Tis the season to unleash new St. Louis Blues goaltender masks. Joel Hofer had his design posted online and it is a winner.
Normally, back in the before time, aka the long long ago, we would get goaltender mask designs coming out in the summer. Now, St. Louis Blues fans are getting early Christmas presents with these sneak peaks at the masks for the upcoming 2021 season *fingers crossed*.
Flip the script and Joel Hofer‘s first professional mask is definitely a hit with yours truly. It does have one flaw, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Up until this point, Hofer has been wearing his Portland Winterhawks mask. It was a good mask for its time, but it was always a little too close to the design you would wear if playing for our rival from Chicago rather than the St. Louis Blues.
Now, Hofer can proudly represent his current franchise. Perhaps he’ll only wear it during training camp, or maybe it’ll be his full time mask.
We do know that Hofer is all but assured one of the spots with the Springfield Thunderbirds. The main question there is whether the AHL will be able to have their season or not.
Nevertheless, Hofer is well prepared to protect his face in style.
The thing I like about Hofer’s mask the most is the inverted wings. We’ve seen everyone’s mask under the sun use the traditional horizontal wings. A few, here and there, like Binnington’s, tilt the logo ever so slightly, but it’s still the same old same old.
Hofer’s mask flat out turns the logo on its side and has those wings pointed straight to the heavens. It’s a nice touch the way the dark blue outlines the face hole from the side and the silvery-white line of the logo outline matches up perfectly with the white cage.
From straight on, it gives an even better look. While anatomically the wings would be backwards, it still evokes that look of the wings above one’s head, similar to the early look at Batman from the 1989 film.
I also like the way the white Blues logo is underneath the wings from our perspective. You could see it almost as the blue wings protecting the white logo or even holding it up in triumph.
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The way the bluenotes are organized along the jaw line is a nice touch as well. Whether it was intentional, or just the imagination of this viewer, it evokes the way musical notes are arranged on the staff on sheet music.
Why, I don’t know. But, I have become a fan of these layered ghost logos inside the dark blue wings. We have seen that effect on other masks and it’s just a nice touch. It doesn’t pop out on TV, but that’s kind of the idea. It’s a nice addition you get to see when up close, but it doesn’t overpower the rest of the mask.
The same is true of the ghosted out images of the circle logo with the Arch along the ears. It fades nicely into the background, just giving a hint that it’s there.
My only negative with this mask, as was the main issue with Binnington’s, is there just doesn’t feel like any of the goalie’s personality in it. This mask could belong to anyone.
There’s nothing really Joel Hofer about it. There is not even a number or initials on the chin.
Again, that’s no fault of Gunnarsson. More often than not, these designers work closely with the goalie, so if they don’t ask for something specific to them, the designer won’t just do it in hopes it will work.
But, these style of masks seem to be a little more en vogue at the moment. Similar masks for Washington, Pittsburgh and Montreal have been seen.
Perhaps goalies are relegating their personal interests to the back plate, which has not been shown in either the Binnington or Hofer social media photos. Whatever the reason, it does take a small bit away.
That’s why the mask gets four stars from me. It’s a fabulous design that has just the right mix of all the team colors, but doesn’t stand out as belonging to one player instead of another.
As hinted at earlier, though, we don’t know when Hofer will wear this. The Thunderbirds share somewhat similar colors to the Blues and Hofer would not be the first AHL goalie to wear a mask with his NHL team colors instead of the AHL franchise, but not all goalies want their face to stand out from their actual AHL jersey.
So, we will see if Hofer elects to make a Thunderbirds mask as well. For now, this is another solid entry into the Blues mask kingdom.