Jimmy Howard’s tribute mask to ‘The Joe’ debuted for Detroit
Jimmy Howard may have started to concede his position as bona fide starter for the Detroit Red Wings to the young, up-and-coming Petr Mrazek.
With one more year left at the iconic NHL rink he’s spent his entire career in, though, the goaltender has made sure to honor Joe Louis Arena in style.
With custom designs and paint by Bishop Designs, Howard will be wearing a mask that tells two stories – the story of his team in the arena, and the story of his own career at one of the NHL’s oldest remaining rinks.
On the left side of the mask, there’s an iconic picture of former team captain Steve Yzerman hoisting the Stanley Cup – something he did in 1997, 1998, and 2002 as a player and in 2008 as a member of the team’s front office. Those four Stanley Cups are also present on the mask surrounding the ‘Red Wings’ on the chin, each in their own separate star.
The right side of the mask features another Red Wings legend, with Gordie Howe getting his own side of the mask to be remembered just a season after his passing. His number, 9, is featured behind him.
There’s note of how long the arena has been around on the top of the mask – ‘The Joe’ will have remained open from 1979 to 2017 when it finally stops serving as home to the Red Wings at the end of this upcoming season – but the back plate is where the memories really lie; with polaroid-style images notating Yzerman’s draft, the arena itself, Scotty Bowman with the Stanley Cup, and other moments dear to die-hard Red Wings fans, it tells a story of the team’s history in what’s being dubbed the ‘farewell season’.
Here are a few more looks at the mask, courtesy of Bishop Designs: