Intimidating goalie masks

Even the goaltenders who then adopted the new form of protective gear didn’t think much about the appearance of them until the 1970’s when Gerry Cheevers began putting markings on his mask every time he was hit in the face, either with a puck or a skater’s stick.

That all changed in 1974 when art student and former goalie Greg Harrison crafted a for Penguins goalie Jim Rutherford, commonly viewed as the first instance of personal art on a mask and thus spawning a new artform.

Talk about tough love, and especially for a goalie who was on his way to winning his fifth straight Vezina Trophy as the best in the league. Plante came back out on to the ice stitched up, but with a mask covering his face.

He had found his excuse to wear a mask during a game, and never looked back.

As the years went on, alterations were made to the mask to help it not only fit better, but better protect the goaltender’s face.

Years progressed and soon every goalie wore a mask, but many wanted to make alterations to help differentiate themselves from their counter parts.

But KK The Mook solves the kitten mystery via this info graphic created for he wore with the Russian junior national team: Just so we're all clear here: He named the kitten on his mask, and believes it has feelings.

Nah, goalies aren't a different breed at all, why do you ask? Assuming he's still rocking the feline on his mask, we wish Vasiliy Koshechkin the best of luck in the 2010-11 KHL season ...

Back in those days, many goaltenders wore this fiberglass type mask while other wore “cages.” Fiberglass masks were made custom to each goaltenders face by making a mold for the face and then fabricating the mask from that mold.

While we believe the KHL would be much cooler if all of its goaltenders wore Alexandre Dumas-inspired iron masks, the Russian league doesn't suffer from a lack of artistic achievements on its goalies' noggins.

Hot Ice, a Russian hockey site, featured the Top 20 goalie masks in the KHL, and some of them are simply awesome: No. A sweet, loveable kitten on the side of Vasiliy Koshechkin's mask.

That all changed on November 1, 1959 when a goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens, by the name of Jacques Plante, became the first at his position to wear a mask – though many are unaware that Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons actually wore one 19 years earlier, but for just two games.

It was Plante that other players soon imitated, which could be why he was the “first”.