Hockey goalies are required to wear a full mask on their heads. Many see this is as a simple requirement, while some see it as a blank canvas and an opportunity to get creative, emotional, pay respect or, in some cases, show humor.
Here are 50 purely amazing goalie masks from the wonderful history of the NHL. Enjoy.
Nikolai Khabibulin got extra creative and gave himself a nickname "The Bulin Wall." Love the creativity.
The Mask is simply amazing...if you're a Philadelphia sports Phanatic. Bryz dedicated his mask to the city for the 2012 Winter Classic and hand-painted were tributes to Philadelphia's best:
Dr. J - Philadelphia 76ers
Bobby Clarke - Philadelphia Flyers
Reggie White - Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Jack Schmidt - Philadelphia Phillies
As many hockey fans got to see in HBO's 24/7: Road to the NHL Winter Classic, Bryz has a unique personality. However, this awesome mask was from his glorious days in the Anaheim sun—where he posted unreal numbers taking over for then starter JS Giguere during their Stanley Cup run in 2007.
Big shoutout to Daffy Duck, the best Disney character of all time.
I love it when it's "Miller Time"—as do the diehards in Buffalo.
Bouchard had an impressive 17-year career, but that Atlanta Flames mask was just ridiculous.
I have no idea where Cloutier was going with this one seeing as how there is no logical correlation between "City of Angels" and that naked demon, almost alien-like figure near his forehead.
Check out Cloutier in some historic goalie fights.
Sabourin pays homage to his child in this extremely unique mask, while also paying homage to his childlike franchise mascot, the Penguins.
Ricky Di gets extra patriotic on this mask. Always love to see the stars and stripes represented in the NHL.
You can't help but love the confidence when your goalie thinks he's an actual brick wall. After that recent 11-game win streak, Fleury has every right to paint it on his mask.
The Golden Seals were one of the original expansion teams in 1967, along with the Kings, Blues, Flyers, Penguins and North Stars. Though the Seals only lasted until 1976, there was just enough time for my main man Gary Simmons to make this ridiculous dragon mask.
It literally couldn't have less to do with hockey or Oakland, Calif., but it sure is awesome.
For some reason, Halak decided to honor the great Patrick Roy next to this evil demon. I for one think people from Montreal are fantastic, and the furthest thing from demons.
But what do I know? I'm from California.
Cheesy Cheevers played for 20 seasons in his Hall of Fame career and boasted this iconic mask throughout. Legend has it that he got the idea after taking a puck to the face during a practice.
Meloche rocked the "Black Knight" during his tenure in Cleveland—pretty clever all the way from 1976.
Halak has proven to be one of best the league has to offer this year, but his mask for the Slovakian Olympic Squad was just awesome.
Pictured on the left side of the mask is Vladimir Dzurilla, widely recognized as the greatest Slovakian goalie of all time.
This is the most honorable piece on the list.
On September 7, 2011 the KHL Club Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's team plane crashed, killing all 45 team members and flight crew on board.
One of the most notable members that passed from the plane crash was former NHL winger Pavol Demitra, who Jaroslav Halak has honored with this back plate of his goalie mask.
Rest in peace.
This year's likely Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist pays extra homage to the former Rangers' alternate uniform design highlighted by the Statue of Liberty. I dig the lightning bolts, too.
This helmet is one of a kind because of the style, but the Hockeytown tribute is pretty sweet.
Plus, "The Dominator" was a beast for the Wings despite being drafted 199th overall.
Huet was the first Frenchman to win the Stanley Cup and probably the first goalie to have a red-headed goalie on his mask as well.
Nice work, Cristobal...
Hedberg pays respect to his AHL team mascot and my absolute favorite animal, the Moose. He journeyed from Sweden to Manitoba and eventually landed in the NHL with the Devils, Pens, Canucks, Stars and, of course, the Atlanta Thrashers.
Never forget where you came from.
Grahame etched on the usual jersey number and team mascot on his mask, but the checkered flag and bikini babe sure make this one of the more unique masks in league history.
Hiller decided to go with the blank gunmetal and gold mask—definitely one of a kind. He has only played in the NHL for four seasons, but posts an impressive 2.55 goals against average during the four-year stretch.
Jason Ba-Cash Money unveiled his dark side with this mask. Nothing screams family fun ice hockey like a Freddy vs. Jason image.
If the NHL decides to follow the NBA and market the league in China, I suggest they use this image with the red dragons as bait.
I am very curious to find out if Theodore truly has demons like this mask displays...
By far the coolest mask ever worn in California hockey history.
The old hockey saying, "A team is only as good as its goalie," is one the Boston Bruins franchise would like to have back, seeing as how they traded the 14th overall pick to Montreal for three prospects who never made it to the NHL.
Legace dedicated this mask to all of American Armed Forces while incorporating his jersey number and the iconic St. Louis Blues music note logo.
Denis' mask looks like Family Guy's depiction of God found in numerous episodes. The bolt and Greek mythological figure are fitting for Tampa Bay's mascot.
Marty B created a nice tribute to Philly, complete with the Ben Franklin Bridge and the completion of Rocky's exercise route to the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum
In his second mask, Biron paid tribute to the hard-working, blue-collar people of Philadelphia with this lumberjack piece.
It's just too bad Philly is a very miserable market for goalies.
Not much to pay tribute to in Phoenix just yet, so here Tellqvist pays homage to Winnipeg Jets legend Bobby Hull.
Perhaps Mike is related to Will Smith, or maybe his favorite movie is Wild Wild West. Either way, this mask is awesome.
Bannerman made his mask in true Blackhawk form, complete with feathers on the side.
If you'd like to rock this in your beer league hockey, it's only $500.
Evgeni Nabokov certainly had some demons similar to the ones on his mask here because he first was a bit hesitant to show up to camp with the New York Islanders this season.
Niittymaki came up with a very clever mobster mask during his short stay in Philadelphia.
This mask is unreal. Olaf Kolzilla had a nice stay with Washington and that shiny bronze facemask was worn so well.
This pure awesomeness of a goalie mask certainly makes up for the lack of success Leclaire had in Columbus.
Price ordered this custom mask solely for the Heritage Classic so he could pay homage to the Habs legend Jacques Plante.
Ray Emery was a longtime boxer. Watch him test out the skill set knocking out Martin Biron
Andrew Raycroft tried his best to warm up to Leafs Nation with an exceptional art piece in his goalie mask. On it, he has tribute to numerous Maple Leaf Legends, along with the Air Canada Centre smack in the middle.
This is Thomas' mask from the earlier days, aka pre-Game 7 brick wall Tim Thomas. Back in these days he was just another goalie in Bear Country.
Dubie is yet another netminder to use his mask to pay homage to franchise legends, but the best part is the Gordon Fish Sticks mascot getting his swell on—not to mention the Yoda on the back plate.
The late Wayne Stephenson simply took the Flyers logo and wore it on his eyes. He had tremendous pride in Philadelphia. When they needed him to fill Bernie Parent's skates during the 1975 season, he posted a 40-win season with a 2.58 GAA.
If Uncle Sam and Jose Canseco had a baby, this is what it would look like. America was built on power and strength, so a fierce bald eagle and yoked Uncle Sam fit well for the young and powerful American Olympic hockey club.
This is J-Quick's current mask for the L.A. Kings—a tribute to longtime Kings goalie Rogatien Vachon, holder of eight franchise records.
Yet another creepy mask from Canucks goaltender Gary "Bones" Bromley. Legend has it that the nickname "Bones" is what drove Bromley to create this skull masterpiece.
Valiquette must really love the Spiderman comics and living in New York, because this piece is just ridiculous. Valiquette didn't have success similar to current Ranger goalie Henrik Lunqvist, and in fact now runs a goalie school for hockey's youth, but his Spiderman mask will live long in Ranger history.
A's netminder Budaj took The Simpsons character Ned Flanders, who is normally slim, and beefed him up a bit—perhaps from swinging that Slovakian flag so proudly.
Former Alaskan governor and controversial politician Sarah Palin campaigned on being America's "Hockey Mom." This mask pays tribute to that.
If she were the current vice president, it would be interesting to see how much she would have incorporated the growth of hockey into the nation's youth.