The Art of the Goalie Mask

I am not ashamed to admit that the goalie mask was the first thing I noticed when I was watching those Winter Olympic games in 2010. They are so eye-catching, it is hard to ignore them. And specifically the first mask I noticed was Jaroslav Halak’s Team Slovakia mask. There was a portrait of a man painted on the side of his mask!! I was fascinated by that, so I scoured the internet looking for any information I could find about who this might be on the goalie’s mask. I eventually found it was Vladimir Dzurilla, former Slovakian goalie who played for the Czechoslovakian national team, along with European professional teams. So on one side of his mask, Halak was paying tribute to a Slovakian goalie who came before him. I was so impressed with that, and from that moment on I was enamored with goalie masks.

That’s why I decided to create my I Love Goalies blog. It was a place where I wanted to be able to showcase all these beautiful, funny, heartwarming, and very personal pieces of art that show a bit of what the goalie that wears them is about. They are the only player on the team that gets to personalize their equipment in that way, and I thought that was so much fun.

In my research of goalie masks (focusing mainly on NHL goalies), I found there are a small group of mask artists that most NHL goalies commission to paint their masks. Often goalies will stick with a certain artist, no matter what team they play for. Others use different artists throughout their career. I’m listing the artists below that have painted masks for the NHL goalies this season, along with which goalies they painted for. The links take you to their masks.

David Gunnarsson, Sweden (DaveArt) – Henrik Lundqvist, Jose Theodore, Jonas Gustavsson, Tomas Vokoun, Jonathan Bernier, Henrik Karlsson, Alex Auld, Dan Ellis, Jacob Markstrom, Devan Dubnyk, Anders Lindback, Pekka Rinne, James Reimer, Johan Hedberg, Andrew Raycroft, Sergei Bobrovsky, Peter Budaj, Jhonas Enroth, Kari Lehtonen, Ondrej Pavelec, Steve Mason, Leland Irving, Braden Holtby, Anders Nilsson, Peter Mannino, Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth, Rick DiPietro

Steve Nash, Toronto, ON (Eyecandyair) – Martin Biron, Tim Thomas, Cam Ward, Jonathan Quick, Chris Mason

David Arrigo, Toronto, ON – Carey Price, Antti Niemi, Jason LaBarbera, Mike Smith, Brent Johnson

Todd Miska, Stacy, MN (Miska Designs) – Miikka Kiprusoff, Niklas Backstrom, Josh Harding, Evgeni Nabokov

David Leroux, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, QC  (Diel Airbrush) – Ray Emery, Kevin Poulin

Stephane Bergeron, Becancour, QC (Griffe Originale) – Corey CrawfordMarc-Andre Fleury, Ilya Bryzgalov’s Tiger Mask,

Drummond Custom Airbrush, Langhorne, PA – Brian Boucher, Ilya Bryzgalov’s Historical Philly Mask

Jason Livery, Belleville, IL (Head Strong Grafx) – Brian Elliott, Jaroslav Halak

Ray Bishop, Detroit, MI (Bishop Custom Designs) – Ryan Miller, Al Montoya, Jimmy Howard, Ty Conklin, Nikolai Khabibulin

Sylvie Poitras, QC (Airbrush Zap Design)- Mathieu Garon, Martin Brodeur

Alec Voggel, Switzerland (Airexx) – Jonas Hiller

Marlene Ross, Brockville, ON (Marlene Ross Design) – Roberto Luongo

John Pepe (Pepe Custom Paint) – Craig Anderson, Curtis Sanford

Jesse Acciacca, Wilmington, MA ( Jesse’s Custom Design) Dwayne Roloson

Ron Slater, Boston, MA – Tuukka Rask

F-X Allaire, QC (FX Kustom Art)- Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Mark Hart (Hart Designs) – Cory Schneider, Scott Clemmensen

Blake McCully (Cross Eyed Air) Thomas Greiss

And even though Frank Cipra of Cipra Design doesn’t have any masks in the NHL this season (that I know for sure), I’m giving him an honorable mention, because he has painted some of my favorite masks of all time. He painted the famous Cujo masks for Curtis Joseph, and my favorite mask of all time (one of José Theodore’s Colorado Avalanche masks), along with Vesa Toskala’s skeleton masks.

I’d like to say a special thanks to two readers of my blogs, Joanne and Barry, for helping me find out who the artists were for a few of these goalies. Thanks, guys!

I hope you enjoyed this look at some really impressive and beautiful mask art. As always, we welcome your comments. Feel free to contact me with any questions about goalies or goalie masks. I might not know the answer, but I will try to find out.

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