HbD Masks: 2019 Winter Classic Masks
Taking the ice at historic Notre Dame stadium on New Year’s Day, the Bruins and Blackhawks will face off and honor their heritage from the early 1900s. Paying homage to the teams’ first Stanley Cup victories in 1929 and 1934 respectively, the uniforms were designed to bring the classic styles from the league’s origins into the 21st century.
Building on the historic aesthetics of the 2019 outdoor classic are the masks the Boston and Chicago goaltenders will be wearing for the game. How did their respective artists translate the style of the NHL’s beginnings onto a modern piece of equipment? Check out the masks below, and let us know what you think.
Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks
Stephane Bergeron, Griff Airbrush
The first Winter Classic mask unveiled this year was Corey Crawford’s slick Griff Airbrush bucket. Inspired by the team’s jerseys for the event, artist Stephane Bergeron went retro and simple with a stealthy black and white design and matte finish.
“For this mask I had white card regarding design,” Bergeron told us of the process. After sketching two options for Crawford and the goaltender opting for an all black look, the concept came together from there. “Once I saw the jersey they will wear for that game, it was crystal clear for me that I would work with same design.”
• More: HbD Masks #2: Corey Crawford
Mimicking the stripe pattern from the bottom of the sweaters around the front of the mask, Bergeron let the reworked Blackhawk crest be the main design element by keeping the rest of the mask so simple. Particularly with the black cage and matte finish, this no-frills approach lends itself really well to the traditional aesthetics of this Winter Classic in particular.
Unfortunately with Crawford’s recent concussion, it’s unlikely we’ll actually see this mask on the ice New Year’s Day, but Bergeron did a great job executing yet another Winter Classic standout for his client.
Cam Ward, Chicago Blackhawks
Steve Nash, Eyecandyair
Crawford’s teammate took a similarly monochromatic approach with his Winter Classic mask, also keeping with a traditional look, but incorporating a few extra elements. Painted by Steve Nash, the black and white bucket features icicle-coated Blackhawks and Winter Classic logos on top, framed by jersey-inspired striping and portraits of Blackhawks legend Charlie Gardiner on each side, the goaltender who won the Hawks their 1934 Stanley Cup.
Even with such a simple and clean design, the small details in this mask are really what make it stand out. The logos on top are applied using a traditional paint brush style to give it a hand-drawn look, and the small icicles dripping down are a nice nod to the outdoor venue. The negative space on each side is filled with small snowflakes and Chicago’s alternate logo, both adding some extra visual interest and depth. The back plate includes a tie in to the game’s venue at Notre Dame stadium, with a frosty Fighting Irish logo and “Wardo” stenciled in the banner.
Overall, this design is a great mix of old and new with some thoughtful tributes to the Blackhawks and Notre Dame history. Monday afternoon, Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton announced Ward as the Winter Classic starter over backup Collin Delia (who has some stellar Winter Classic gear of his own), so we’ll be looking forward to seeing this mask take the ice Tuesday in South Bend.
Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins
Jesse Acciacca, Jesse’s Custom Designs
Following in the footsteps of Rask’s prior Winter Classic buckets, his mask for the 2019 game pulls inspiration from the venue’s history and mascot, prominently featuring the Notre Dame fighting Irishman proudly sporting a Bruins jersey and toque.
The design was thought up by Bruins’ assistant equipment manager Matt Falconer and painted by local Massachusetts artist Jesse Acciacca, but Rask wasn’t initially sold on getting a new mask for the Classic. “(Falconer) really wanted to make it and I was like ‘whatever,’” Rask told WEEI of his indifference towards donning something special for the outdoor game. “To me, it doesn’t really represent your personality or anything, it’s just… I kind of like and I think that once you have it, it’s cool to keep it because then you’re kind of known for that.”
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Despite the hesitation to stray from his now signature look, the design Falconer and Acciacca crafted is really stellar. Incorporating the varsity-style B logo and landmarks from around Notre Dame’s campus, the whole composition is really pulled together by the use of metallic gold and the hazy snowflake motif throughout.
My only gripe with this mask is that the logo and striping around the bottom were done in black, while the uniforms and branding for the game were done in the team’s original gold and brown, but inconsistencies in the color aside, this mask is a great homage to the historic venue.