The first masked man between the pipes was actually a woman who played for Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada in 1927.
Her name was Elizabeth Graham and she wore a fencing mask when she took to the ice reportedly because her father had invested a lot of money to give her a nice set of teeth and wasn’t about to let them be knocked out during a hockey game.
Clint Benedict, a goalie for the Montreal Maroons in 1930, after suffering damage to his face in a game against the Boston Bruins, wore bulky protective head gear so his broken nose had time to heal
In 1936 during the Olympics Japanese goal tender Teiji Honma wore a wire mask like a baseball catcher.
Other goalies in various leagues around the world had experimented with different types of gear to save face, literally.
The most infamous and true innovator of the goalie mask known to the world, as he fashioned it out of fibreglass, was Jacques Plante. He donned his creation for the first time on Nov. 1, 1959, after being cut and refusing to play if he could not wear his mask.
Goalies everywhere are grateful for this innovation, and now not only is the mask protective gear but a work of art.
These are my top ten Toronto Maple Leafs goalie masks and a little about the men behind them. Enjoy!