Flyers goaltender to sport evolved design rife with symbolism for his native Russia – and a desire for a bounce back season.
Ilya Bryzgalov’s game may not have been as sharp as Flyers’ fans expected last year, but his main helmet, designed by Stephane Bergeron of La Griffe Originale was one of the sharpest in the league with its striking design and detail.
The new design for 2012-2013 is evolutionary, building on last year’s theme while adding a layer of symbolism that shows a love for country, and may also signal a desire to fight to find the game he lost.
Last year fans were curious as to why, aside from the obvious colour tie in, “Bryz” would have a tiger on his helmet. Bergeron told InGoal then it was Bryzgalov’s request as a national symbol of his native Russia, where it is known as the Amur.
The rest of the world soon found out how much the Flyers’ new No.1 really knew about the animal during his now-famous discourse with the team trainer during a segment on HBO’s 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic about an unknown Russian liquor that somehow turned into talk about receiving the death penalty in China for killing a tiger (video below).
The tiger is back on Bryzgalov’s new mask for the upcoming season, but it’s more ferocious this time and, with a striking set of claws, appears to be looking for a fight. The Flyers logo has also been relocated this year, while the proud Russian goaltender bears the Kremlin on his forehead and the Russian Firebird, or Phoenix, rising on his chin.
Flyers fans can only hope Bryzgalov, who was criticized for being too passive in his play at times last season, will also return ready to fight and like the Phoenix his game will be renewed as it rises from the flames of his first year in Philadelphia.
First a look back at last year’s mask:
… and now some close ups of the new lid:
… and last, but certainly not least, the video highlighting Bryzgalov’s knowledge of tigers and Chinese law: