It’s never been policy to display personal equipment or paint jobs here at InGoal Magazine, but this exception comes with an explanation and an apology – to both our readers and the guys at HeadStrongGrafx who designed painted this cartoon masterpiece for me.
You see, the freshly painted mask arrived a day before I underwent surgery to repair a ruptured disk in my back, an injury that had kept me off the ice for three months and one that, with a 40th birthday approaching, threatened to keep me off for good. Needless to say that didn’t sound appealing to a guy who makes a living writing about the position, including frequently testing new equipment and techniques on the ice.
So, fearful I may never get to wear the mask in a game, and superstitious enough to think it mattered, I delayed its debut at InGoal.
Now, two months after surgery and two games into a return to the ice, I’m happy to share the new Woody Woodpecker-themed mask with our readers. It features a retro-clad Woody in an InGoal jersey on the left side side, Woody doing his best blood-stained Jacques Plante on the right, and a shout out to my daughters and the magazine that lets me take part in a sport and position I love for a living on the back plate.
A sincere thanks to artist Marcus Power for the design, and painter Jason Livery for bringing my trusty Eddy Mask to life. (Evidently they were also paying attention to my extensive concussion history given the cracks and stitching detailed in the “skull” that formed the base layer for the top of the new lid.)
You can find more great masks from Power and Livery on the HeadStrong Grafx website, as well as on Twitter, and on their FaceBook page, and here in the InGoal archives. Their client list has grown extensively since InGoal began working with them almost three years ago, including the stirring debut of a backplate tribute to Pavol Demitra that Headstrong painted for Jaroslav Halak, and with several more NHL clients coming on board this season, look for new masks in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, please enjoy close ups of the mask they painted for me below. As for the promised apology to our readers, that’s for the delay between issues of the magazine edition, which like this mask’s debut, fell victim to being unable to sit and work for any length of time. That too will soon be rectified, with a new issue of InGoal Magazine already in the works, and the InGoal staff en route to Montreal and Toronto this week and next to gather more material from more than half a dozen Stanley Cup-winning goaltenders and goalie coaches, as well as starting the reviews for a trio of exciting equipment launches coming this season.