HbD Masks: 2018 Women’s Olympic Masks
With the PyeongChang Olympics officially underway, there’s no better time to turn our attention to the women’s hockey tournament. With the absence of NHL players in this year’s games, for true best-on-best Olympic hockey, the girls are bringing it. The Canada-US rivalry has continued to heat up in recent years, and the wealth of talent competing across the board this year will make for some fantastic and exciting hockey.
Living up to the talent the women are bringing to the ice (tell ’em, Bey) is their gear made specially for the Olympic games. The goalie masks we’ve seen so far are really stellar and deserving of a round up of their own, so let’s take a look at the buckets the girls will be sporting this year.
Shannon Szabados, Canada
The lady goaltenders are giving the men a run for their money in the mask department this year, and Canadian standout Shannon Szabados is no exception. Painted by Jason Bartziokas, the design cleverly captures a “Winter Wonderland” within the borders of the Canadian maple leaf shape. The detailed black and gray scenes depict a children’s hockey game on the left side opposite wolves on the right, all surrounded by bold snowflakes and maple leaves scattered throughout.
The choice to make this mask black and gray with minimal pops of red really allow Bartizokas’ artistry to shine, and the flawless execution makes this quintessentially Canadian concept come to life.
Ann-Renée Desbiens, Canada
Sylvie Marsolais, Sylabrush
Speaking of quintessential Canada, Ann-Renée Desbiens commissioned an equally as beautiful tribute to her home country by artist Sylvie Marsolais. “Ann wanted to represent her country with some monuments,” the artist shared with InGoal Magazine. “She’s from La Malbaie (QC), so she chose to incorporate the Château Frontenac––a great Quebec monument.”
• More: HbD Interviews: Sylvie Marsolais
The mask not only showcases landmarks of Desbiens’ home province, but iconic scenes from across the entire country. In addition to the Château Frontenac on the right, Marsolais included illustrations of the Calgary Tower on the left and Ottawa Parliament building on the back plate.
Like with much of Marsolais’ work, the mixture of styles and visual hierarchy in this mask is what makes it so successful. The contrast between the bold red leaf on the front with the fine detail in the architecture and subtle Canadian map create for a dynamic and compelling design that will look great on the ice.
Meeri Räisänen, Finland
Titled “Finnish Swan,” the artist behind Teme Designs created a graceful mask design for Finland’s backup goaltender, Meeri Räisänen.
“Meeri did [the] design and I paint [sic] it on mask,” the artist shared of the design. “Swan on right side with flag in wing. Finland-text and some snowflakes. Flag on top and big lion on right side.”
Noora Raty, Finland
Also commissioning a mask from Teme Designs was starting Finnish netminder, Noora Raty. On her Instagram page, Raty shared images of the mask along with the caption “Less is More // There is beauty in simplicity,” which sums up this design pretty well.
Like for the Sochi games, Raty played a hand in the design of her mask for PyeongChang. “Noora did design in this mask and there’s [some] same elements that Sochi-mask,” shared the artist. “She want[ed] definitely that big blue cross [that] goes over mask so it goes also in cage.” The choice to extend the Finnish flag not just over the mask itself but onto the cage was a really unique but well executed design element. It takes this mask from being something pretty basic and traditional into the innovative, and it’s looked really sharp on the ice in South Korea.
Nana Fujimoto, Japan
In stark contrast to the bold black and red designs of the Canadian women, former New York Riveter Nana Fujimoto opted for more delicate imagery on her Olympic mask. Also paying homage to her home country, Fujimoto’s mask includes a number of nods to Japanese art and culture like the illustration of Mt. Fuji on the left and cherry blossoms across the right.
— 藤本那菜 / Nana Fujimoto (@NanaFujimoto33) November 8, 2017
According to The Ice Garden, Fujimoto kept things in the family and had her father paint her floral mask for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, so Mr. Fujimoto could perhaps be the artistic hand behind this mask as well.
Florence Schelling, Switzerland
Alec Voggel, Airxess
Back for her fourth Olympics, Swiss goaltender (and my fellow Northeastern alum––go Huskies!) Florence Schelling crowd sourced ideas for her PyeongChang mask. The goaltender and artist Alec Voggel incorporated as many fan ideas into her mask as possible, and the outcome is really stellar.
While we’ve seen many goaltenders wear toques *over* their masks, Voggel actually painted one right onto Schelling’s mask, and not just any toque, “the toque I was wearing on the picture I posted back in December when asking for ideas,” Schelling shared on her blog. “This was, besides the Swiss Cross and chocolate and all that, the most voted idea.”
While this design includes a lot of fan-suggested elements––a gondola, Matterhorn mountain and a Swiss train––Voggel ties them all together seamlessly using a consistent silhouetted treatment and minimal color palette. The back plate is where Schelling has a little fun, including a Swiss Cross filled with minimal illustrations of chocolate, a cowbell, a Swatch watch, and Swiss cheese. The design is also full of personal references, including 364 individually placed rhinestones, which Schelling explains on her blog, but the artist and goaltender together really did a nice job of crafting a beautiful and meaningful mask for the games.
Janine Alder, Switzerland
Alec Voggel, Airxess
Backing up Schelling is former St. Cloud State netminder, Janine Alder. Also commissioning Alec Voggel to paint her mask for the Olympics, Alder’s mask follows in a very similar style to her teammate’s.
“We just love ALL the Swiss pictograms for a National Team, instead of busy, brushy, ‘airbrushed’ mask designs,” described the artist on Instagram. “Simple, [bold] and clean was the mission.” Voggel’s mission was definitely accomplished with Alder’s mask, keeping things crisp with the silhouetted scenery on the side and white-on-white pearlescent pictograms filling in the negative space on top.
The design has a bold yet airy feeling and makes great use of the iconic Swiss style to give the whole team a consistent look and feel.
Andrea Brändli, Switzerland
Alec Voggel, Airxess
Rounding out the trio of Swiss netminders with Airxess masks is Andrea Brändli. The first thing to note with these three buckets is the incredible consistency Voggel achieved between all three goaltenders, while still being able to capture each lady’s individual style.
Brändli’s mask has more organic forms than her teammates’ with the gold leaf filigree and flowers on each side, but the Swiss cross and black and white mountains across the top really make this feel like part of a set. Voggel’s flawless execution of these three masks is quite admirable, and they’ve looked really stunning on the ice with the Swiss uniforms.
Alex Rigsby, USA
Fran Drummond, Paintzoo
The U.S. ladies pulled out all the stops when it came to crafting all-American masks for the Olympics this year. Painted by Fran Drummond, Wisconsin-native Alex Rigsby’s bucket takes us through major moments in the country’s history in the form of beautifully illustrated Polaroids. The left side of Rigsby’s mask is “taped” with two photos, the top showing the first moon landing with the famed V-Day kiss image underneath, or as one Twitter user put it, “WE WENT TO THE F*CKING MOON EAT IT OTHER NATIONS.”
‘WE WENT TO THE FUCKING MOON EAT IT OTHER NATIONS’ is a pretty baller goalie mask statement https://t.co/ne4XuFr6oc
— Earlobe Cowboy (@GreatBigSieve) February 6, 2018
The right side of the mask showcases Drummond’s artistic talents with a hyper-detailed eagle head, matching the style and coloring of the Polaroids on the left. The diamond pattern from USA’s jerseys that wraps around the chin and back plate, along with details like the postage stamp and glitter in the shield, tie this whole mask together.
Nicole Hensley, USA
Sylvie Marsolais, Sylabrush
Rigsby’s teammate, Nicole Hensley, is sporting an equally patriotic mask for the Olympics this year. Painted by Sylvie Marsolais, the striped bucket – matching Hensley’s striped pads – uses the USA shield and arguably the two most quintessential American images, the bald eagle and Statue of Liberty.
Marsolais based the design off of Hensley’s mask from the previous season but made a few changes for the goaltender’s first trip to the Olympics. “Last season we painted Nicole’s team USA mask and we matched her design to her pads,” the artist told InGoal Magazine. “Nicole wanted the lines thinner than her previous mask, and she also wanted the team logo on both sides of the mask.”
The gradient effect on the stripes is a unique take on such a traditional concept and came out looking really crisp. The mixture of textures between the matte paint and metallic foil shield set off nicely and come together for a great finished product.
Update: according to sources, the IOC has been in talks about whether to have Hensley, along with her teammates, remove Lady Liberty from their masks as a violation of Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter, banning any political imagery from the games. You may recall that former USA netminder Jessie Vetter had to modify the back plate of her mask during the Sochi games to remove the lettering of the U.S. Constitution, as did Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick who were in violation for self promotion and political propaganda, respectively.
Swiss artist Alec Voggel commented on the matter via social media, sharing “since Vancouver 2010, we are working close with the SIFH, the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation. We always let [sic] approve our designs by them, and they ask the IOC.”
During Tuesday’s game versus the OAR, Hensley was still sporting her mask in its original form, and the IOC provided an update via Twitter that the goaltenders will be permitted to keep the Statue on their masks.
On the Team USA hockey helmet ‘story’ – there seems to have been a misunderstanding, we have not asked for the symbol to be removed
— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) February 13, 2018
Maddie Rooney, USA
Todd Miska, Miska Designs
Rounding out the trio of U.S. goaltenders is Minnesota Duluth netminder, Maddie Rooney. Her mask for the Olympics, painted by fellow Minnesotan Todd Miska, uses many of the same all-American elements as her teammates.
The USA shield trimmed in silver foil is the focal point of the right side of the mask, opposite an eagle on the left (not surprising, given that Miska was the man behind Ed Belfour’s iconic eagle masks). Like Drummond on Rigsby’s mask, Miska also ties in the diamond pattern from the U.S. jerseys around the chin behind Rooney’s number 35. The back plate includes a nod to Rooney’s home state, allowing the goaltender to bring a little piece of Minnesota with her to South Korea.
Between the typography around the top and the airbrushed style of the eagle, this mask has more of a 90’s aesthetic than what we’ve seen from other goaltenders recently, but Miska does a nice job of creating a patriotic piece for Rooney’s first Olympic appearance.