When Jacques Plante decided to wear a mask so he’d still have his nose and teeth like other people, much of hockey’s movers and shakers weren’t thrilled with the idea. Toe Blake grudgingly went along with it as long as Plante continued to play well, which Plante did, but others voiced strong opposition to this new development.
Muzz Patrick, then general manager of the New York Rangers, spoke up at that time:
“Our game has as greater percentage of woman fans than any team sport I know. I’m talking about real fans – ones who give you the scoring averages and the All-Star lineups. Those woman fans want to see men, not masks. They want to see the blonds, the redheads – and the bald spots. That’s why I’m against helmets and masks. They rob the player of their individuality.
We start out with goalies wearing masks. Every club has a defenceman or two who goes down to smother shots. Soon they’ll want masks. All the forwards will wear helmets. The team will become faceless, headless robots, all of whom look alike to the spectators. We can’t afford to take that fan appeal away from hockey.”
Below, Muzz Patrick posing for his Beehive photo during his playing days. He had a fine head of hair, as you can see, and women were able to enjoy the view without a damned helmet to ruin everything.