Flyers Goalie Masks: the best and worst

Although the Flyers 2011 playoff run is still in its infancy, there isn’t a shortage of story lines.  You’ve got Danny Briere going up against his former team; you’ve got JVR playing in beast-mode; you’ve got Boosh taking over for Bob; and you’ve got Prongs day-to-day with a broken (maybe twice) hand.  Then there’s the goalie mask.  Yep, the goalie mask.

Both Flyers goaltenders have had mask issues.  Sergei Bobrovsky thought he’d try on a new mask for size before entering the playoffs.  He changed his paint scheme and went with Rocky IV on one side and Sideline, I mean, Sideshow Bob on the other.  The move hasn’t really worked out for him as he was pulled in Game Two and was a healthy scratch in Game Three.  And then last night, the goalie mask proved important as well.  During a frenetic 5 on 3 PK with the puck in our zone, Boosh knocked his mask off his head to stop play because it “became loose.”  I’m not sure the Buffalo faithful believe him.

I’ve always been a fan of the goalie mask.  In most sports, you are fined for the most trivial deviation from the team uniform.  The paint scheme on a goalie mask is that rule’s biggest exception, making it the best outlet in sports for a player to show off some personal flair.  With the goalie mask being a story in the playoffs so far, and this being a sports history site we thought we’d take a look at goalie masks throughout Flyers history.  (Note: I’m still waiting for a Flyers goalie to use a Clockwork Orange styled design around one eye-hole. Please, please, please.)  Without further adieu, let’s take a look at some of the memorable masks donned by Flyer goaltenders over the years:

The Good

#10: Kicking off the top ten is Pete Peeters going blackface long before Ted Danson.


#9: Michel Larocque played only 2 games for the Flyers and gave up 8 goals.  However, the nickname “Bunny” on his mask is good enough to overcome a 4.00 GAA.

The Top 8 masks can be seen after the jump.

  • #8: I’ve always had a soft spot for Garth Snow.  It might be from the time that asshole Matthew Barnaby played opossum and jumped Snow from behind during a brawl, or it might be that his mask featured the Abominable Snow-Man.

    #7: Ray Emery’s homage to the goaltenders of Flyers history (Bernie, Pelle, Hexy, et al.).


    #6: Antero Niittymaki’s bad-ass mask featured gangster Frank Nittoni, who shared Nitty’s nickname.

    #5: A classic Hextall mask, which incorporated the team colors and logo flawlessly.


    #4: Michel Belhumeur gets points for only caring about his face.

    #3: Although newer and nearly unused, Leighton’s tribute to the Broad Street Bullies makes the top 3.

    #2: Wayne Stephenson’s Spiderman look is a close second in my book.


    #1: Bernie with a simple design, but he’s Bernie and he can’t be ranked anywhere else on any list having anything to do with Flyer goaltenders.


    The Not so Good

    #5: One of Hextall’s masks, which featured various Philadelphia landmarks.  Great idea; painfully bad execution.

    #4: Doug Favells masks make him look like a cross between Hannibal Lecter and Jason Vorhees, had they really loved the color orange.

    #3: Robert Esche’s mask had a rock star theme, which featured Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.  Not bad.  But it also included Kid Rock.  Not good.

    #2: Martin Biron’s mask, with cartoon lumberjacks and the coat of arms of Quebec.  C’mon Marty.

    #1: And the worst mask in team history was worn by John Vanbiesbrouck.  The Beezer’s mask looks like it appeared on “Pimp My Ride.”  It’s got sparkles, a chromed out Flyers logo and hydraulics.


    Agree? Disagree?

    Let us know.

  • 13 Comments on “Flyers Goalie Masks: the best and worst”

    1. I may very well be in the minority but I kind of like Beezer’s mask. Though the one with the black Flyers logo instead of the chrome was better. Also did Cechmanek ever wear his King Tut mask. I don’t remember seeing it but I tried to block out those days.

      My pick for worst, Robert Esche’s featured Kid Rock.

    2. Jim Hasson says:

      Just a side note that a local guy, Doug Wager, who I grew up with in Havertown paints masks for NHL goalies. I’m pretty sure he did the Emery one and I know for sure that he did the Garth Snow Yeti and Jeff Hacketts mask, for the cup of coffee that he had whole he was in Philly. Not bad for a local guy.

    3. Kristine says:

      The Emery mask featuring Frazier/Hopkins didn’t even make his list, how is that possible as it received such awesome publicity and was ranked #1 last year of Goalie masks by Comcast Sports. The same artist, Doug Wager, also painted for Nitty and both Jeff Hackett masks, both of hackett’s masks which featured Bernie/Hexy/pelle and the Spectrum, as well as Ben Franklin and the Betsy Ross Flag. Talented stuff, give those masks a look, worth your time!

      • Lalli says:

        There are a lot of great masks in team history, just couldn’t include them all. I’m partial to the Emery mask with the goalies over the Emery mask with B-Hop and Joe Frazier, though both could have easily been on the list. Also, the Hackett mask with Ben Franklin is great stuff too…and especially relevant since the Flyers are DOOPing it up now.

    4. Doug says:

      You’re missing a few. The real Emery mask, Hackett, and Nitty’s final Flyer mask. not to be for gotten is Martin Houl’s 40th Flyers tribute he wore in a short releif of Nitty in a game vs Pittsburgh.

    5. admin says:

      How could I forget my all-time favorite Flyers mask? Mark Laforest wasn’t much of a goalie with a nickname of Trees, this mask was awesome.

    6. Bruce says:

      Best blog post ever.

    7. lucas says:

      Beezer has the best mask in flyers history and im not saying that cause he was my childhood idle. Metal flake orange ,chrome brang more life to his mask from anyother flyer goalie

    8. Mills says:

      VanBiesbrouck’s mirrored mask was in the top 3 of all time in my book. Get a shot of him wearing it during a game in his full uni and you’ll get a better appreciation of it.

    9. mark carcillo says:


    10. Fred Teigen says:

      What? No love for Doug Favell? His starburst design was among the first true designs in mask history, long before todays airbrush jobs were done. He should not be on a “worst” list.

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