Muzz And Those Damn Masks And Helmets

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.

3 thoughts on “Muzz And Those Damn Masks And Helmets”

  1. As a woman – I loved watching the guys fly – hair tossled by the speed of the game – yes definite sex appeal – and you could tell at a glance who was on the ice – no names on the back of the sweaters either. But now they have teh names on the back of the sweaters, everyone wears helmets – and hopefully visors one day.

    The one thing I do miss however is the continuity. Every season everyone changes teams – I used to be able to sort my hockey cards by team – very few changes – usually bit players or sometimes a guy needing a new start.
    Now – when looking through the cards etc – they are sorted by name – because they would be impossible to find any other way.

    One change I would like to see is individualized helmets – base color being the team color – then decorated much like the goalie ones. That would bring back some personality to a sport that seems to like its athletes bland.

  2. Hi Laura. I agree, players change too often. You’re absolutely right – years ago there were very few changes but not now.
    I think 80% pf NHL players could walk in to my living room and I wouldn’t have a clue who they are. Ovechkin even has a tinted visor which I think is ridiculous. I really like your idea of individualized helmets too. I remember when Red Berenson, JC Tremblay, Bobby Rousseau, and a few others around the league started wearing helmets and in the beginning it was quite weird to see. I was used to the different colour hair and all that that Muzz Patrick talked about. But gradually we got used to it. But I do miss the individuality for sure. Maybe someone could invent invisible helmets and masks that would protect but we could still see the players!

  3. well muzz……………………… according to a survey conducted in my area on that very issue most women said they would rather see the mask than tim thomas’ face and bald spot. so what does that tell ya?

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