On Nov. 1, 1959, when Jacques Plante defied coach Toe Blake and donned a mask during a game against the New York Rangers, the pioneering goalie could not have foreseen the avalanche he had triggered. After Plante was sliced below his nose on a shot by Andy Bathgate, bled profusely and was stitched up in the dressing room, it’s likely the only thing he envisioned was saving his own vision. And his skull, orbital bone, jaw, sinus cavities and teeth.
But in the decades following Plante’s dramatic decision, the goalie mask has evolved into the most prolific innovation in all of sport. Hear me out. It’s a bold statement considering the advances and novel concepts great minds have conjured. Breakaway basketball rims, Tommy John surgery, interchangeable cleats, vulcanized rubber tennis balls, ti...
About the Author
Jason Kay is the Editor in Chief of The Hockey News and has been with the brand since 1989. No, that's not a typo. Born in England, raised in Toronto, he arrived in his home and adopted land as a baby in 1967, just in time to see the Maple Leafs win their last Stanley Cup. A stay-at-home defenseman once upon a time, Kay knows his NHL dreams are long dead, but he hasn't given up hope of winning the Brier.