Friday, December 17, 2010

The original mask, by Jacques Plante



Above is a photo I found online while browsing images, showing the second prototype for the famous Jacques Plante medium size Fibrosport Elite street mask, on which the Jason mask was very closely based. This mask remained in the office of Jacques Plante, the man who invented and popularized the modern goalie mask, for many years and was auctioned off in 2007 by his heirs. The medium mask, which the Plante company of Magog, Quebec, Canada also made for American companies Cooper and Rally, was catalog number 653602. The Cooper version was also known as the hm7.

The major differences between the original Plante design and the Jason mask was in fabrication: the Plante mask was made of a sturdy fiberglass resin and was relatively thick: the hockey masks made for Friday the 13th part 3 were pulled in clear acrylic and were very thin and brittle. The Plante mask, which commonly had a back plate to attach the five straps to for extra security, also had padding on the inside so the mask didn't crack your face open like an egg if you were unlucky enough to be hit by a puck. The masks made for the Friday the 13th series were also somewhat more crudely fabricated: the discriminating eye will notice mold chipping around the eyes and other anomalies that make the Jason design really unique.

The Plante masks, which were made from the late 1960's until the company closed its doors in 1976, were made in a very wide variety of styles and customized versions that fit your face perfectly were made as well, mostly for professional ice hockey players. The "street" mask that became iconic outside the hockey world in 1982, was available in white or beige and retailed for fifty dollars.

3 comments:

  1. Jacques Plante was a brilliant superstar in the realm of ice hockey, and he inspired generations that followed his lead. His acrobatic roaming style, goalie masks designs, and poke checks made him a legend. He was rated with the best of them: Giacomin, Parent; Esposito, Vachon; Hall, Sawchuk and Cheevers. I wore several of Jacques Plante masks before going over to the fiberglass moulded style of Giacomin. It is hoped one day that, Plante would be a recipient of the Order of Canada. The man was brilliant and an innovator with his own style and charisma. While the goalie masks of an era since past have dramatically changed, all those who laced up their leg pads, and slid their face mask over their eyes know Plante was accredited with being the forefather of the mask. He transformed the game of hockey with netminders following his lead to pass the puck (like a third defenceman). I wished several of his masks were kept but that was not the case. Kerwin Maude

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  2. Just clarification, The masks shown at the top of the page and in the catalogue with Plante weren't street hockey masks. They were actually worn in games and at first didn't have back plates as they weren't added to the rule books till later. I know this as I still have my medium version fibreglass that I wore for 7 or so years. Kept a lot of scars off my face.

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