My Goalie Masks Through The Years

As promised, here is a summary pic of my masks through the years. 

masks1This is a reproduction of my first mask.  A paper plate.   It was used for floor hockey in my basement and wherever else the floor was smooth. It got battered and torn.  I hated the fact that the plate was against my face and my nose was smooshed.  So I decided to make…


masks2This (reproduction) mask is made from aluminum foil.  I used the foil as a mold for my face and filled it with Elmer’s Glue.  I intended to pull the glue mask out of the foil but couldn’t so I used this as is.  My face was sticky and I didn’t like the smell, so….


masks3This is a reproduction of mask #3.  Back to cardboard.  I cut it cleaner and decorated it ala Gerry Cheevers.  Every time the puck hit my face (we’re talking electric taped plastic pucks) I’d draw stitch marks where the puck hit.  This mask was the norm until…


mask4A friend of my older brother had this mask, made by Cooper, for sale… Sold!.  It became a shared mask with my older bro who played sometimes in floor hockey as well.  I carried on the Gerry Cheevers tradition but I actually painted and repainted this mask multiple times.   The “magic marker” smell from all the stitch marks was quite strong when wearing this mask.  This is the original pictured- it’s 35+ years old.


mask5This is one of two cages I attached to a Jofa helmet I used to wear.  The setup looked similar to this.  I can’t find the other cage but it had a major dent over the nose from a slapshot (Although it is in the pic of me in nets below).  I wore it on ice as my main goalie headgear as an older teen through my thirties.  While growing up masks weren’t really mass produced and available so I went the cage route.  A booming slapshot cracked the Jofa helmet  severely where the cage mounted to the helmet.  The helmet was retired to what I’m wearing in the picture of me in nets below.


masks6I played on a team called the Cougars.  It was an indoor floor hockey league in the summers.  I didn’t like the cage so I made myself this mask.  I went back to the foil mold technique but used fiberglass over the foil. You can see the inside of the mask here.mask2-005.  I drilled the holes and was paranoid I was inhaling fiberglass fibers in my lungs.   I also learned alot about the forces on the straps of a mask with this one.  The slots that held the straps kept breaking.  In spite of my best efforts to fix it, my face safety was paramount so I made…

mask7This.  I used slightly altered manufacturing techniques to reinforce the strap holding areas.  The team changed to the Panthers so new colors and patterns followed.  The visor over the eyes is ballistic plastic that I fashioned in the kitchen to fit the mask.  It actually originated on the Cougar mask and I transferred it to this one.  Its purpose was to protect my eyes from stick blade edges.   Both this mask and the Cougar mask above were painted by my younger brother (who, even today, in addition to his Veterinarian day job, also paints)  The back of this mask looks like: mask4-0021  The straps are from my fourth Cooper mask.  I put the back-of-the-head pad onto the straps about 30 years ago.  It stayed with every mask these straps were on.

This picture shows me wearing another helmet and cage.  The helmet replaced the white Jofa.  It was blue and I painted it red to make it purple.  The paint was battered off but it held its own.  This lasted about 2 years before it broke and I went to…




maskcurrentThis is the mask I currently wear and have had this for I believe almost 10 years.  I decorated the mask with the Tasmanian Devil.    The main team I played on (that won a couple Men’s League Championships as well as played in a couple Invitational tournaments) was called: Taz.  The team folded a few years back after an illustrious run but I’ve yet to repaint my mask.


So there you have it.  You can tell alot about a goalie by the masks he/she wears.  


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6 Comments on “My Goalie Masks Through The Years”

  1. […] Sportsnet’s John Garrett does for the Herald. five for fighting: The goalie question this weekend My Goalie Masks Through The Years « Between the Pipes Predators Despite stats, Ellis still feels strong – Los Angeles … Two-Blockered Monster « Fifth […]

  2. […] Posted by Plish on March 1, 2009 There is a great book out entitled Saving Face: The Art and History of the Goalie Mask .   It is amazing to see the progression of how masks developed over time. (To see how my masks changed over the years click here) […]

  3. Rhyser Says:


    I’m going into grade 11 and our program requires us yo do a ‘personal project’. the PP requires us to completely decide what kind of project we are going to do, and then of course there is a lot of paperwork to fill out.

    I was thinking about creating my own vintage style goalie mask. I can see by your masks that you know how to make one, and i would really appreciate it if you could help me out. I’ve been having a lot of trouble finding guidelines on how to make one, and i am hesitant to start from scratch (a big block of wood). How did you shape your masks?

    Thanks a lot
    R. McRae

    • betweenthepipes Says:

      Hey Rhyser, thanks for stopping by! Be glad to help.
      The best way to get the mask shaped is to make a mold of your face. The process is pretty easy actually. There are kits for making your own molds but I think they’re kind of expensive. Do you have a budget for this project? How much time do you have?

      I used aluminum foil. The heavy duty stuff. Take a bunch of sheets about 18″ or so square and put them together, crinkling the edgess so they stay together. Then just put it over your face and form it all the way around. After you’ve pressed it against your face you can use bondo(fiberglass) in thin strips put over the foil to start creating the actual mask leaving the eye areas open. After it hardens you can remove the foil and keep building on the previous layer. Do that until the mask is about an 1/8″ thick (I assume you’re not using this mask in real ice hockey games).

      Now just sand it (wearing a face mask like for painting/sanding for protection against the fibers and dust) and drilll out extra holes for ventilation around the nose and around the perophery of the face.

      Finally you paint it to seal it all up.

      You can always make it out of paper mache as well and then use the paper mache as your actual mask or as a mold for the fiberglass.

      You can also use polymer clay and just get a huge block of the stuff, roll it out thin (1/8″) or so, and shape it into a mask using some wire to provide a support scaffold for it while it bakes in the oven. You could use tha as your mask or use that as a mold or a base for the mask.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Rhyser Says:

    Hey Mike,

    I don’t fully understand your fiber glass method but i am certainly interested. The mask i had in mind was going to be made out of wood or fiber glass.. So if you could elaborate more that would be appreciated. I don’t know anything about fiberglass so i just don’t understand what you mean by hardens, strips, etc.

    Is there any way to make it out of wood?

    Thanks again

    • betweenthepipes Says:

      Hi Rhyser,

      Here’s a link that shows how fiberglass is used to build speaker enclosures in cars.
      It’s kind of like doing paper mache actually.

      I guess you could use wood but I’ve never done it before. You could probably use balsa as well. If you’re going a route other than fiber glass I’d personally go with paper mache or polymer clay, both of which can be bought at craft stores. You can make both of them with a nice finish and gloss.

      Hope this helps!


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