Terrifying Cat on Steve Cash U.S. Paralympic Mask
American sled hockey goaltender Steve Cash shows off a lot of patriotism on his mask for the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, but the real attention grabber is the freakishly lifelike black cat with dollar bills in its eyes staring out of the backplate.
Painted by Jason Livery of HeadStrongGrafx, the black cat looks remarkable real, but Cash won’t spill on the story behind it.
“I cannot divulge the secret behind the cat,” Cash, who backstopped USA to a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics and bronze at the 2006 Winter Games, told InGoal. “As much as I would like to, it’s an inside joke among the team. However, they did a great job on making it look as real as possible. It may be so ferocious and realistic that it will intimidate any opponent that tries to get near me. Just goes to show how talented those guys at HeadStrong are.”
For all the attention the cat might get – and based on a Google search of “Steve Cash,” it’s seems possible this might have something to do with it – the rest of the mask focuses on Cash’s pride in America and USA Hockey, with “USA” across the forehead and the logo worn by the U.S. hockey teams at both the Olympics and Paralympics on the left side.
“I chose the shield not only because it is the emblem on the jersey, but because the stars and stripes represent so much more than just the colors on our jersey,” said Cash, who lost his lower right leg to cancer at age 3. “I wear the colors with pride and I wanted to make it clear that I am more than humbled, I am privileged to wear the USA on my chest. I feel it represents our team as a whole and that is also why I chose the color scheme.”
Cash, who backstopped the U.S. to a 5-1 win over Italy in the Paralympic opener this week, has his No. 34 on the chin, a nod to his brothers.
“I chose the #34 because that is the number I have always worn, and it is the number that my brother James wears as a goalie as he has had a tremendous influence on my hockey career, along with my other two brothers Mike and Donny,” Cash said. “I cannot say I’d be representing my country in the Paralympics if not for my brothers.”
Last, but certainly not least, for the right side, Nash chose a portrait of the St. Louis skyline, complete with the old St. Louis courthouse and the Gateway Arch in the backdrop.
“Another favorite concept on the mask is the St. Louis skyline and the way they portrayed it,” he said. “How can you not love the look of the city after seeing that portrait? It also shows how proud I am to be born and raised in such a great city.”
You can find more great masks from Livery on the HeadStrongGrafx website, as well as on Twitter, and FaceBook. But for now, enjoy these close up images of Cash’s Paralympic mask, courtesy of photographer Norman Hayward, but try not to look the cat in the eyes for too long, we’re worried it might start moving: