For one night only, Winnipeg Jets fans might be referring to Michael Hutchinson as ‘Goalie Mike.’
The Jets are set to take on the Edmonton Oilers in the Heritage Classic later this month, and Hutchinson is getting his equipment in order for the outdoor game. As part of his getup, and as a way to pay tribute to one of the city’s favorite goaltenders from the Jets’ original incarnation, Hutchinson has had a mask made that is an almost one-for-one replication of Bob Essensa’s mask during his tenure in Winnipeg.
Designed and painted by David Leroux of Diel Airbrush, the mask features the same crisp red, blue and white color scheme to match the original look of the Jets, and painted on top and on the left and right panels is the same five jet formation that Essensa wore during his days as a Jet. Take a look:
The obvious difference between Hutchinson’s mask and those worn by Essensa is the shine, but that simply comes with age. The new style paint job has a certain gloss to it that really makes it stand out, but it’s not the only difference.
On the crown of the mask, the left and right panel and the chin of the mask, there are holographic Jets logos that can only be seen when certain light his the lid. That’s not to mention the dozens of smaller jets that can be seen in the right light.
Of course, for Hutchinson to have the mask made is one thing. Whether he actually gets into game action with it is another. Less than one week remains until the start of the season, and there’s no clarity to the Jets’ goaltending situation. Hutchinson spent time as the backup to Ondrej Pavelec this past season, but he also split time with Connor Hellebuyck at points during the 2015-16 campaign.
If Winnipeg chooses to go with a combination of Pavelec and Hellebuyck in the regular season, Hutchinson could be the odd man out as a healthy scratch, or could even find himself in the AHL.
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