Conn’s Many Hockey Goalie Masks
Photo courtesy of Tim Pesek.
If being a goalie isn’t the most difficult job in sport, it certainly is one of them. In a game where a single score can be the difference between winning and losing, countless successes can be forgotten at the expense of a single failure. It has been said that “there is no position in sport as noble as that of a goalkeeper”.
Before masks were introduced for hockey goaltenders in 1959 by Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante, it was typical for a hockey goalie’s face to be riddled with scars, bruises and scars. missing teeth. The first masks were shaped to fit the bare minimum of the face. If seen today, these masks would remind people of those worn by characters from spooky movies like Jason from Friday thirteenth and Hannibal Lector from Thesilenceofthelambs.
Considered the pioneer of “the art and design of goalie masks,” NHL goalie Gerry Cheevers asked his coach to draw dots on his mask in the 1970s, “every time. once a puck or a stick hit him in the face ”. The mask is now considered, according to ESPN, the “most wanted” in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but it hangs as a gift on the wall of his grandson’s bedroom in South Florida.
Today, hockey goalie masks have improved in all aspects of comfort, safety and style. The standard today is to include custom artwork and designs on masks worn by goalies. Several of the goaltenders from Connecticut College’s men’s and women’s ice hockey teams were kind enough to share pictures and descriptions of their own goalie mask designs for this article.
Carly Denora ’22 of the Connecticut College women’s ice hockey team has a custom mask designed in conjunction with the company Royal Essex, a company in his home state of New Jersey. Denora’s mask features many playful Disney characters, such as Stitch, from Lilo and Stitch, on the area covering his left ear, equipped with Conn hockey equipment. Denora has “always loved the high energy of Stitch and wants to play it on the ice.” She also has Russell and Carl from Up, as well as Woody and Jack-Jack from Toy story and The Incredibles, painted on the back of his helmet, which represent each member of his family. The cage of his helmet is white, as is its frame, just like one of his favorite goalies, New York Rangers legend Mike Richter. The helmet is also covered with the CC logo and Connecticut College logos. These are painted with reflective paint that glows in the light. On the adjacent side of Stitch is the Camel logo and covering the back of the helmet, below the other Disney characters on the top is Denora’s last name spelled out like text on a New Jersey license plate. Just below is the iconic logo of Red Bull, the company Denora has worked for as part of her student marketing program since her freshman year. On the helmet area protecting Denora’s chin is her number 30, and right next to it is the phrase “Guess what day is it?” Hump day whoop whoop! The slogan comes from the Geico ad saying their customers are happier than a camel on hump day. A song remixed with the phrase plays like the CCWIH goal song whenever the team scores at home. Finally, a subtle “search for discomfort” is inscribed on the top of the back of her helmet, a motto of the motivational group called “Yes Theory” on YouTube which inspired her “to live her life to the fullest.”
Tim Pesek ’23 of the Connecticut College men’s ice hockey team has his own custom design. Pesek reached out to Rochester, New York-based company Skinfx on Facebook, and connected with artist Mark Magnanti, who finished his mask for him. Pesek’s design is clean and simple, focused on Connecticut College’s color scheme and major logos, including the tree and water logo as well as the one Denora also used for the camel. Pesek said he thought the Connecticut College tree logo was a big reason for his decision to commit to Conn, citing the beautiful campus and the opportunity to learn more about his passion for the ocean through its study of environmental studies and biology. On the back of Pesek’s helmet are his more personal decals. In homage to his Czech heritage, Pesek features the blue, white and red Czech flag, as well as a well-known Czech tongue twister, “Strč prst skrz krk”. The tongue twister is famous because it is a “syntactically valid clause without a single vowel”. Pesek’s grandfather used to say the tongue twister to him when he was younger, which means “to put a finger in the throat”. Also on the back of Pesek’s mask is the purple Alzheimer’s disease awareness ribbon, a disease that affected his family and so many others. It also includes a decal of his number, 33.
Sean Dynan ’24 might have his mask painted as you read this article right now. Dynan recently spent time planning his design with his friend and former high school teammate Kyle Konin, also a goaltender, who now works full time for his company he started, named. NUJAX AIRBRUSH. Dynan also keeps its design simple, focusing primarily on Connecticut College, while including subtle personal nods. His helmet is white with a thick blue line with white and baby blue trim that runs down from the middle of the helmet to its back. Following the Connecticut College theme, Dynan has the Camel logo on the right side of his helmet and the Connecticut College seal on the left side. Perhaps the most notable part of his mask is a drawing of two camels with pyramids and the desert in the background along the upper left corner of his mask. On the back of the goalie’s helmet are his high school, the Kimball Union Academy seal and the logo of his junior hockey team, the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers of the Eastern Hockey League. Just below, as the thick blue line exiting from the front of the helmet, is Dynan’s nickname “Dyno”.
Connecticut College’s men’s and women’s ice hockey seasons have just started, with the men and women recently facing NESCAC opponents Trinity, Wesleyan and Middlebury this past weekend. They will each have games to play on Thanksgiving weekend and look forward to having the support of the whole community this winter. Bundle up and go down to the ice rink!
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