There’s never any shortage of material for artistic inspiration when it comes to the Philadelphia Flyers.
From Rocky to the Liberty Bell to Benjamin Franklin to the Flyers long list of iconic past players, there are plenty of obvious options.
Ray Emery used a few of them during his first stint in Philadelphia, including a tribute to the area’s boxing greats, and another to the goaltending legends that have played for the Flyers.
His long-time personal painter, David Leroux of Montreal-based Diel Airbrush, is also no stranger to Flyers’ tributes, having created numerous Philadelphia-themed masks during his career, including the incredible recent Broad Street Bullies mask for an InGoal equipment tester.
For Emery’s new Flyers mask, however, Leroux wanted to dig a little deeper.
What he found was the origin of the team’s name, which was selected through a contest (to win a 20-inch RCA TV), and a pilot-themed mask that Frank Cipra had painted for then-Flyers goalie Brian Boucher.
“I have been a fan of Frank Cipra forever and I thought the pilot theme was a good idea so I asked Ray if it’s something he would like ,” Leroux said. “He said ‘yeah’ so I began searching and that’s when I came across the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American aviators in the United States armed forces.”
On one side Leroux painted the image of a Tuskegee Airman, which he also felt symbolized both Emery’s well-known fighting spirit and his ability to overcome adversity while battling back from what most believed was a career ending hip injury. On the other he used Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, a United States Marine Corps officer and fighter ace who was awarded both the Medal of Honour and the Navy Cross during World War II.
“You can’t get much more patriotic,” Leroux said.
The backplate continues the traditional use of the “Razor” nickname, and the team logo remains on the chin.
To see more great work from Leroux please visit his Diel Aribrush web site and his Facebook page, as well as recent masks for Michael Hutchinson of the Winnipeg Jets organization, St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak, and Tyler Weiman in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, the top level in Germany. You can find other Leroux creations in the InGoal archives, but in the meantime enjoy the close ups of Emery’s new Flyers mask: