Antti Raanta wanted to pay tribute to Chicago Blackhawks legend Ed Belfour with his new mask for the Stadium Series game at Soldier Field.
What better way to do so than by reproducing Belfour’s iconic mask?
The mask was painted by fellow Finn Joni ‘Bona’ Hallikainen, a former pro goaltender who once played with Dallas Stars No.1 Kari Lehtonen, and has painted masks for both him and Raanta already this season.
Hallikainen made sure to reach out to Belfour’s painter, the legendary Greg Harrison, for permission before re-creating the iconic “Eddie the Eagle” look for Raanta, who told NHL.com he wanted to honour Belfour:
“If you think about great Chicago Blackhawks [goaltenders], you think of Eddie Belfour and everybody says ‘Eddie the Eagle,'” Raanta said. “I didn’t have any ideas for the outdoor game mask and I was thinking it would be nice to respect a great goalkeeper in that kind of game. … I don’t know what Eddie thinks about that, but I hope he likes it.”
InGoal sent Belfour a quick note to check, will certainly share his reaction when he responds. In the meantime, you can see more of Hallikainen’s fantastic work, which includes making replicas of 1970s era NHL masks, by visiting his Facebook page or contact him directly by email. Don’t forget to check out the stunning new custom set of Brian’s equipment Raanta had made up for the game as well. For now, though, enjoy these close ups of the Belfour mask – and one of Raanta holding it – that Hallikainen shared with InGoal :
That mask will look pretty sweet with this custom gear from Brian’s Custom Sports (see it all here):
NHL.com also ran a short video of Raanta and his new mask, and it sounds like it might see action outside the Stadium Series: