One of the my favorite aspects of big hockey events – such as the Winter Classic, the Olympics, and the new outdoor Stadium Series games – is seeing the special gear that goalies often have created for the occasion.
The fourth and final Stadium Series game in 2014 will see the Blackhawks host the Penguins at Soldier Field on March 1st. This weekend, Chicago netminder Antti Raanta unveiled the new setup he’ll be rocking in the outdoor game and it’s pretty phenomenal.
My favorite piece is Raanta’s new helmet, which pays tribute to former ‘Hawks goalie Ed “The Eagle” Belfour with giant dual bald eagles on the side – almost a spitting image of Belfour’s old headgear.
“If you think about great Chicago Blackhawks [goaltenders], you think of Eddie Belfour and everybody says ‘Eddie the Eagle,'” Raanta said. “I didn’t have any ideas for the outdoor game mask and I was thinking it would be nice to respect a great goalkeeper in that kind of game. So, I got the idea for the mask from the Phoenix guy who painted it. He said it would be pretty awesome and it turned out to be pretty awesome. I don’t know what Eddie thinks about that, but I hope he likes it.”[via]
The new gear is so good that I find myself pulling for Raanta to get the start over the ‘Hawks No.1 tendy, Corey Crawford, who unveiled a much inferior mask yesterday as well.