The Five Coolest Goaltender Masks During the 2011-2012 Season
For some goaltenders, masks are just part of the uniform. But for others, it's a symbol. Some masks are simple, some complex and some you'd need background information on in order to understand the true meaning. So sit back, relax and take a look at a few of some very cool masks worn by goaltenders during the 2011-2012 NHL season.
Josh Harding: Minnesota Wild
Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild uses his face mask to remember those important people in his life that have passed away.
On the back of Harding's helmet, he has the numbers and names of former players Derek Boogaard, Pavol Demitra and Rick Rypien. All three players passed away in the summer of 2011 and Harding commemorates them each game when he steps out onto the ice in his face mask.
Harding played with Rypien on the WHL Regina Pats and he spent some time playing with Boogaard and Demitra during his stint as the Wild's backup goalie.
The 28-year-old Harding also added Rosemarie on the back of his helmet in memory of his grandmother. It's a face mask, but it comes along with a beautiful remembrance for those people close to him that he lost.
Al Montoya: New York Islanders
Al Montoya hasn't seen much success as an Islanders goalie. So if you can't impress them in games, you might as well have a keen fashion sense, right? Montoya has one of the nicest helmets in the league.
Montoya's personality shines through his face mask, which has a "nautical" theme. On the left side, the helmet has an angry painting of a fisherman that resembles the short-lived New York Islanders logo that was used between 1995-1996.
On the back of the helmet, Montoya has a picture of the moon smoking a cigar, which might be from his Cuban background. Montoya is the first Cuban-American to have played in the NHL. Montoya definitely had one of the most impressive face masks during the 2011-2012 season.
Johan Hedberg: New Jersey Devils
Hedberg might be a backup goalie for the New Jersey Devils, but he's wearing a mask that's fit for a starter. The goaltender who is nicknamed "Moose" had a moose plastered on one side of his mask with "Devils" written on the bottom and a huge Devils symbol on the right side.
If anyone has team pride, it's Johan Hedberg.
The helmet is beautifully done and was one of the stand-out face masks this season.
Rick DiPietro: New York Islanders
Rick DiPietro signed a 15-year, $67.5 million contract with the New York Islanders in 2006. He's only played in 47 games in the past four years. So I guess he's had plenty of time to go out and design a beautiful face mask.
Despite not playing much due to consistent injuries, DiPietro has one of the nicest face masks in the league. His mask is consumed with stars and stripes. It's a true representation of American pride.
DiPietro may not have had much success in the NHL during recent years, but his helmet has been a big hit.
Ryan Miller: Buffalo Sabres
Ryan Miller has by far one of the nicest face masks in the league. The yellow, orange, blue and white colors are painted beautifully and "Buffalo" written across the bottom gives it a nice touch.
Miller also made news back in 2010 during the Summer Olympics when another face mask he had worn was banned because it said "Miller Time" on a portion of the mask and it was deemed unacceptable since it could be seen as a beer endorsement.
Wherever Miller seems to go, his face mask seems to be making news. It goes to show that some players don't take their helmets seriously at all, while others consider it a fashion statement and aim for the best.