Ever since, Jacques Plante wore the first goalie mask in an NHL game on November 1, 1959, the goalie position has been recognized by an individual’s personal and creative take on their mask. Hall-of-Famers Gerry Cheevers and Eddie Belfour made their iconic masks part of their personal trademarks, with Cheevers almost inseparable from his stitch-covered mask and Belfour’s nickname apparent on each mask he wore. Even Gilles Gratton, who only played in 47 insignificant NHL games over two seasons, has endured in hockey lore thanks to his brilliant and famous mask.
In February 2015, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop added an innovation to the long history of artistic goalie masks with a glow-in-the-dark mask.
Since debuting his new glow-in-the-dark mask on February 27, Bishop has led the Lightning to an 8-3-2 record in the games he has started, putting up three shutouts in that span as well, including the night of the 27th. The mask itself garnered lots of attention across the hockey world.
Goaltenders across the NHL have also taken notice of his mask.
— InGoal Magazine (@InGoalMedia) March 13, 2015
— InGoal Magazine (@InGoalMedia) March 23, 2015
Like Bishop’s glowing lightning mask, Jhonas Enroth’s shining star and Michal Neuvirth’s radiant lighthouse use the cutting-edge glow-in-the-dark motif to emphasis their team’s logo and name. Perhaps next season the trend will continue with a fiery Flames helmet.
Regardless, it is not often that a goaltender can add his mark to the long line of creative masks throughout hockey history, but Bishop has not only done that but added a winning season to his mask’s debut.
Michelle Timian fell in love with hockey after watching a game between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006 and has been following hockey ever since. She is a graduate of Western Illinois University with a degree in Creative Writing and is more comfortable in front of a keyboard than on skates. She also blogs for the New York Rangers at blueshirtsunited.com.