His painter, fellow Swede David Gunnarsson of DAVEART Designs fame, went to great lengths to make sure the New York Rangers' star had a lid stylistically suitable for the Winter Classic.
That meant making something brand new look old.
It meant making something that Gunnarsson's clients – and more than 25 of them have worn his designs in the NHL this season alone – usually demand perfection from, look like it was bruised, battered and even rusted from years of use.
|Photo by Henrik Lundqvist, via Twitter
To achieve a "vintage style," Gunnarsson painted scratches, chips, and rust around the screws. He even used a hockey puck to create puck marks on the mask, all of which were applied with purpose and then preserved under the finishing coats.
"It was very interesting to create something that both looks good and also looks used," said Gunnarsson of a design idea he's previously discussed with Lundqvist.
The timing became perfect once the Rangers were selected for this year's outdoor extravaganza.
"We made it very, very vintage, with connections to the Winter Classic jersey," Gunnarson said.
The other themes in the mask are consistent for Lundqvist, though presented in different manners. He has always featured the Statue of Liberty on one side and the team's logo on the other. This mask, however, is totally symmetrical, with Lady Liberty on both sides, a Rangers emblem across the top, and the words "Winter Classic" running down each cheek.
The backplate, where most goalies add personal touches, also remains familiar, with the New York City skyline, the words "New York in my heart," and both the American and Swedish flags featured. Still, painting for an event as big and transcendent as the Winter Classic was special for Gunnarsson -- even if he has airbrushed with and for Swedish royalty in the past.
"To go to work and make a new mask is a joy for me every day, but so many people see the Winter Classic mask and it's an honor to be a part of that incredible game," he said.