Petr Mrazek’s newest mask is gritty enough for Philadelphia hockey
Petr Mrazek’s mask for the 2017-18 season, back in Detroit, was a tribute to everything old and new about hockey in the Motor City.
Now, though, he’s made a mid-season move to Broad Street, where he’s helping the Philadelphia Flyers fight for their playoff lives as the team’s newest starter to get a shot at the number one role.
It’s a new city – only the second NHL team he’s played for so far – and a new style of hockey, with new fans and a whole new history surrounding the franchise.
For that, he and Swedish mask artist Dave Gunnarsson have teamed up to give him a new lid design – and it’s everything a Philly hockey fan could have asked for:
The design is specifically made to be gritty and reminiscent of the hard-nosed, blue collar hockey that fans expect when they enter the Wells Fargo Center for puck drop.
“It was a true honor to paint and create this piece for my friend Petr Mrazek,” Gunnarsson, who runs mask art company DaveArt, wrote on Instagram. “The design is a tribute to the legendary Broad Street Bullies… Petr and I brainstormed how to create the painting, we came up with a plan. The design is painted in a raw style, so it looks like it has been in a lot of fights.”
Sure enough, the sides of the mask have scratches and fading, added by design but meant to give the impression that Mrazek has been dropping the gloves as much as his teammates and getting into scrapes along the boards.
Gunnarsson added, though, that the hard-nosed, take-no-prisoners style wasn’t the only element of Flyers hockey that he made sure to add to the mask.
The top of the design is yet another tribute for the Czech netminder, who featured late Detroit owner Mike Ilitch on his design with the Red Wings earlier in the year.
This time, the icons are all former Flyers legends: there’s Bobby Clarke, easy to pick out with his flow and toothless grin, and Bernie Parent at the top with his old-school mask. The trio of tributes is rounded out with old-school enforcer Dave Schultz – perhaps not the most talented player to wear number 8 for the Flyers, but definitely the toughest of them all.
To give the mask a true ‘Broad Street Bullies’ feel to go with the gritty, sketched logo and the slapped-on ‘Broad Street Bullies’ signs along the chin, Gunnarsson explained that he used strong contrast colors in the design of the old team sweaters from their hardest-hitting days.
It’s tough to tell whether or not Mrazek will be long for Philadelphia, where the team would have to match a hefty qualifying offer in order to retain him as a restricted free agent or see him test free agency.
For now, though, he’s rocking a 4-3-1 record and has already earned his first shutout with the team. With this mask, it’s hard not to like how things are going as he gets his skates under him in a brand new crease.