Steve Mason dons new CF-18 mask in dominant shutout win
Steve Mason is finally, at long last, back on the Winnipeg Jets roster.
The veteran goaltender had just begun to get his groove with his new team after signing a two-year deal with Winnipeg in free agency when, early in January, he went on injured reserve for a concussion.
It took two months to see him return to full health, but the Jets finally activated him on March 5th – and the following day, he took the ice for a spectacular 31-save shutout win over the New York Rangers to show he’s really back.
In the process, he showed off a new mask, to boot:
Imagined and brought to life by Quebecois mask artist Sylvie Marsolais of Sylabrush, the mask is a serene, sketch-inspired design done predominantly in greyscale and aluminum accents.
Like his first mask with the Jets, this one pays homage to the Royal Canadian Air Force – but where the first one looked as if to draw parallels to the Ace Combat 5 and 6 covers, this one is a tribute specifically to the CF-18 Hornet planes that have served the RCAF for so long.
First introduced in November of 1978, the CF-18 was the Canadian answer to the American F/A-18 developed a few years earlier.
The Hornet lines are some of the most popular in military aviation in regards to pop culture, as they serve as the planes flown in the iconic US Navy Blue Angels squadron – and like their real-life counterparts, the airborne sketches Marsolais put on the mask are nimble and free-wheeling in the background:
The mask gets a splash of color, though, as Marsolais superimposed the outline of the Jets logo over the Hornets flying in the background using some pretty nifty technology:
“[When] Steve contacted us for his new mask, he wanted realistic details with some CF-18’s,” Marsolais wrote to InGoal, “so we did a design by incorporating the CF-18 in the background of the Jets wings emblem.”
“As you can see, we did some 3D effects on the wings emblem to make it come alive,” she added.
Sure enough, the mask looks as if the wings of the Jets logo are lifted right off the side of the mask, but the metallic blue is flat to the lid itself; the paint, rather than an extra ridge, is what makes the difference.
The back of the mask brings a personal touch, with a moose on the right and a realistic rendition of Mason’s daughter on the left at his request. Her name, Emma, is written in faint script up at the top of the backplate; there, but subtly so.
The mask is both serene and action-packed, depicting the kind of artistic scene that Marsolais excels at creating so well. There’s just enough color to create a multi-dimensional design with the team logo and the Hornets, but it’s almost a complete departure from what he donned to start the year.
Mason’s game on Tuesday brought his save percentage up to a .906 on the season, although playing in just 12 games so far has been skewing his numbers significantly.
Expect that to change a bit, as the Jets hope to give starter Connor Hellebuyck enough rest to remain strong during any potential playoff runs. But with just 16 games left in the season – and Hellebuyck still about 11 games shy of the 65 number that the team likely hoped to hold him to on the year – Mason may have to finish his first year in Winnipeg with a much lighter workload than he had initially anticipated.
For now, though, he’s got a pretty sweet new lid to showcase when he does get the nod: