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Classic Goalie Masks - The Top 5 / Best Historic Goalie Masks From the NHL

Updated on November 25, 2011

It’s hard to imaging today, but during the National Hockey League’s early years, brave goaltenders were forces to defend their nets without benefit of facial protection. In the 1959, after received a shot to the face, Jacques Plant decided that enough was enough. Plante henceforth insisted on wearing a mask during a game, and since that time hockey masks has evolved from a mere protective shields to elaborate works of art. Below is a short list of my personal top 5 classic greatest / best NHL hockey masks of all time.

Jacques Plante NHL Hockey Mask

Jacques Plante’s mask has to make the list of greatest NHL goaltender masks f for no other reason than historical significance. During the first period of a game between the Montreal Canadians and the New York Rangers in 1959, Plante’s face was on the receiving end of a shot by New York’s Andy Bathgate. Plant e left the game bleeding heavily from a wide gash near his mouth. After receiving stitches, he returned and told his coach that the was ready to get back on the ice, but only with his protective mask on. Plante had worn masks during practices, but never during a game. He would become the first NHL goaltender to wear a mask on a regular basis.

Gerry Cheevers NHL Hockey Mask

Gerry Cheevers wore perhaps the most famous mask in hockey history. The design is composed of numerous ‘stitch marks’. Each stitch mark represents a place where Cheevers has hit in the face during a game (and which might have had to be repaired were in not for his protective mask). In a recent survey by a hockey publication, Cheevers’ mask was voted the best of all time.

Gilles Gratton NHL Hockey Mask

Today’s NHL Hockey masks have elaborate artistic designs that are far removed from most of those worn in decades past. Gilles Gratton, however (despite his very brief NHL career), was way ahead of his time with his ‘tiger’ mask design. Gratton claims he got the idea for the mask’s fierce image while casually flipping through the pager of National Geographic magazine.

Ken Dryden NHL Hockey Mask

Ken Dryden's ‘target’ mask became one of the best known in hockey history, Dryden wanted a distinctive yet simple design, modeled on his teams logo, that would stand out when viewed by fans high up in the stands and on television.

Mike Palmateer NHL Hockey Mask

Mike Palmateer, the acrobatic goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs, wore one of the most iconic masks in hockey history. Palmateer claims that the idea for his Maple Leaf mask’s design came from a 10 year old fan who sent him a sketch of what he thought the goaltender’s mask should like .

The Story Behind the Jacques Plante Mask....

Gerry Cheevers Great Saves...

Mike Palmateer in action!

Ken Dryden video tribute..


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    • billd01603 profile image

      billd01603 4 years ago from Worcester

      Very interesting Hub=Thanks