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Elizabeth Graham:Trailblazer for NHL Goaltenders

Daniel ArouchianSenior Analyst IAugust 18, 2010

On November 1,1959 Jacques Plante  from the Montreal Canadiens  changed the face of  hockey when he donned a protective  mask  for the first time in a league game.

Was he a trailblazer? Not really. On January 7, 1930, Montreal Canadien great Howie Morenz ‘s shot went off Clint Benedict’s nose and cheekbone, who was in nets  for cross-town rival Montreal Maroons. This shot would cause Benedict to wear a mask based on either a football face guard or one worn by that of sparring boxers. Benedict found that the  nose piece impaired his vision, so after two games, he gave it up. The mask was made out of leather and wire.

Was he a trailblazer? Unfortunately the answer is no!  February  7, 1927 at Harty Arena in Kingston, ON  while playing for the Queen’s University  Elizabeth Graham  was the first goaltender to wear a mask during an organized game.

The mask she wore was a fencing mask. Apparently her father had request her to wear the mask because he didn’t  want to see her teeth get damaged after undergoing extensive dental surgery.

It was reported in the Montreal  Daily Star that Graham “gave the fans a surprise when she stepped into the nets and then donned a fencing mask.”

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