Toronto goaltender James Reimer began his mask transformation late last season, switching to images of Transformer Optimus Prime as it became clear the ‘Optimus Reims’ nickname that was bestowed on him by Maple Leafs fans, and included a line of t-shirts, was going to stick.
Reimer’s new mask for 2013 sticks with the Transformers theme, detailing what artist David Gunnarsson of DaveArt called, the “blueprint of Optimus Reim.”
“This is something totally different. From a distance it’s a clean and classic Leafs design, but this mask is just as the Transformers slogan: More than meets the eye,” Gunnarsson wrote. “First you may see the classic flames on the chin, and that reminds of a special truck … a truck that can transform into something else … And when you come really close the mask will be transformed into the blueprint of Optimus Reim, the instructions how Optimus Reim is built. And there is so much more to discover, you will also find the Toronto skyline, and for sure there is Optimus Reim watching over the city. The electrical lightning all over the mask is describing the electrical feeling James has when he enters the ice in the arena.”
Reimer switched to the Transformer theme last spring, after starting the season with a mask that featured famed Hockey Night in Canada broadcasters Ron MacLean and Don Cherry, and while the new mask photos don’t include the backplate, he has traditionally stuck with a celebration of his Christian faith and an image of Jesus pulling Peter out of the water and a reference to the bible verse from Matthew 14:31, which Reimer explained in the original edition of InGoal Magazine two seasons ago.
Reimer’s new mask also includes something of a transformation on the inside. He is wearing a new Bauer prototype that includes the same “Re-AKT” technology used in their player helmet, with an inner liner that allows the outside to twist with heavy side, or rotational impact, before taking the head and neck with it. Reimer hopes the new mask will prevent a repeat of last season, when he missed most of the year with a neck injury that included concussion symptoms because of a blow to the side of the head.
InGoal detailed Reimer’s recovery – he played through symptoms he didn’t fully realize were there until a manual therapist “turned lights back on” over the summer – and the new prototype mask in the January edition of InGoal Magazine.
Enjoy close ups of Reimer’s new mask below, and you can find more of Gunnarsson’s great artwork on both his website and on his Twitter feed. And for all the new masks in the NHL this season, be sure to visit out InGoal’s mask page.