the early hybrid cage mask question

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by darkhorse686, Jun 30, 2011.

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  1. darkhorse686

    darkhorse686 Registered User

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    I know Dave Dryden invented this mask in 1978 or so yet it didn't catch on right away. Video and photos I've seen from the early eighties seems to suggest only around 5 goailes out of 40-odd in the whole NHL wore one (Chico Resch and Gilles Meloche for instance). I'm wondering why the cage mask didn't come into vogue until late in the decade. Did goalies think it was tacky? Did they think it had the same problems as the full-fibreglass masks? Considering the benefits we know it offers, like great protection and a 'canvas' on which a goalie can use his imangination, how come the hybrid mask did not bloom right away?
     
  2. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    I've been doing research as part of a mask history book (hockey has a dedicated chapter), and from what I can gather-fibre-glass was still a little persona non grata because of (Parent? I can't remember for sure off the top of my head, I'm tired lol) and a couple of other goalies who were injured because of the full fibreglass, so the hybrid would have had some hesitation as to the safety of said mask ( the fibreglass accidents scared goalies for obvious reasons). I think there was may have been a few wondering about the appearance, but overall I think it was the safety factor.

    I also noted that anything involving goalie mask evolution, it takes awhile to catch on-but as more goalies started using the cage/fibreglass hybrid, it became popular, but it took time.

    That's the info I've gathered anyway, I think some of the regs on this board will have more insight.
     
  3. darkhorse686

    darkhorse686 Registered User

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    I've theorized that when Patrick Roy won the Cup in '86 when wearing this kind of mask, it became fashionable
     
  4. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    And that could be a part of it, fashionable, but also they saw that he performed VERY well with it, and perhaps got dinged a time or two and he was completely safe, and went won a cup with it. It usually takes someone to show it can work-remember, goalies didn't want to wear masks for the longest time, one of the reasons was said that they felt they would have hindered vision with the puck-Mr Plante, when he wore it for a few games and did pretty well (maybe even better knowing his face was protected and took more chances), they started saying "hey, he seems to play just as well if not better" (I realise that was only ONE of the reasons-the managers of the teams had their hesitations as well, for different reasons-but I'm getting OT LOL).
     
  5. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Actually, the cage-style mask had been around for quite awhile prior to its use at the NHL level. Indeed, the first NHL goalie to wear a mask goes back to 1930, when Clint Benedict wore several versions over 5-6 games after having the bridge of his nose broken by a Howie Morenz shot. Msde of leather, sort of a 'T-Bar' affair that he ditched as it apparently obscured his view. Plantes' fiberglass job was picked up by many, but it, like helmets, was considered "sissy", was hot & there were difficulties in seeing & worst of all, breathing..

    Lefty Wilson, trainer for the Red Wings, started making masks in the 50's (notably for Sawchuk) which were used in practice but not games until the early 60's etc. At the amateur levels mid-60's, baseball catchers masks were widely used, then, companies like Jacques Plante in conjunction with Quebec based Fibro-Sport & Cooper-Weekes' (nee; Cooper Canada) mass producing fiberglass (along with D&R) & heavy plastic models that could be bought off the shelf. Their was even a clear plastic shield introduced & popular with amateurs in the early 60's, Johnny Bower trying one out in practice, "too hot, couldnt breathe, clausterphobic"......

    Cage-Helmet combinations were considered cumbersome more than anything else, sightlines obscured by the bars, remedied by re-design & the hybrid. Tony Esposito was one of the first innovaters in the glass-bar combo, as he was as blind as a bat without his contact lenses which he was always losing while playing, but had the bars installed anyway to provide added protection and to afford the option of wearing glasses. Tretiaks' performance in 72 wearing the cage also propelled the eventual switches, not to mention some rather nasty injuries to goaltenders that followed thereafter using the fiberglass models that eventually led to the CSA banning their use.
     
  6. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    Oh I agree K-I was responding specifically to his comment about Roy being one of the early users of the Hybrid Mask (during his rookie year) and how is may have helped (along with esposito and his "slap a cage overtop the fibreglass" jobbie :)

    With Clint it's hard-yes he was Technically the first to wear a mask, though I believe he only wore it for one or two games to protect his nose, after that, he went without-Plante was the first to consciously say to his coach "I'm not playing without a mask anymore"-Managers didn't like them either, I believe it was NY Rangers Manager at the time who talked about not wanting to "hide their goalie's face behind a mask-people pay to see the goalie!"-as well as the aforementioned "you're a wimp if you hide behind a mask" (of course I believe it wasn't until the 30-40's that Goalies were allowed to drop to their knees to stop a shot-they had to stay on their feet, hence not getting as close to the ice where the puck was).

    I'm pretty sure it was Parent who suffered the career ending injury with the fibreglass mask (mind you according to the mask manufacturers, goalies were hampering the safety of the masks by making eye holes bigger and other adjustments". And yes Tretiak was an odd sight with his full cage helmet, but after Parent more goalies went to the full cage.

    Going back to the OP-trying to figure out when goalies started using Hybrid-and it sounds like both Espo and Roy were some of the early "combo" wearers.
     
  7. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Ah, I see. Also, to correct a technicality, apparently the first goaltender to wear a mask (non-NHL) was actually a lady, who played for a Queens University Womans team in 1927. She used a fiberglass fencing mask to protect her teeth. As for the actual fiberglass-cage hybrid, that was first designed & used by Dave Dryden, Ken's older brother, who at the time was playing in the WHA. The first NHL goalie to use it was Glen "Chico" Resch. Exact year I dont know, but sometime between about 75-78.....

    Edit; and yes, I forgot; an errant stick in 79 caught Bernie Parent in the eye forcing his retirement, along with a lot of goalies switching to the helmet/cage & hybrid glass.cage styles en-masse'.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  8. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    I WAS going to mention the young lady (though the sources I read were kind of vague), I was thinking professional hockey in general and didn't know if she counted, now if we REALLY want to get specific, I believe that goalies were using masks-perhaps catcher type, in some amateur leagues, not to mention some goalies did use masks in practice from time to time-some posed for masks in front of a camera (the famous Johnny Bower "transparent plate" picture for example).

    I think, again going back to the OP, the transition was really a slow one over time-I don't think "tacky" came into it as much as the fibreglass just had too much "baggage"-but as Dave Dryden, Chico, Espo and Roy slowly wore them and technologies improved (I believe Dave Dryden's version was fibreglass, compared to the compound reinforced plastics today that are much more durable then the fibreglass-even so goalies like Hasek, Osgood and a few others went the "full cage" to modern day, perhaps they weren't comfortable with the hybrids.


    EDIT: Thanks for clarifying it was Parent there K :)


    Figures the one area of hockey history I seem to know the most/have the most interest is goalie masks LOL-not surprising I guess lol
     
  9. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Indeed TL. My understanding of the helmet-cage masks, popularized initially by Tretiak, was that they too had safety issue problems, though they were lighter & visibility better than even the hybrids, which is why they too have all but completely disappeared. If you look into International & Womens play, you'll find several examples of goalies using cages, leather or fiberglass facial protection pretty much from the 1920's through the 30's, 40's, 50's & of course beyond.
     
  10. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    I think we scared the OP off, there K :laugh:

    I think we both gave just a *touch* more information than they wanted :D
     
  11. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    One thing you can always be sure of on the hoh threads TL, someone else knows a whole Hell of a lot more about stuff you or I ever thought we had all dialed in and figured out. :laugh:
     
  12. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    Oh, I agree wholeheartedly K-I'm awaiting one of the regulars to come into this thread and say along the lines of "Well, really if you want to look at it" and go into a detailed breakdown of hockey mask history. :laugh:

    I'm a minnow swimming with Orcas with my very limited knowledge I know! lol
     
  13. DJ Man

    DJ Man Registered User

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    I've seen pictures of Tony Esposito wearing his usual white plastic mask, but with a little goggle-like wire-work over the eye holes. Was that an early version of the hybrid, or a later modification in that direction?
     
  14. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Tony had bad eyesite & wore contacts' which often popped out during a game. The goggle work over the eyes was added to his mask to provide for additional protection should an errant stick or puck hit him in the eye which with hard contacts could have caused considerable damage...
     
  15. darkhorse686

    darkhorse686 Registered User

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    I seem to have touched off an avalanche with that OP of mine :)

    I had actually heard the story the female goalkeeper using the fencing mask. Had no idea about the baseball catcher masks being used by amateurs though.
     
  16. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Women's Hockey

    From memory that story goes back to the 1920's, Kingston, perhaps Queen's university and their women' hockey team goalie.
     
  17. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    Well, its a fascinating topic at least to me & apparently others, so good job :thumbu:

    That female goalie was one Elizabeth Graham of Queens University who first donned the fencing mask in February 1927. The earliest documented case of a wire-cage baseball catchers style mask I can find comes from the 1936 Winter Olympics, a goalie by the name of Teiji Honma (Im guessin thats Finnish or Czech maybe?) wore a crude leather & wire cage; behind which sat a pair of coke bottle bottom glasses.

    I personally started playing goal in the early 60's in Toronto, and distinctly re-call being given and using (my choice between the 2 but it was mandatory) a baseball Catcher or Umpire face mask, the former being a Cooper-Weekes, the latter a D&R. As games then were played exclusively outside in minus sub-zero's, over top of a tooque. The rest of the equipment, then supplied by a boys club, consisted of a catchers chest protector, a circa 1920's forward glove that that had somehow survived years of abuse & Normandy; an almost flat & rock hard catchers glove with a pocket barely deep enough to hold a marble. Pads that weighed a ton and like the catcher, rock hard, straight up & down, no upper foot or toe protection. Thank God it was Atom and the following year real equipment bought & paid for. Taking a shot on frozen feet & or a catching hand is beyond pain for hours thereafter as ones extremities thaw out & the real hurting begins.. :laugh:
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  18. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    Thanks

    Pleased to see that my memory is holding up.

    In the fifties one of the goalies in our organization was the son of a shoemaker and he used a first baseman's gloce with a sewn on leather extension to cover the wrist.
     
  19. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    ...... and no doubt suffers nerve damage to this day. :biglaugh:
     
  20. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    House League

    House league so the shots were not that hard.
     
  21. darkhorse686

    darkhorse686 Registered User

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  22. darkhorse686

    darkhorse686 Registered User

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  23. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    I assume St.Laurent was the last of the breed to be wearing the full fiberglass mask (albeit the Jacques Plante' type, but still)?.....
     
  24. Hoser

    Hoser Registered User

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    Teiji Honma was Japanese.

    [​IMG]

    Another style worn around that time was a half-cage that protected the eyes. Canadian goalie Roy Musgrove wore one when he played in the British National League in the mid to late '30s.

    [​IMG]

    People remember Parent's injury because of Parent's resumé, but goalies started switching to the helmet and cage (a.k.a. 'birdcages') in earnest in 1977, after Sabres goalie Gerry Desjardins suffered an eye injury after being hit by a slapshot in a game in February of '77.

    It was as a result of this incident, not Parent's, that the moulded fibreglass mask was banned from minor hockey. Parent's injury was just more evidence to support the ban. Parent himself lamented the incident saying "Most of the new goalies are using these new masks with the helmet and bars. They're probably better. If I was wearing one of those I don't think this would have happened."

    After Desjardins was injured he played a few more games but his vision was never the same (he suffered a trauma-induced cataract, for which he underwent surgery in the summer of '77) and he retired. Punch Imlach, then GM of the Sabres, outlawed the fibreglass mask on his team and required goalies Bob Sauve and Don Edwards to wear the 'birdcage'.

    Other goalies who adopted them for the '77-'78 season were Islanders goalies Billy Smith and Chico Resch, former teammates of Desjardins (who played for the Islanders from '72 to '74). The Islanders also had Swedish goalie Goran Hogosta on their roster in '77, and he wore the helmet and cage à la Tretiak. Most of the Rockies' goalies wore them too; I know for sure Doug Favell, Michel Plasse and Bill Oleschuk did. So did Dan Bouchard of the Flames and Bunny Larocque of the Canadiens.

    It was after Desjardins' injury that Dave Dryden worked with Greg Harrison to develop the 'hybrid' mask. Dryden started wearing it at the beginning of the '77-'78 WHA season.

    I'm not exactly sure when Resch started wearing a hybrid mask, but it was certainly no earlier than '79. By the time he was traded to the Rockies in 1981 he was wearing the hybrid, but Phil Myre started wearing a hybrid mask around the same time. The earliest I know of in the NHL, for sure, was Dave Dryden himself, who wore it for a few games in the '79-'80 season. Teammate Eddie Mio, who took a slapshot in the face in practice in December of '79, was also an early adopter. Dave Dryden had announced his retirement only a few days earlier and was still with the Oilers when it happened, so after Mio went down Dryden gave him his mask.

    Don Beaupre was also one of the first and probably the first rookie to wear one in '80-'81. Shortly thereafter teammate Gilles Meloche started using one too. Beaupre quickly went back to a helmet and cage, but Meloche kept the hybrid for the rest of his career.

    Roy may have popularized the hybrid mask after becoming the first goalie to win a Stanley Cup with one, but the first Canadiens goalie to wear one (that I know of) was Rick Wamsley.

    Others who wore the hybrid mask before Roy included Marco Baron, Doug Soetaert, Mike Liut and Denis Herron.



    Why was the hybrid mask not adopted quicker? Probably a result of many factors. For one, they weren't CSA approved. If they weren't CSA approved then kids in minor hockey couldn't wear them, thus by the time they made it to the NHL they were used to the helmet and cage. There was probably also some hesitation because they were based on the traditional mask not unlike Parent's. The problem with fibreglass masks was not only susceptibility to eye injuries but also the fact that they were in direct contact with the face. The masks couldn't absorb an impact; they just transferred that energy to the face. The purpose of the Plante mask was to prevent cuts, not to absorb impacts. It was quite common for a goalie's face to be black and blue after a game. And once in a while a slap shot directly to the mask would shatter it. The Dryden mask was fundamentally similar; while it provided more eye protection it still kept a lot of contact with the face.

    On the other hand the helmet and cage separated the face protection from the face itself, the only major contact being at the chinstrap. It contained more padding to protect the head as well.

    After refinements were made to the Dryden/Harrison design, notably the inclusion of more strategically-placed padding and a switch to kevlar and carbon fibre, it became more popular and was recognized as a very safe design.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2011
  25. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    :handclap:


    More wonderful detailed stuff to learn about the masks! Interesting about the Desjardens history, I didn't know that-as you said Parent being the "better known" goalie is remembered more.

    I think the OP has loads of info now! :)-and I've got some extra info to research for my mask chapter! Thanks!
     

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