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Nilsson includes then-pregnant fiancé on new Canucks mask

Vancouver Canucks goalie Anders Nilsson has a new “road” mask he plans to debut on an upcoming six-game trip, and it includes a nod to his newborn son, Loui Nilsson.

The only problem is little Loui, who was born Nov. 8, arrived too late for a portrait on the new mask, which had already been painted back by David Gunnarsson of DaveArt back in Sweden. Unable to wait, Nilsson decided to include a silhouette of his pregnant fiancé instead:

Anders Nilsson points to the silhouette of his then-pregnant finance on his new Canucks “road” mask.

“Unfortunately when we painted this helmet he wasn’t born yet, he was still in the stomach so that’s why I put my fiancé with the belly on there to try and get a little part of him on there too,” Nilsson said.

Just as he did on his first Canucks mask, which was also painted by Gunnarsson, Nilsson also included a picture of his two-and-a-half year old son, Mio, on the other side of this CCM Pro mask.

“He’s been on every helmet since I was born,” Nilsson said.

Nilsson has his older son, Mio, on all his masks.

As for the rest of the mask, the overall theme is similar to the original, with glittery hockey sticks crossing in the front, but he decided to go with a matte white finish to match the team’s white road jerseys.

“They wanted me to have a second mask in case something happens, so me and DaveArt came up with the idea of having one at home and one away so that is why I put more white on the second one,” Nilsson said. “He had an idea of doing a combination of matte and shiny and I think it turned out good.”

Nilsson’s original mask, on the left, and his new white base “road” mask on the right.

Like the original, the new mask has a subtle mixture of bold, simple style and small personal details, including Canucks logos, and Sweden’s Tre Kronor symbol (the original also had a Lulea coat of Arms). The backplate also contains some personal logos: a standing bear and a pride flag.

Nilsson has included a pride flag on all his masks for the past two seasons.

Nilsson started including a pride flag last season with the Buffalo Sabres after getting involved in the league’s You Can Play initiative the year before in Edmonton, telling the Buffalo News, “I have a couple friends who are gay, and life hasn’t been easy for them growing up … It’s time that hockey starts to pay some attention to that.”

As for the bear, Nilsson said “being from Northern Sweden it’s a symbol of home, it reminds me of home a little bit. It’s a cool statement to have and look at every once in a while.”

The bear reminds Nilsson of his home in Northern Sweden.

The other, somewhat unique part of both Nilsson’s Canucks mask is the color-matched cage paint, something he used to wear back in Sweden and went back to last season in Buffalo. The only downside of a painted cage is replacing it when it gets bent, as his current Canucks mask is. He is waiting on a couple of matching replacement cages and hopes he doesn’t have to go to plain white in the meantime.

“Hopefully this one can hold on long enough,” he said.

For more of Gunnarsson’s mask work, check out his websiteTwitter feed, and Instagram account

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