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Napa, CA • United States • 26 Years Old • Male
The NHL is celebrating Jacques Plante becoming the first goaltender to wear a mask, but as usual the league has screwed everything up.

It is true that Plante popularized the mask, first wearing it 50 years ago Sunday, but the NHL actually began in 1917. This date is important because on February 20, 1930 Clint Benedict returned from a broken nose wearing the first mask.

Benedict's mask didn't provide much protection. Five games after his return he got hit in the face and had to leave the game because of blood coming from his nose. It was almost 20 years before another goalie (Plante) would follow Benedict's example, but it is unfair to Benedict, the first goalie inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, to pretend he never wore a mask no matter how short-lived the experiment may have been.
October 30, 2009 4:54 PM ET | Delete
Plante was the first one to wear a mask full time. Benedict wore one for protection while his face healed. Its not unlike when skaters wear a modified full shield if they have a jaw injury... they ditch it as soon as possible.
October 30, 2009 7:15 PM ET | Delete
I agree, but Benedict was still the first. He wore it for the same reason that Plante began to wear it. We don't really know if he would've continued wearing it because that fifth game was his last professional game.
October 30, 2009 9:46 PM ET | Delete
Fair enough. The fact remains that Plante was the first goaltender to wear a mask with regularity. Benedict was the first for the mask period, but it was Plante who even after his injury began experimenting and developing the longer term mask to wear.
October 31, 2009 3:52 AM ET | Delete
And it was Gary Cheevers who made it a fashion statement. I love that mask! Simple design, but symbolic of all the stitches he would've had without it. Who knew goalies could think?
October 31, 2009 5:32 PM ET | Delete
yeah Cheevers was awesome... except for in the Summit Series... but hey, the mask still ruled!
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