When Craig Anderson was traded from Colorado to Ottawa, his mask painter, John Pepe of Pepe Custom Paint, wasn’t sure if he’d get to paint a custom Senators mask. It was late in the season, after all, and Anderson could still leave as a free agent in the summer.
So when Pepe got the word Anderson was getting a mask, it was exciting despite some really tight timelines. Painting a new NHL mask always is, even if doing so for Anderson is old hat (see some of his old Avalanche mask below).
The chance to paint a Senators lid, however, had extra meaning to Pepe, whose sister, Lisa Paradis, cheered for the Ottawa squad before losing a battle with breast cancer in December.
So while most of the eyes will be on Anderson’s familiar red corvette and the bug-eyed Senators character driving it, Pepe will be paying closer attention to a small logo that will be part of all his masks in the future.
“When my sister passed away in December I created a small memorial logo that I planned to use somewhere on every mask I paint from that point on,” said Pepe, who expedited the normal two-week turnaround with a few all-night painting sessions.
“It’s a breast cancer ribbon shaped into her initials (L.P.) and wrapped around a red heart. She was a hockey fan in general but Ottawa was her team so I was very happy to have to opportunity to paint this mask and to feature a small logo on it for her.”
As for the rest of the mask, which is custom made by Bob Dillon of Dillon’s Custom Goalie Mask, it goes without saying for anyone that has seen any of Anderson’s recent masks that the Senators’ new stopper likes cars.
“Craig is a Corvette guy so while I kept the Ed Roth inspiration in the Senator character, I toned it down for the Corvette in order to make it as large as possible on the mask,” said Pepe, whose past clients include Chris Mason, Scott Clemmensen, Sean Burke, Curtis Sanford and Kevin Weekes.
“Craig was, as always, great to work with. I thought the easiest route to go with the paint, given the limited time I had, was to make an Ottawa version of his latest Avalanche mask.”