Jacques Plante


Joseph Jacques Omer Plante (…January 17, 1929 – February 27, 1986) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. During a career lasting from 1947 to 1975, he was considered to be one of the most important innovators in hockey. He played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1953 to 1963; during his tenure, the team won the Stanley Cup six times, including five consecutive wins. … Plante was the first NHL goaltender to wear a goaltender mask in regulation play on a regular basis. He developed and tested many versions of the mask (including the forerunner of today’s mask/helmet combination) with the assistance of other experts. Plante was the first NHL goaltender to regularly play the puck outside his crease in support of his team’s defencemen, and he often instructed his teammates from behind the play. … During the 1959-60 season, Plante wore a goaltender mask for the first time in a regular season game. Although Plante had used his mask in practice since 1956 after missing 13 games because of a sinusitis operation, head coach Toe Blake was afraid it would impair his vision and would not permit him to wear it during regulation play. However, on November 1, 1959, Plante’s nose was broken when he was hit by a shot fired by Andy Bathgate three minutes into a game against the New York Rangers, and he was taken to the dressing room for stitches. When he returned, he was wearing the crude home-made goaltender mask that he had been using in practices. Blake was livid, but he had no other goaltender to call upon and Plante refused to return to the goal unless he wore the mask. Blake agreed on the condition that Plante discard the mask when the cut healed. The Canadiens won the game 3–1. During the following days Plante refused to discard the mask, and as the Canadiens continued to win, Blake was less vocal about it. The unbeaten streak stretched to 18 games. Plante did not wear the mask, at Blake’s request, against Detroit on March 8, 1960; the Canadiens lost 3–0, and the mask returned for good the next night. That year the Canadiens won their fifth straight Stanley Cup, which was Plante’s last. Plante subsequently designed his own and other goaltenders’ masks. He was not the first NHL goaltender known to wear a face mask. …”
Wikipedia
Game changer: How the goalie mask transformed the face of hockey
YouTube: The evolution of the NHL goalie mask, Jacques Plante changed game when he donned mask, Men behind the mask, from Plante to Price


Jacques Plante is shown in photos without a mask and with two of the masks he wore in his career. The photo at right is 1960, the other two photos are from 1969. Fifty years ago Monday at Madison Square Garden in New York, Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadiens changed hockey.

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