I recently took a tour of the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto and since I was pressed for time I decided to make it a goalie-specific tour. If you haven’t made it to the HHOF then I strongly recommend you scrounge up your pennies for a trip to Toronto to see this shrine to everything hockey. I’d say go see a Leafs game while you’re in town but why ruin a good vacation?
The HHOF is divided into sections that culminate with the grand trophy room. A thorough tour should take at least two hours if you really want to soak in the experience. My goalie tour is divided into sections as well but they don’t necessarily correspond to the groupings you’ll see there. And remember, what you see in the HHOF is only a small fraction of the Hall’s collections so some of what you see here won’t be on display when you visit. On the other hand you’ll probably see things I didn’t.
Masks – Grand Entrance
This will be the best part of the tour for any goalie… and technically it’s free! The grand entrance to the HHOF takes you past a number of display cases showing off the best and most important goalie masks in NHL history. This display is the best way for NHL goalies to make it to the HHOF without having a Hall of Fame career!
You have to walk past this display, as well as a pretty impressive puck collection, to get to the ticket cashier so if you really wanted to you could see the masks without paying a dime. This is like having the Mona Lisa on display in the entrance to the Louvre!
Not the original mask worn by Jacques Plante but the one he considered his favorite. An upgrade from his original solid fiberglass mask, this model allowed much-needed ventilation. He continued to build upon the pretzel concept in the years to come.
If the size of goalie equipment is up for review can we negotiate trappers the size of the one in this shooter tutor? I can almost see the entire ad through the glove cutout. Speaking of which, why are the Jackets players being encouraged to shoot INTO the goalie’s glove? Thanks to Tapeleg at Jerseys and Hockey Love for taking this shot at the Blue Jacket’s training camp. One question: how do you have a shortage of goalies at training camp??? The 70:1 odds I saw last week in Vegas are looking pretty accurate right now for the Jacket’s chances of winning the Cup.
Couple cools shots of the Wild’s Niklas Bacstrom Josh Harding being a video game dummy with Dion Phaneuf. This could be an equipment rule that goalies could agree to… paste targets to our gear so players shoot at us instead of open net.
UPDATE: thanks to TL reader Smart Goalie (who appears to live up to his name) for pointing out that these photos feature Josh Harding and not Nik Backstrom as previously reported in this post. Shame on me for not even noticing the lefty-righty difference but kudos to Smart Goalie for picking up the difference in equipment (TPS for Harding and Vaughan for Backstrom).
Brian Heaton, more so than any other person on this planet, revolutionized modern goalie equipment. He passed away this week after suffering a heart attack at the age of 58.
In my opionion Heaton’s greatest innovation was the introduction of man-made materials to the manufacturing process. Remember Cooper’s Durasoft line of goalie gear? (see photo of Mike Vernon in previous post) That was all Heaton. Today we can’t imagine a goalie wearing anything but equipment in his or her team colors but that’s only because Heaton thought of using colored materials on a wide-scale basis. He was more than a friend to goalies though as he also revolutionized skaters’ protection with the invention of the Cooperall. Yes, the long shell was ultimately booed out of the hockey world but today’s player pants bear a strong resemblance to the original girdle designed by Heaton. Continue reading