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Best Goalie Masks For Current NHL Season

Posted by Adam Rosenbaum on

Major League Baseball endured a months-long controversy during the 2018 season, springing from the Cubs’ Ben Zobrist deciding to wear black spikes in violation of the league’s uniform policy.

In the NFL, players are routinely fined for such violations, as when the 49ers’ Frank Gore took a $10,500 hit for wearing low socks in the 2012 NFC Championship game.

Thankfully, the NHL encourages freedom of expression in goalie mask designs. Whether you’re a fan of bold team iconography, borderline surreal graphic design, whimsy or heartfelt tributes, cool goalie masks abound.

Here’s a breakdown of some of our favorite NHL goalie masks for the 2018-19 season:

Connor Hellebuyck — Winnipeg: We’re used to seeing Hall of Fame players immortalized via airbrush. But Hellebuyck celebrates his love for ice fishing with blue fish and ice chunks running up the center of the mask, a goalie on a pond on one side, and teammate Dustin Byfuglien — who introduced Hellebuyck to ice fishing — on the other.

Image: Hockey By Design

Chad Johnson — St. Louis: Sometimes, simple is good. In this case it’s great, and anything but plain. Playing for his seventh team in his ninth NHL season, Johnson has the wings of the Blues’ primary logo framing his face and feathering back, like some glorious hockey hair.

Image: Hockey By Design

Ben Bishop — Dallas: Bishop was known for electrifying looks during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and has managed to keep the theme in his goalie mask designs alive — brilliantly — since coming to Dallas. His second-season Stars bucket features the Dallas logo and lightning strikes in white, glowing green, crackling across a black background. The look suggests movement and power and is just sort of badass.

Image: Hockey By Design

Anton Khudobin — Dallas: His design couldn’t look any less like Bishop’s, but it’s another no-doubter among the best goalie masks. The predominantly black crown — dotted with stars, of course — gives it an old-school look. But the details across the sides and chin — the “Dobby” nickname, a depiction of Dobby the house elf from “Harry Potter” wearing a goalie glove, the Dallas logo, awesome metallic green paint — balance and elevate the overall cool factor.

Image: Hockey By Design

Scott Darling — Carolina: Darling once nearly drank himself out of hockey, and while helping the Blackhawks to the Stanley Cup in 2015 got a phoenix tattooed on his forearm. After posting the worst save percentage in the league last season, he’s got a new phoenix — on his helmet. He had a different version of the bird a year ago. This one recalls the side of a 1970s panel van in all the best ways — the deep red bird on both sides, a swirl of hurricane motion in lighter red tones all around, metal flake hurricane flags strewn about, “CANES” in wide block letters flowing up and back from the facemask.

Image: Hockey By Design

Keith Kinkaid — New Jersey: This is going to be one of those love it or hate it goalie mask designs. Artist David Gunnarsson said Kinkaid told him, “Go full pixel,” so he apparently designed this bucket with 8-bit graphics cadged from an ‘80s era video game console. The New Jersey logos on the side and Tasmanian Devil image on top stand out against a white background. Call it nostalgic fun.

Image: Hockey By Design

Robin Lehner — New York Islanders: Perhaps the most personal NHL goalie mask, this series of somber, gray images is one of Lehner’s efforts to share his story of recovery from mental illness and substance abuse. On the sides, the Islanders’ fisherman logo greets the sunrise. Across the crown are three demonic faces, a hand grasping prison bars centered on the largest demon’s head. Before debuting the helmet, Lehner wrote in the Athletic, “I want people to know that there is hope in desperation, there is healing in facing an ugly past and there is no shame in involving others in your battle.”

Image: Hockey By Design

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