Thursday, 27 December 2007

Now Appearing: On Masks

Hello readers! I hope your Christmas went well, and your Boxing Day/Day After Christmas shopping extravaganza was fun as well. Personally, shopping on the 26th after having shopped for the previous two months doesn't really appeal to me, especially when it involves waiting in lines at 2AM to get the latest and greatest electronics. However, to each their own, and if that's your bag, enjoy it, baby.

Today's article is somewhat-related to the previous article on goalie masks that I wrote last Thursday entitled A Hollywood Touch. In that article, I explored the trend of having Hollywood imagery on goalie masks, and there were a lot of examples. I encourage you to check that article out after reading this one. If you've already read that article, there have been some updates to the article as well, so it's worth reading again.

In today's article, though, I am exposing another mask design that seems to be growing in popularity as goalies continue to express themselves and their personalities through their mask designs. This trend is the inclusion of musicians and bands on goalie masks around the hockey world. There have been several examples in the NHL up to this point, including one man who seems to have almost pioneered the trend.

Jamie McLennan is our first example. McLennan first wore the members of the band KISS on his mask in St. Louis in 2000. He continued with the trend as a member of the Minnesota Wild, both in 2002 and 2003, and with the Calgary Flames at the end of the 2002-03 season. McLennan followed that up with his Calgary Flames KISS-and-Nickelback mask in 2003-04 after being acquired from the Minnesota Wild. "I'm a huge KISS fan but I'm a big Nickelback fan and with them being local Alberta boys, I thought it would be nice to throw it on there", McLennan told the Calgary Sun's Randy Sportak. "I'm just showing support for the band."

The Minnesota Wild have another music-loving goalie in between the pipes for them. Josh Harding is sporting his Rascal Flatts mask this season. "I've been a Rascal Flatts for for a long time," he told "I know them pretty well." Harding also appears in the Hollywood imagery article.

The Los Angeles Kings have had a couple of music lovers. The first is Jason LaBarbera who has Metallica on his mask this season. "I'm a big Metallica fan so I have lots of Metallica logos and imagery - like the lead singer James Hetfield and the images of the Master of Puppets and St. Anger albums," LaBarbera told

The second goalie is a former King, but Jamie Storr wore a mask with a musician on it as well. Storr had the king of rock-and-roll on his mask in Elvis Presley when he suited up for the Kings in 2003. Storr's use of "king" is unique as it relates more towards the team than it does himself - "The King" on the mask of a King.

The Florida Panthers employed a goalie by the name of Jani Hurme during the 2003 season. Hurme, who is a huge Iron Maiden fan, had his mask painted to reflect that part about him. "Jani is a huge Iron Maiden fan," said Frank Cipra, goalie mask artist at ITECH. "Eddie is a character on the Iron Maiden Trooper CD cover. He liked the design so much that he wanted to recreate the image with Eddie holding a Finnish flag."

The Dallas Stars have their own music lover on their roster this season. Mike Smith is sporting a mask featuring the likeness of country music star Garth Brooks. "Last season I put a picture of Garth Brooks on my mask because I think his charity is absolutely unbelievable," Smith told "He also gave me his guitar last year after he played for our team."

Personally, I believe this is an excellent reason to feature Garth Brooks on his mask. Garth Brooks and Bo Mitchell founded The Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids Foundation to help kids through different non-profit organizations. "The purpose of the Foundation is to contribute financial resources to selected non-profit organizations that effectively serve and benefit children with an emphasis on health, education and inner city services. The Foundation enlists the participation of professional baseball, hockey, and football players who contribute a predetermined sum based upon selected categories of on-field and on-ice performance". Well done, Mike Smith. A very honourable dedication in terms of the artwork on your mask.

Atlanta Thrashers' goalie Kari Lehtonen makes an appearance in this article as well. On the back of his Kill Bill mask, Lehtonen has a picture of Li'l Jon. "I have a picture of Li'l Jon on the back," Lehtonen told "He is an Atlanta-based musician and a big fan of the Thrashers." Lehtonen's masks can also be seen in the Hollywood imagery article.

The Philadelphia Flyers had a music lover in net for a couple of seasons. Robert Esche wore Hank Williams Jr. on his mask in 2003. He followed that up in 2004 by portraying Kid Rock, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings on his mask. Interesting choices, I must say.

Finally, we get to the pioneer. The Canadian goalie who seemed to start this trend was a guy by the name of Sean Burke. Burke started the trend as a member of the Florida Panthers in 1999 where he had Slash of Guns 'n' Roses on his mask.

After Florida, he ended up in Phoenix where he continued the trend by having Eddie Van Halen and Slash on his mask. "Sean plays in a band, and every year he likes to pay tribute to great rock artists," said Frank Cipra, ITECH artist. "On this mask he is paying tribute to Eddie Van Halen and Slash. He also has three or four Harleys, which is why there’s a motorcycle at the top." He had his masked repainted in 2002 to show Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. In 2003, he had his mask redone again, but went with Robert Plant and Eric Clapton this time. Burke also has a Coyotes mask that featured Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page on it, but I haven't been able to find any good pictures of it.

Burke left Phoenix for Philadelphia in 2004, and his music trend continued. In Philly, Burke stayed with Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton for the 15 games he played in the City of Brotherly Love.

From Philly, he went to Tampa Bay where his mask showed off Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton again.

Clearly, music plays a big part in hockey, and not just over the arena speakers. Goalies have been expressing themselves through Hollywood imagery and musical imagery for some time now, and the masks have a very distinct and unique look to them.

Just as a sidenote as I finish up here, I have started organizing some of the pictures in my collection on Photobucket. Having a thousand assorted photos in no order made it hard when looking for older pictures to use in current articles. If you are reading an older article on this blog and come across a broken link, PLEASE EMAIL ME. I want to be clear - email is the best way for me to fix it. Email the article title, the date of the article's posting, and the name of the link. I'll fix it ASAP.

Canada has just defeated the Slovakian junior team 2-0 at the World Junior Championships as well, so all it good here. Take it easy, folks!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

- thanks to the DaveArt website for some of the mask images. Thanks to The Goalies Archive website for some of the images as well. Thanks to the Itech website for some of the hard-to-find images. Thanks to for some images and quotes as well.


Kirsten said...

Things are looking good for Team Canada! I've got the sweater out, the hat, wallpaper, the works. Too bad I'm living in MN which is a Team USA hotbed, so I get a lot of dirty looks when I deck out in support of Canada.

Teebz said...

Kirsten, I'm almost convinced that you were born in the wrong country. Hahaha! :o)


Kirsten said...

I do what I can. Many people are convinced of this fact, and normally in Minnesota it's not a problem, but when it comes to Canada vs. the US, then it's a huge problem.