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CuJo’s Mask Artist – Frank Cipra, Interview

Frank Cipra has created signature looks for many goalies


Frank Cipra - Guess who's on the mask?

I had the pleasure of chatting for some time today with Frank Cipra. Frank has been in the business for a long time, but undoubtedly is best known for creating Cujo’s signature look. Most artists I speak with mention Frank and the CuJo mask as inspirations and I must say that he has created some of my favorites, including the incredibly detailed Andrew Raycroft Leafs mask – all in blue and white.

In our interview, which you can hear by clicking the link above, Frank spoke about:

  • How he began painting masks and coming to work for iTech
  • Where inspiration comes from – the classic wake up in the middle of the night with an idea!
  • Goalies’ growing interest in design
  • Jose Theodore as the most demanding client
  • The evolution of Cujo’s design – from straight line almost cartoon-like to today’s detailed 3-D look
  • The development in his art, challenging himself to grow and improve.
  • Andrew Raycroft’s Leafs mask – two weeks of research and painting – all blue.
  • Personalities – Robert Esche is one of the funniest guys he knows.
  • Other areas of art – “anything that’ll stand still long enough for me to paint – I’ll paint it!”
  • Splitting with Marlene Ross (Luongo’s artist) when he moved to iTech – and she decided not to move with him to begin her own business.
  • Layering the imagery – so from a distance you can recognize the design, but then have more detail at a deeper level up close.
  • Masks in the Hall of Fame

Thank you to Frank for taking the time to chat with us. Please visit his web site for more information. I’m sure if you have a mask – or anything else – that needs painting, Frank would love to hear from you.

Images Courtesy of Frank Cipra, All rights reserved.

About The Author

David Hutchison

David is one of the founders of InGoal Magazine which he began in 2009. Of course he finds time for some goaltending of his own as well, and despite his age, clings desperately to the idea that some NHL team will call him to play for them - though in his mid-forties (OK, late 40s) it'll likely be for a practice when everyone else on their depth chart has the flu and the shooter tutor has gone in for repairs.


  1. Carl Shoemaker

    I remember when Andrew Raycroft was traded, the only thing that upset me about the trade, as a Leafs fan, was not seeing this AWESOME mask anymore!…This is the absolute best work on a goalie mask I’ve EVER seen!! By the way, the KISS masks are really cool, too!

  2. Adam

    The pictures of the “Leaf Legends” mask that you have displayed are actually pictures of my mask that Frank did for me. He did a phenomenal job and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I receive so many compliments about it all the time. Frank, you are the best in the biz hands down! Thanks again!

  3. Ben J

    Cujo has always had the best looking masks. My favorite two have to be his toronto mask and his calgary mask. I love how he sticks with Cujo the dog and the Cujo the nickname on there.

  4. Amber

    Could you please answer! I understand that Frank Cipra designed Cujo’s Toronto mask. But who painted it? This will clear a family discussion/disagreement!


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