By 1970, there were goalie masks of all types, but the one thing they had in common was their color, or lack thereof. Most masks were painted white, and nothing else. That is, until Boston's Gerry Cheevers unknowingly began the trend of decorating/personalizing the mask with just a few strokes of a black marker. What soon followed were different colored paints and graphics, which transformed masks from plain pieces of protective equipment to colorful works of art. Here we rank the top 10 masks of the first expansion era (1967-82), beginning with Ken Dryden's. In 1976, Dryden debuted a new mask with a red circle in the shape of the Canadiens' logo inside a larger blue one. On a white background, the circles provided a target effect, inviting shooters to aim for the bull's-eye.
2 of 10Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images
The way the Flyers' logo has been placed over each eye creates the look of a mask within the mask. This is one of many masks designed by Toronto artist and former college goalie Greg Harrison, who has perhaps had the most influence on the goalie masks of today.
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Ranger fans remember this JD mask with fondness, using three slightly curvy bold red-white-and-blue stripes, along with the team's logo. It was another clean, uncluttered, distinctive design by Greg Harrison.
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This fiery design speaks for itself, but the irony of this mask is that it was made by an Ottawa firefighter and former goaltender, Jim Homuth.
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This kabuki-style mask surrounded by a three dimensional Hawk's logo must have spooked some opponents, particularly with its emphasis on the eyes.
6 of 10Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
Simmons went by the nickname "Cobra," owing to his quick reflexes. In appreciation, he had a coiled green snake rising up on a black mask.
7 of 10Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
Meloche's "heraldry" mask was designed by Harrison, who created his own Cleveland crest for Meloche after the California Golden Seals moved to Ohio to become the Barons in 1976.
8 of 10Bruce Bennett Studios/Getty Images
This impressive and scary skull was fitting because Bromley was known throughout the NHL as "Bones" for his slender build -- 5-10, 160 pounds. His nickname was spelled out with small bones on the back plate of the mask.
9 of 10Tony Triolo/SI
Arguably the single most recognizable mask of all time, the story goes Bruins trainer John "Frosty" Forristall drew a huge black stitch mark, at Cheevers' request, where the puck had struck his mask during a practice, leaving his teammates in stitches. However, Cheevers had tried the stitches gag at least once before in the late '60s. Regardless, it was a hit with his teammates, fans and the media, and Cheevers continued to add stitches to his mask every time a puck struck it.
10 of 10Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images
A revolutionary design by Harrison, this snarling lion was created for Gratton, a Leo and firm believer in astrology who one night informed his coach he could not play because the stars were not properly aligned. Gratton had hoped the mask would frighten, or at least distract opposing shooters. This was not the case, as it was the mask that would become his legacy and not his abilities between the pipes. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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