Craig Anderson debuts Clint Benedict heritage mask in Ottawa
The mask, excellently painted once again by Anderson’s personal artist John Pepe of Pepe Custom Paint, pays homage to the original Senators and goalie Clint Benedict, who backstopped the franchise to three Stanley Cups between 1912 and 1924. During the 1929-30 season, Benedict also became the first goalie to wear a mask, for five games with the Montreal Maroons, but the nosepiece on the leather protection blocked his vision.
Anderson told the Ottawa Citizen he didn’t know much about Benedict or the early Senators before researching the mask:
“Sometimes it’s good to look back and read up on some of the history, and it was very interesting with him being the first guy to wear that Hannibal Lecter-type mask,” Anderson told The Citizen.
According to Pepe, “the background is the old Dey’s arena where they played at that time,” and “lower down is the “Worlds Champions” patch they wore on their uniforms after winning the cup in ’23 and a list of all the years that they had won.”
The inside contains a personal reference for the painter, a memorial logo for his sister, Lisa Paradis, a fan of the Senators who lost a battle with breast cancer almost exactly one year to the day that the new mask debuted.
“When my sister passed away I created a small memorial logo that I planned to use somewhere on every mask I paint from that point on,” said Pepe. “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.”
As for Benedict, his legend grew more leaving the Senators when while winning Cups with them.
According to The Citizen, he developed a drinking problem that was first kept secret by the Senators, but became public when it led to poor performances through the playoffs and the team tried to withhold salary because of it. Benedict sued the team and was countersued, which led to the full extent of his behaviour being revealed in an Ottawa court. He was traded before the start of the 1924 season to the expansion Montreal Maroons, where he played six seasons and won another Stanley Cup in 1926.