The people that read this blog are phenomenal when it comes to their knowledge and passion for the game of hockey. Occasionally, I'll ask a question, and someone will answer it with amazing detail. I also spend some time reading at Uni Watch Blog, and will occasionally ask questions there in order to take advantage of that community's sports knowledge. Really, it blows me away with how many great comments people make with excellent information.
And that leads me to today. A couple of days ago, Uni Watch reader and NCAA hockey buff "triswykes" emailed me with a number of scans he had taken of various programs from the NCAA. He knew I had been searching for information regarding the RPI photos where some players appeared to be wearing facial protection that resembled goalie masks.
Thanks to triswykes, here is a whole pile of excellent olde-tyme photos from the NCAA. As you know, I love old hockey photos, so I am proud to present these on his behalf. They show a variety of cool things, and I'll point them out as we go through them.
- Bill Riley, Dartmouth, 1946. Riley's picture is slightly odd since the majority of players did not wear helmets in that day and age. Riley's helmet is clearly an early-style helmet, but the fact that he is wearing one in the NCAA is pretty neat.
- University of Vermont, 1974. What's neat about this picture is how there are a variety of helmets and gloves seen in the photo. Before sponsorship and equipment deals with major outfitters like Easton and Nike, players routinely wore what they either had or could afford. Pretty cool.
- Dave Reece, Vermont, 1971. Goaltenders have always worn some kind of protection on their faces since Jacques Plante got hit in the face by Andy Bathgate. But Dave Reece didn't. He just wore the helmet.
- University of Vermont, 1973. It's interesting to see the chicken wire separating players from fans rather than plexiglass. Olde-tyme arenas like the Detroit Olympia also used wire instead of glass. Note the three different helmets as well.
- Dartmouth University, 1976. Women's hockey hadn't been established as an NCAA sport yet, but that didn't stop these women. I'm not sure if the lady in the background is wearing some sort of facial protection or just a football-style chinstrap. And the woman in foreground should really keep her mouthguard in her mouth.
- Western Michigan University, 1970s. Not sure if these guys were getting ready to go off to war or not, but the guys on the bench wore helmets that gave you that impression. I'm digging the stripes on the socks, though.
- Princeton-Dartmouth, late-1970s. Interesting to see how Dennis Murphy's nameplate is basically tacked onto his jersey at the corners. I guess it would be easier to re-use the jerseys season after season that way. Also, interesting mask on the Princeton goaltender.
- Brown University, 1982. Facemasks and hideous helmets - welcome to NCAA hockey in the 1980s. Those ProTec helmets made the players' heads look like bowling balls. At least the masks fit, though.
- Brown University, 1981. As you can see here, the NCAA was following the NHL's lead in that goaltending tandems were regularly seen wearing a couple of different masks. For more info on the evolution of the mask, please check here.
- Clarkson University, 1980s. The ProTec mask on the Clarkson player on the right was banned after a couple of seasons of use in the NCAA. The reason? It offered little in the way of protection. Pucks and sticks could still fit through the holes in the mask, and the way it bent outward allowed for high sticks to make contact with the face.
- Rob Scheuer, Princeton, 1980s. Here's another example of the illegal ProTec masks. Defenceman Rob Scheuer doesn't appear to have much protection.
- Bob Gaudet, Dartmouth, 1980. Was Roberto Luongo a Gaudet fan? Check out Gaudet sporting the captain's "C" on his chest. That's rarely seen in any hockey photo.
- Scott Borek and Dan O'Brien, Dartmouth, 1980s. As you can see in the two photos, both Borek and O'Brien are wearing neckrolls, similar to what you see linemen wearing in football. Borek suffered a scary neck injury, and wasn't the same afterwards. He did, however, wear the neckroll for added protection.
- Dartmouth-Harvard, 1980s. Here is a clear picture of the two styles of cages worn by players at that time. I'm not big on the ProTec cage after seeing it over and over. Then again, I always wore a cage similar to the Harvard player when I played.
- Dartmouth University, 1985. 1985 saw Itech get involved in making lightweight, plastic face shields for players. Honestly, shields are worn by a large number of NCAA players now, but I never wore one because I found it fogged up way too much. To each, their own, I suppose.
Updates for this week include another entry in Teebz's Book Club, and a look back at a historical period of time as I break off the playoff chase for a few days. The HBIC Playoff Pool is updated, and last year's winner - Justin St. Louis - is currently leading the pack again. For those at the bottom, you're not out yet!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!