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With the reveal of both Anaheim Ducks goaltenders, John Gibson and Ryan Miller‘s, new masks for the upcoming season, I felt inspired to share my thoughts about them and the process of painting goalie masks as a whole. I am Pucks of A Feather’s resident goalie after all!

For starters, I am absolutely in love with both designs. However, for the sake of not jumping all over the place, let’s start with Miller, seeing as he stuck with his design from last season for the most part.“Miller Time ” – Ryan Miller

Miller’s normal design with the Wild Wing mask was solid as is. The second one he had made was created by the talented artists at Bishop Designs to match the new alternates, and it’s is simply amazing. It’s the perfect combination of retro vibes, with the alternate color scheme, and the sleek design of Wild Wing’s mask.

Along with Wild Wing’s mask, Miller’s backplate stayed the same. It features the silhouettes of his wife, Noureen and their son Bodhi. They’re standing along the beach under some palms with a flock of ducks flying in a ‘V’ pattern off in the distance. This is all above his staple, “Miller Time”.

Miller has a history of really great masks crafted by Bishop Designs, dating back to his days with Sabres. So, it’s no surprise that they came through again for another great mask. I think it is a great indicator that his mask is already catching people’s attention and really standing out.

This also means that he has an alternate set of pads in the works that will most likely follow suit. I’m a sucker for gear that flows well color wise and, given what Miller has used with us so far, I think we’re in for a real treat!

“The Mighty Ducks 25 Years” – John Gibson

Gibson’s mask design came out of left field today over on the NHL’s official accounts. It’s a fairly simple design on paper. It utilizes the various Ducks logos from this season, including the Mighty Duck logo on the forehead.

Gibby is a client of the extremely talented artist, Dave Gunnarsson, an artist based in Sweden. His clientele includes goalies like Henrik Lundqvist, Pekka Rinne, Andrei Vasilevski and Braden Holtby, just to name a few. Dave has been a key member of the goalie community for years, creating new and innovative ways for his pro clients to have their masks painted. He utilizes everything from 3D Graphics, holograms, and even water activated paint, as seen on Vasilevski’s recent masks.Back to Gibby’s mask! It features the 25th Anniversary logo on both cheeks with bolts of lightning and lens flares all along the numbers. For the rest of the mask, they went with this odd sketch design that almost makes the numbers on the chin and the Mighty Ducks logo up top look like they’re made of burlap.

I’m not a huge fan of the look, but I’m fairly sure it’ll stand out and look great on the ice regardless. Overall, I like the mask. Dave always comes up with great designs for his goalies and this is another one he knocked out of the park! I have a hunch that just like Miller, we’ll most likely see an alternate mask for Gibby this year. It just seems likely with a new set of jerseys the team gets to wear.

What It Means To Us

That’s pretty much all I wanted to say about the two new masks, but I want to talk a little bit about the process as a whole and what it means to us goalies. It started back in the days when goalies started making the switch to wearing masks to protect themselves from taking shots to the face. Gerry Cheevers was the first goalie to add art to his mask, marking it with a line anytime he was struck by a stick and or puck, and thus the tradition began.I’m currently in the process of designing one for myself. I really can’t describe what I want and plan on getting because frankly, I have too many ideas floating around my mind. The main thing I keep trying to remind myself is the fact that it should represent me as an individual because that’s what we are. Goalies are all different. We all may use the same style, buy the same gear, look up to the same guys, but at the end of the day, we’re all unique.Originally, I wanted to base my mask around a prior design Al Montoya used in Winnipeg. However, I’m slowly moving away from it because doesn’t feel right. It feels lazy in my opinion. For those that follow me on Twitter, you’re gonna be surprised. I was so crazy about this design and have been talking about it for months now. It feels like a cop-out to say that I had a cool mask made when I put no effort into it. That’s just me though.

To me, it’s more than just art. It’s a special privilege that a goalie gets. I’m not, nor will I ever be a pro with a very disposable income, so I can’t justify buying new masks ever so often and getting masks painted willy-nilly. It’s truly something I’m really trying to make as perfect as I can on the first go around.All in all, its a really fun and exciting process that takes a lot of work, but is totally worth it once the final product is sitting in front of you. Hope you enjoyed this spur of the moment article!