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NHL marks 50th anniversary of goalie mask

Sunday, 11.01.2009 / 10:49 AM / Features
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NHL marks 50th anniversary of goalie mask
Martin Brodeur sports of the NHL's classic mask designs.
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TORONTO – November 1, 1959 became one of the landmark moments in NHL history when Hall of Fame goaltender Jacques Plante revolutionized his position – and the sport – by donning a facemask. Plante's mask, in addition to protecting the face, provided a canvas for what has become a work of art and an avenue of personal expression for today's goaltender.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the goalie mask, the NHL Network will air a one-hour special on Sunday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. ET. "50 Years Behind the Mask" will take viewers from that day 50 years ago at Madison Square Garden when Plante donned the mask through to today when most goaltenders use their masks as a showcase of endearing symbols, personality and intricate details.

At approximately 7:10 p.m. on November 1, 1959, during a Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers match-up at Madison Square Garden, a shot by Rangers forward Andy Bathgate struck Montreal goaltender Jacques Plante in the face. The shot hit Plante at 3:06 of the first period.

After having his face stitched up by the doctor, Plante returned to the game about 21 minutes later. This time though, he was wearing a mask, becoming the first NHL goaltender to appear in a game with a mask. The Canadiens won the game 3-1.

Timeline of the Goalie Mask Design
Cheevers
1968-69 Season: Boston Bruins goaltender Gerry Cheevers became the first goaltender to decorate his mask. Cheevers was struck in the mask during practice and in an attempt to defy head coach Harry Sinden and get out of practice, Cheevers had trainer John Forristall draw stitches on his mask with a black marker, indicating where the puck would have cut him.

October 31, 1972: Doug Favell of the Philadelphia Flyers had his mask painted orange, resembling a pumpkin for a Halloween game against Los Angeles, making it the NHL's first painted goalie mask. The 'pumpkin' mask paved the way for Favell's future mask, an orange and white 'star-burst' design.

1973-1974 Season: After being traded from the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Detroit Red Wings on January 18, 1974, goaltender Jim Rutherford needed to update his blue mask. He commissioned goalie-mask designer, Greg Harrison, to paint it white, but what Harrison returned to Rutherford before a morning skate was a white mask with Red Wing logos above the eyes. Rutherford didn't like the mask but with a game that evening, he had no choice but to wear the first mask with a painted design.

Resch
April 7, 1974: Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Andy Brown was the last goaltender to appear without a mask, playing with his face unprotected in a 6-3 loss to Atlanta.

1976-77 Season: Glenn "Chico" Resch of the New York Islanders is credited as the first goaltender to have an artistic design cover his full mask.

Resch's design had the Islanders' logo at the top, an island horizontally across the forehead as well as the letters 'N' and 'Y' on opposite cheeks.

It was painted by an art student, Linda Spinella, and it now resides in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Resch is currently the color commentator for Devils broadcasts on MSG Plus.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYR 62 39 17 6 196 153 84
3 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
4 TBL 64 38 20 6 210 171 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 62 36 17 9 181 155 81
7 WSH 64 34 20 10 188 159 78
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 63 28 22 13 154 178 69
10 PHI 63 27 25 11 168 183 65
11 OTT 60 27 23 10 171 163 64
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 62 26 32 4 160 196 56
14 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
15 TOR 63 25 33 5 170 193 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
M. Cammalleri 51 23 10 4 33
A. Henrique 56 12 20 -1 32
P. Elias 53 10 16 -13 26
S. Gomez 39 5 18 -9 23
M. Zidlicky 63 4 19 -7 23
T. Zajac 55 10 10 -4 20
S. Bernier 48 10 8 1 18
M. Ryder 44 6 12 -2 18
A. Larsson 45 2 16 3 18
M. Havlat 38 5 9 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 23 23 6 .927 2.19
K. Kinkaid 3 4 3 .915 2.59