Andrew Hammond didn’t take the most conventional route to professional hockey, but it looks like it may have been the right one for him.
Chalk it up to good, young players choosing to ascertain a college degree or the personal development that takes place in those years, but more teams are starting to draft players who are going to college as well as sign players as free agents coming out of post secondary institutions.
Hammond is one of the latter cases. Having attended Bowling Green University from 2009-2013, Hammond was signed to a two-way entry level deal by the Ottawa Senators and appointed to Binghamton where he started last year.
At the recent development camp in Ottawa, Hammond ran into fellow Sens prospect and former Calgary Hitman tender, Chris Driedger, and saw some of the great work on Driedger’s mask. Eventually, Hammond contacted Driedger’s painter Jason Bartziokas, an up and coming mask painter in the NHL and a well established artist around the CHL. The finished product is sure to impress.
Hammond’s new Vaughn mask made by Pro’s Choice combines a clean look and ingenuity, with a witty play on Hammond’s college nickname.
The left side sports the large, regal logo of the Senators with multiple “ghost” logos in the background, as well as on the backplate of the mask.
The entire mask is lined with the the “old-school” red bands, which was actually Hammond’s idea.
Hammond worked closely with Bartziokas to bring the real centerpiece of the mask to life. On the right side of the mask, Bartziokas has the large ‘O’ logo from the original Senators jersey just above a recognizable figure, the McDonald’s Hamburglar.
In an interview with InGoal, Bartziokas mentioned that it was what Hammond’s teammates called him at Bowling Green, in addition to “Hammy” (spelled out along the chin of the mask). When painting the cartoon character, Bartziokas “wanted to give it a little bit of life, and… drew some Alfred E. Neuman reference from that too. I thought the red hair was similar and I changed the two buckteeth to one tooth.”
Initially, the drawing was going to have a cheeseburger sailing into the catcher’s mitt, but apparently Andrew said “he would be razzed by his goalie coach, so we just went with a puck.” Well, puck or Big Mac cheeseburger, the mask looks fantastic.
As mentioned, Hammond made his professional debut last year, going 25-19-3 in 48 starts with Binghamton. Averaging a .910 save percentage and 2.81 goals against, Hammond was a solid addition to Ottawa’s already impressive reputation surrounding young goalies in recent years. The regular season success didn’t translate well to the playoffs for Binghamton and they were quickly eliminated by Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins in 4 games. Hammond was called up briefly last year in February and stopped all 11 shots he faced in a 35 minute relief effort against the Red Wings after Robin Lehner gave up 6 goals on 15 shots. Once again, Hammond is likely to get the bulk of the Binghamton starts next year over Driedgers and could see some time with the big club should the need arise. A native of Surrey, British Columbia, Hammond actually trains in the Vancouver area with good friend of InGoal Magazine, Pasco Valana.
In the same manner as this past mask featured on InGoal, Bartziokas put together some fantastic illustrations for this lid. You can find more from Bartziokas on his Facebook Page as well as on Instagram. He doesn’t have a company website but said he can be reached through Facebook, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter. You can also learn more about the Pro’s Choice masks on their website, Facebook page and Twitter feed: