Here at The Goalie Guild, we take cancer-fighting programs very seriously. Since 2007, founder Justin Goldman has owned and operated a charity adult hockey tournament called Quest for the Crown, which raises funds and awareness for the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer foundation. This annual four-day hockey festival has raised more than $20,000 for the NHL’s biggest fight, so we love to kick cancer to the curb and support other cancer-fighting foundations around the world.
Therefore, when our very close friend Alec Voggel from Airxess sent us some exclusive photos of Jonas Hiller‘s new special-edition Movember mask, we just had to tell the story behind it. For those that aren’t familiar with the “Movember” movement, be sure to check out the mission statement, and the male cancer initiatives it supports, on the official Movember website.
What makes Movember so entertaining is the pure, wholesome fun that guys have growing crazy moustaches for an entire month. Our girlfriends and wives might despise them, but hockey players and fans everywhere have quickly embraced the opportunity to support this important campaign. Not only does it raise funds and awareness to fight prostate cancer, but it brings together the hockey community in more ways than one.
Last November, around 150 NHL players rocked a moustache in order to help Movember generate more awareness. But this year, the number of fuzzy dusters is expected to rise. It also helps when an elite goaltender like Hiller takes that unselfish act of raising awareness to a new level by promoting Movember on his newest mask. By doing this, you can’t help but admire and enjoy what is surely to come of it.
We’ve seen a lot of unique goalie masks in our day, especially from Hiller, but this might trump them all. It’s not only different, but it is hilarious as well.
Yes, what you see here is the complete opposite of Hiller’s most recent black matted mask. With a white matted base, this design has black and white photos of all the Anaheim Ducks players scattered around it…and they all have their own unique moustaches. There’s one on Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, George Parros, Dan Ellis, and yes, even Hiller himself.
On the mask’s backplate (see bottom), the comical undertone of this design continues. Hiller is in his stance, with his mask up and turned to the side, and his goofy face is – you guessed it – adorned with a moustache. The design also includes the “D” logo right on the forehead and bottom right side, then the Swiss flag on the bottom left side. The chin drop has the word “Movember” and a moustache in gold-leaf as well.
When speaking with Alec on one of our many Skype conversations over the past few days, here is some great background information on this special-edition Movember mask:
“Airxess came up with the idea, as we needed a game-used Hiller mask that would later be for sale because of the big demand. Hiller came up with the Movember idea himself, so as always, he gave us the input, and I had to create the design. Besides the concept, the whole testing to place all the portraits on the mask (it’s not only done by airbrush) and the painting itself i have done, while Dan “The Man” gave the mask a nice flat finish and left some parts shiny.”
Knowing Alec for more than three years, and seeing just about every mask he has ever done, we know that what makes him such a good-natured, genuine and authentic artist is his deep respect for the subject he’s painting. This is what makes art more than just a cool design on a mask – these airbrush wizards strive to honor their subject matter by painstakingly perfecting every inch of their “canvas” on the mask. Jason LaBarbera’s new mask that honors Pat Tillman is just one example in which the design goes beyond art, and serves a much higher purpose.
“I used the style of moustache seen on the Movember website, but in a completely different technique as other airbrushed masks out there. It must be visible that the moustaches are painted with an edding that people can see is added afterwards, just like the guys growing their own moustaches. Each player has a different look, as usual. The design had to be funny, as the Movember website shows, but with enough respect for the story and behind it. And as always, it should be as unique and minimalistic as possible.”
A lot of hockey fans might look at Hiller’s black matted mask and wonder why it looks so plain and simple. Well, Alec is simply not like other mask artists out there. He takes great pride in his ability to always come up with something new and unique, and that is something worthy of great respect.
Voggel is guided along by Hiller’s creative side, but he really does an excellent job of bringing his client’s ideas to life. With the strong friendship that they have developed over the last eight years (since 2003), The Goalie Guild loves the fact they put their minds together to create a mask design that is not only totally unique, but reflects a very worthwhile cause.
On top of that, it’s simply hilarious to see some of Hiller’s teammates rocking their own moustache styles. Who knows, maybe part of the deal is that each player has to match the type of moustache Hiller has on his mask. We guess time will only tell on whether or not that happens, but overall this mask is a massive success.
Ultimately, what we love about this mask is not only will it make hockey fans everywhere chuckle, but it is guaranteed to bring a massive amount of awareness to the Movember movement. It will help raise money to try and eradicate one of the most deadly diseases a man can face in his lifetime, and that makes this not only masterful in form, but in function as well. Almost every single mask worn by Hiller has had a very serious undertone to it, so it is awesome to see one that is all about having fun for a good cause.
A special thanks to our good friend Alec over at Airxess for allowing us to post exclusive photos of Hiller’s new mask! As always, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Airxess and visit his website to see some of his masterful mask artistry.