HbD Masks: 2020 Winter Classic Masks
The holidays are behind us, and everyone’s eyes are now set on New Year’s, when the Blackha– wait, what’s that? Chicago’s really not playing in an outdoor game this year? Well then…
On New Year’s Day, the Nashville Predators and Dallas Stars get to play outdoors at Cotton Bowl stadium, bringing the Winter Classic down south for the first time. Using a retro western flair for this year’s event aesthetic, Adidas and the NHL pulled inspiration from Texas and Tennessee hockey history to build a classic look for the uniforms of two of the league’s newer franchises.
While we’ve already seen the uniforms (see link above), the Stars and Preds’ goaltenders are starting to break in their new gear for the Winter Classic, including some new masks. Let’s start with the Dallas ‘tenders and take a closer look.
Ben Bishop, Dallas Stars
Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart
A far cry from Bishop’s days of glowing 3D masks, his Daveart bucket for the Winter Classic is stripped back to the basics (well, almost). “Ben knew what he wanted,” the artist shared on social media. “He wanted it to be a tribute to the city and the event.” Pulling inspiration from the team’s sweaters for the outdoor game, Gunnarsson used the primary crest as the main design element, painted on top with sketch pen stitch marks that mimic the faux-beveling on the jerseys.
On each side of the mask, Gunnarsson used the felted Texas sleeve patch as a frame for scenic depictions of the Cotton Bowl and Dallas State Fair. On the chin, the artist included a belt buckle, not dissimilar to the event logo, to finish out the western aesthetic.
Despite the matte finish and rustic design elements, no Daveart mask would be complete without some special effects like ghosted logos and light flares filling the negative space, but this design does a nice job of bridging Gunnarsson’s style with the ranch vibe of the event’s branding.
Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars
Sylvie Marsolais, Sylabrush
Bishop’s teammate Anton Khudobin also took a retro approach to his Winter Classic mask, working with artists Sylvie Marsolais and Alex Mathys of Sylabrush to come up with the design.
“Anton wanted to do a tribute to the Stars heritage,” Sylvie told us of working with the goaltender. “He wanted to have [Andy] Moog & [Ed] Belfour walking through the ice of the Cotton Bowl.” Marsolais is one of the best realism painters in the industry, and her talent shows in the execution of the two black and gray portraits on each side of the mask.
• More: HbD Interviews: Sylvie Marsolais
Whereas Bishop’s mask is executed in a more rustic, retro style, Dobby’s pays homage to the past but with a clean, contemporary look. “Alex came out with the main design,” Marsolais shared. “We wanted to do a classic vintage look similar to the jersey,” mentioning the adaptation of the Dallas crest to cleverly spell out the goaltender’s nickname, “Dobby.”
The space around the portraits is balanced with a bold white stripe down the center framed by white five-point stars, and a background completed with snowy details and “Cotton Bowl Winter Classic” stadium signage. While there might not be any actual snow in Texas this New Year’s Day, the artistic liberties are appropriate for this special event.
Juuse Saros, Nashville Predators
Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart
Unlike his counterparts in Dallas, Saros opted for a much more contemporary style for his Winter Classic mask. “I was totally amazed when my friend Juuse Saros told me his awesome ideas for his Winter Classic mask,” artist Dave Gunnarsson shared on social media. “He wanted to pay tribute to two legendary Finnish players from the Predators franchise.”
Juuse Saros had a special tribute mask made on the new episode of Road to the NHL #WinterClassic and it’s beautiful. 😍— NHL (@NHL) December 28, 2019
Dec. 28 at 6 ET on @Sportsnet
Dec. 29 at 10a on NHL Facebook, YouTube & IGTV pic.twitter.com/yCu7lXnMsB
Saros’ mask features portraits of Kimmo Timonen and Saros’ current teammate Pekka Rinna on opposite sides, centered by a large sticker-like application of the Preds’ Winter Classic logo on top. The blue stripes are filled with small holographic “NP” logos, tying the design back into the Preds’ primary branding.
While this isn’t the kind of aesthetic we’ve typically seen worn in the Winter Classic, it is quintessential Daveart.
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
Dave Gunnarsson, Daveart
Now to the man pictured on his teammate’s mask, Pekka Rinna also has a new Daveart bucket for the game on New Year’s Day. While still packed with some of Gunnarsson’s signature bells and whistles, Rinne’s mask has more of the classic, varsity style we typically see at Winter Classics.
• More: HbD Interviews: Dave Gunnarsson
With the cat heads on each side and a bold stripe down the middle, the composition here is far simpler than most of Gunnarsson’s work. The chrome detailing in the yellow and splatters under the cage add some visual interest and dimension to the otherwise bold and graphic design.
Even with tricks like the light flares and ghosted logo treatments, I like this design far better than Saros’ for an outdoor game, as it still channels the retro style of the game. Like Bishop’s, it’s able to merge the old with the new and will look sharp paired with with Rinne’s retro pads.