The opposing forward rips a slap shot from the slot. Without time to get his glove up, the Cornell goalie is forced to use his body to block the puck. The shot rises and hits the goalie square in the head. Fortunately, the goalie has his mask to protect him. While such protection is obviously the primary function of goalie masks, masks have also recently become an outlet for goalies’ creativity. Such is the case on the men’s hockey team. All three netminders have unique masks that express their distinct personalities.[img_assist|nid=28031|title=Men in iron masks|desc=Juniors Troy Davenport (left) and Dan DiLeo (right), along with sophomore Ben Scrivens (center), show off the gear that keeps them safe and stylish between the pipes.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
For the game against B.U. at Madison Square Garden this past November, sophomore Ben Scrivens unveiled a brand new mask, after beginning his college career with just a plain white one. The mask was created by Doug Wager of Weaselhead Design and depicts the crowd at Lynah Rink; members of the band appear on one side and fans with newspapers line the other. There is also a large “C” above the cage, while his number, 30, sits under it.
“I had never really had a mask painted before, so I didn’t really have a certain thing that I liked to go to,” Scrivens said. “I wanted to make it Cornell themed for sure, and I liked the idea of having the crowd there and everything in there. I bounced ideas back and forth with our equipment manager, Pedro [Trindade], and we came up with the idea of the band, then one of the traditions of the newspapers on the side.”
Junior Troy Davenport used the same designer as Scrivens. On Davenport’s mask, he put gargoyles on both sides with the Cornell clock tower in the middle. The school crest is under the cage and the letter “C” flanks both sides. On the back, Davenport placed the symbol for “GDI,” which was the goalie camp he attended and then helped run.
“I didn’t want the traditional bear,” Davenport said. “I wanted to go with something different, so I went with two gargoyles on the side. I was going to go with either dragons or gargoyles, and I just decided to go with gargoyles. I thought it was a little bit cooler. … I have got the clock tower in the middle because I wanted something to do with the school, then the school crest at the chin.”
Unlike Scrivens, Davenport actually had a different mask before his current one. In juniors, he played for the Des Moines Buccaneers, so he used a mask which had a Pirates of the Caribbean theme.
Junior Dan DiLeo’s mask was made by Cory Armstrong of Armor Graphics. DiLeo, who is from St. Louis, is a fan of former St. Louis Blues netminder Curtis Joseph, who played for St. Louis from 1989 to 1995. Joseph, nicknamed “Cujo,” had a mask with a large dog in the middle above the cage, a reference to the Stephen King novel Cujo. Emulating Joseph, DiLeo replaced the dog with a bear, which appears to be coming out through the helmet. On the sides are items which pertain to the junior’s life; there is the St. Louis arch on one side and ivy for the Ivy League on the other.
“My favorite goalie in the NHL is Curtis Joseph,” DiLeo said. “When he played for St. Louis, he had the dog ripping through, so I knew I wanted that design. It worked well with having the bear, as far as what it looked like, with holding the ‘C.’ I really wanted it to be a blend of personal stuff and school stuff, so it has personal stuff woven with the Cornell stuff. … The bear is holding the St. Louis arch on one side because I am from St. Louis. The other paw is holding an ivy vine for the Ivy League. Then the Curtis Joseph part as far as the overall design. … I think it turned out unbelievable.”
The back of DiLeo’s helmet contains a number of personal mementos. He has the initials of his parents, sister and two of his coaches growing up. There is also an American flag and two numbers — 31, which is his number with Cornell, and 1, which was his number in juniors.
“It’s kind of a balance of something where you can see it at the other end of the ice and at the same time you have intricate details,” DiLeo said.
The three Cornell goalies’ all received their masks at different times. DiLeo got his at the beginning of his freshman year, Davenport obtained his around the middle of last season and Scrivens received his in time for the B.U. game earlier this year. It takes a long time for the artist to create the helmets, given their highly detailed and customized nature.
“This one took a little while longer because this isn’t a normal paint job,” Scrivens said. “[Wager] compared it to jazz paintings where it is like long brush strokes. … It also took a while to get everything placed on the mask. … It wasn’t a two-week job or anything.”