a little hockey history: jacques plantes and the lucky mask
At the Madison Square Guarden, on November 1st 1959, three minutes after the beginning of the game, Jacques Plante, goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens, took a puck to the face after a shot by Andy Bathgate, which instantly broke his nose. He was immediately taken to the dressing room to get stitches. As he was ready to return to the game, Plante said he would only go back on the ice if he was allowed to wear a mask to protect himself. He had previously worn said homemade mask during practice but headcoach Toe Blake didn’t permet it during regulation play. Since he had no other option that night, (each team had only one goaltender back in the day), he allowed Plante to wear it, knowing that Jacques would refuse to play otherwise. They agreed that he would discard it once his wounds healed. Plante kept his mask for the following nights and ended up with a 18-game winning streak. The headcoach became less insistent about getting rid of Jacques’ protection. The only night Blake asked Plante to discard the mask, the Canadiens lost 3-0. The “good luck charm” was brought back the following night, where they won once again. The Canadiens went on to win their fifth Stanley Cup in a row that year. Jacques Plante was the first hockey goaltender to wear a mask in regulation play on a regular basis and is still to this day considered one of hockey’s greatest innovators.