It's no accident that most of those descriptions sound like something out of a horror movie -- Jason wears a goalie mask, after all. Were hockey goalies trying to create an intimidation factor? "Not in the beginning," says Simone. "But I think they started to realize that the mask could distract the shooter. One goalie, I forget who, said, 'When I have a player bearing down on me, I want him to look at my mask instead of the spot he's shooting at.' I think that's when they started designing the eyes and mouth to look more menacing."
The best mask ever, of course, was the one worn by Boston's Gerry Cheevers, whose trainer came up with the idea of inking stitch marks onto the mask each time it was hit by a puck or stick, simulating what Cheevers' face might have looked like in the pre-mask era. "Eventually I think he stopped putting them in the exact spots he'd been hit," says Simone. "It was more like, 'Well, some stitches would look good here, and there's an empty spot here ...'"
Here's Simone's take on some other notable masks from the fiberglass era:
By the time Micalef's NHL career ended in 1986, most goalies had switched to the birdcage mask -- essentially a standard hockey helmet with facebars on the front -- which provided much better eye protection. Although the birdcage didn't become popular in the NHL until the early 1980s, Russian goalie Vladislav Tretiak had worn one in the 1972 Summit Series, which in retrospect was the beginning of the end for the old-style fiberglass mask. A few goalies still wear the birdcage, but most now prefer the mask/cage combo, which is more like a fiberglass mask with the face cut out and replaced by bars. This style has also inspired a new generation of baseball catcher's masks (a story told in greater detail here).