Anderson’s new mask pays tribute to Sens heritage

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Ottawa goaltender to debut retro look during Wednesday game against Bruins

Tuesday, 13.12.2011 / 8:13 AM / Features
By Rob Brodie –

Craig Anderson admits he’s no hockey historian.

But Ottawa Senators goaltender’s new mask definitely offers up a blast from the past.

When the Senators face off against the Boston Bruins on Wednedsay night at Scotiabank Place (7:30 p.m., TSN, Team 1200), the heritage jersey worn by Anderson will be topped off by a mask that pays tribute to Clint Benedict, a Hockey Hall of Fame netminder who backstopped the original Senators to three Stanley Cups in the 1920s.

Also of note: In 1930, while with the Montreal Maroons, Benedict became the first goaltender to don facial protection when he wore a protective mask over a nose broken two weeks earlier by shot by Montreal Canadiens legend Howie Morenz.

After the Senators approached Anderson about the heritage look, he did a little bit of reading about Benedict, then passed the details along to John Pepe, the Michigan-based artist who’s been doing paint work for his masks for the last decade or so.

“We wanted to do something heritage,” said Anderson, who unveiled his new look Monday on his Facebook page. “The jersey is a tribute back to the early 1900s and we wanted to go the same route (with the mask) … bring some of the heritage theme and add in a touch of one of original goaltenders.

“I passed it along to (Pepe) and he ran with it. He’s the artist. I just give him the canvas and let him go. For the most part, I keep him open minded and let him do what he wants. It keeps him happy.”

The mask also features the Senators’ 20th anniversary logo on chin, with a heritage ‘O’ on left side. On the back, you’ll find a Corvette racing logo, the initials of Anderson’s new son, Jake, along with the goaltender’s number and nickname, Andy. He only plans to wear the mask on nights when the Senators wear their heritage jerseys.

For most goaltenders, masks offer an opportunity to express their personality. Anderson says he’s no different in that regard, and usually combines a mix of team and personal taste.

“I try to keep it 50-50,” said Anderson, a native of Park Ridge, Ill., who spends his off-seasons in Florida. “One side is team oriented, the other side what sets me apart. It’s one of the few positions where you can express yourself and express who you are. I use that to express my nationality.

“The Corvette is America’s sports car. As opposed to putting a big American flag on the side, that’s my way of showing a tribute to what I like doing. I like playing with cars in the off-season and being an American.”