Darling’s New Blackhawks Mask ‘Is So Chicago’
It’s too hard for Scott Darling to even describe the feeling and emotions that come from realizing his dream of playing goal for his hometown Chicago Blackhawks.
“That feeling of being from here and have this be where I call home and have this chance to play for the Blackhawks really is indescribable,” Darling told InGoal Magazine over the phone. “That is something you couldn’t really put on a mask.”
So Darling did the next best thing and teamed up with artist and fellow Chicago native Jason Livery of HeadStrongGrafx to design a new mask to show off how proud he is of the city he grew up in and now gets to represent on the ice.
The new mask showcases several Chicago landmarks, from famous hot dogs to famous films shot there. To say Darling was pleased at how it turned out is an understatement.
For Darling, who was nominated for the Masterton Trophy after playing for 12 teams over four seasons before getting his big break with the Blackhawks, the mask is a permanent keepsake for this memorable chance to play at home.
“That mask is so Chicago; I am going to have it the rest of my life and put it on the mantle when I am older, just to remind me of my days playing for the Blackhawks,” he said. “It’s going to be a great piece of memorabilia for me.”
It’s a personal source of pride for Livery as well. The painter usually uses one of his Head Strong Grafx certified designers to help with renderings and allow him to focus on painting, but as a Chicago native, he worked with Darling personally on every aspect of this design from start to finish.
“We wanted to showcase some of what makes Chicago such a great city,” Livery said. “Obviously we couldn’t fit everything but we did some of our favorites. We wanted this to be a mask native Chicagoans all over the country can see these landmarks and hopefully bring back great memories.”
The right side of the Warwick mask includes the Millennium Park “Bean,” the Willis Tower (which Livery notes is still knows as the Sears Tower to everyone from the city), the W. Madison Street sign, a Portillo’s Hot Dog, and of course the Blues Brothers from the movie of the same name.
“I also added one of the lion statues from the Field Museum and we had to include the famous EL Train,” Livery said. “And down the middle are the stars of the Chicago Flag.”
The left side of the mask is dominated by the Blackhawks iconic logo, but also includes the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier and, of course, the Madhouse on Madison and a reference to another Chicago-based movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
“I’m sure it will resonate with Chicago natives,” Darling said.
“It’s great to have the Blackhawks logo, it’s such an iconic logo, on the one side. But the city of Chicago just has so much to offer when you think about its history and the landmarks and the different things it is know for.
“You see the Portillo’s hot dog on there, the movie references and that’s just a fraction of the things you could chose to do on there and I think it turned out great the way he portrayed it,” Darling continued “Maybe some younger kids won’t know much about the ‘Blues Brothers’ or ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’ but that’s nothing a Google search can’t fix.”
The backplate is the same as Darling’s current mask, with the motto “Luctor et Emergo,” which translates to “I struggle but I will survive,” or “I struggle/wrestle/ and I emerge/win,” and is the official motto of the Dutch province of Zeeland, celebrating the fact Queen Elisabeth I of England backed the struggle of the Dutch against the Spanish king. They also added a character with the initials CR as a memorial to Blackhawks equipment manager Clint Reif, who passed away tragically earlier this season.