Small Saves: Vintage Goalie Mask

Happy Halloween!

It’s that great time of year again! Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays! From carved pumpkins glowing in the dark to watching the classic, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, It’s a fun time of year. Few people know that another great holiday falls the day after Halloween…

It was November 1st, 1959. A certain goaltender was hit with an Andy Bathgate shot, leaving him badly injured. While they were fixing him up, he reached into his bag and pulled out the very first goalie mask to be worn in a game. (Historians will point out that Clint Benedict wore one almost 30 years earlier–but discarded it after only a few games.)

The goaltender, Mr. Jacques Plante, Became the first official netminder to wear a goalie mask. He was scoffed at, ridiculed, and was accused of “losing his nerve.”

He withstood all naysayers, stuck to his word, and never tended goal without one again. Soon, other goalies took heed and donned masks themselves.

Every goalie today is protected thanks to the brave route Mr. Plante took to ensure goaltenders were properly protected.

In honor of that day, November 1st is now nationally known in goaltending circles as Jacques Plante Day! On this day, goalies wish one another “Happy Jacques Plante Day! They’ll nod and tip their mask to all, for this is their day–as they carry on the tradition started in 1959. Don’t forget to mark the calendar! Call a few goalies over for some soda, or hang out and talk hockey shop!


With Willie O’Ree soon to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, I did a special cartoon to honor the occasion. He has a fascinating biography! Playing blind in one eye for his entire career (which he kept a secret in fear of not being allowed to play) Mr. O’Ree has done so much good on and off the ice. Take a few moments to read up on his life story!


I wanted to show a picture of the real-life “Mia the Cat” who appears in the Small Saves comic strip. Many characters who appear in the cartoon are based on actual people (and certain kitties!)


If you haven’t had a chance yet to see some of the all-new hockey t-shirt designs, please feel free to pop on over to

…or just click on the Amazon link below…


Have a safe, fun, Halloween!

Jay… and Small Saves!