Jacques Plante’s Goalie Mask
This article was originally written and submitted as part of a Canada 150 Project, the Innovation Storybook, to crowdsource stories of Canadian innovation with partners across Canada. The content has since been migrated to Ingenium’s Channel, a digital hub featuring curated content related to science, technology and innovation.
On November 1, 1959, a wicked shot from the Boston Bruins’ Andy Bathgate added seven more stitches to the forehead of legendary goaltender Jacques Plante. That night, Plante refused to go back into the net without a mask, and the face of hockey changed forever. The mask ultimately proved a success. Today, all goalies wear facemasks, some so artfully painted that they have become the subject of museum exhibitions.
This fibreglass “pretzel” design mask was Plante’s second pretzel mask, and his third mask overall, worn in 1963 while he was playing with the New York Rangers. It was designed by Plante, in partnership with Bill Burchmore and Earl Thomas Patrick Greenland of Montreal. The fibreglass strands moulded to Plante’s face made the mask lighter and cooler than the original solid mask. Plante would remain an inspiration for goaltenders everywhere, designing, marketing, promoting facial protection for hockey players.