (2007)
Vesa Toskala – Toronto Maple Leafs (2007)
Evgeni Nabokov - San Jose Sharks (2008)
Evgeni Nabokov – San Jose Sharks (2008)
Mike Smith - Tampa Bay Lightning (2008)
Mike Smith – Tampa Bay Lightning (2008)
Marty Turco - Chicago Blackhawks (2010)
Marty Turco – Chicago Blackhawks (2010)
Miika Kiprusoff - Calgary Flames (2011)
Miika Kiprusoff – Calgary Flames (2011)
Steve Mason - Columbus Blue Jackets (2011)
Steve Mason – Columbus Blue Jackets (2011)
Thomas Greiss - San Jose Sharks (2011)
Thomas Greiss – San Jose Sharks (2011)
Thomas Greiss - San Jose Sharks (2012)
Thomas Greiss – San Jose Sharks (2012)
Thomas Greiss - Phoenix Coyotes (2013)
Thomas Greiss – Phoenix Coyotes (2013)
Justin Peters - Carolina Hurricanes (2013)
Justin Peters – Carolina Hurricanes (2013)
Steve Mason - Philadelphia Flyers (2013)
Steve Mason – Philadelphia Flyers (2013)
Steve Mason - Philadelphia Flyers (2016)
Steve Mason – Philadelphia Flyers (2016)
Curtis Joseph (CuJo) - Toronto Maple Leafs (2008)
Curtis Joseph (CuJo) – Toronto Maple Leafs (2008)
Scott Clemmensen's Carnage Mask
Scott Clemmensen’s Carnage Mask (2014)


Thank you to
/u/penguinwhopper who correctly attributed Colorado Avalanche’s Goalie Mask to Reto Berra
/u/Syek26 who recommended Scott Clemmensen’s Carnage Mask

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