We’ve loved the mask designs of Josh Harding, last season’s Masterton Trophy winner, for years now, as the Wild stopper has always been amongst the most original in his artwork – created each year by Minnesota artist Todd Miska of Miska Designs.
While most goaltenders represent just their team or their personal design on their masks, Harding has something different up his sleeve each year. These include a classic mask to raise breast cancer awareness, a tribute to his grandmother, one that paid tribute to his old buddies playing pond hockey, another for favourite band Rascal Flatts, and even one that was a tribute to all the Minnesota masks Miska created over the years. Harding and Miska always team up for something creative.
This year they have a simple design that works well for a state that is as familiar to cold winters and pond hockey as Canadian Harding would be from his days growing up in Regina, Saskatchewan. Miska has painted a ‘toque,’ the classically, even stereotypically, Canadian knitted winter hat.
At one time it might have seemed out of place on a goalie mask, until then-Montreal goaltender Jose Theodore skated out for the inaugural Winter Classic with a red and blue toque fitted over top of his mask, something he may have topped style-wise in an outdoor practice for fans as a member of the Minnesota Wild – where he wore sunglasses under his lid.
This impressive design has been painted in a style that reflects the woollen texture of the toque, complete with a Bauer logo which appears sewn on and even the classic ‘pom pom’ on top. We’d love to see more goalies with Theodore’s actual toque on top, but with those reserved only for outdoor games, this might be the next best thing.