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Allen pays tribute to military with special mask

Mask honors former soldiers Staniowski and Gassoff Jr.

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues

ST. LOUIS - Blues goalie Jake Allen will pay tribute to the men and women who fight for our country and our freedom by wearing a special military-themed mask for the Nov. 11 game against the New York Islanders.

Allen's mask, which was created in conjunction with Boeing, will feature the stars and stripes, an American flag, Allen's home Canadian flag and two soldiers with ties to the St. Louis Blues - former goalie Ed Staniowski and Bobby Gassoff Jr.

"It's a pretty cool design. I think it turned out great," Allen said. "It's a good tribute to people who deserve a good tribute."

Staniowski wore the Blue Note from 1975 until 1981, appearing in 137 games with the club. After a 10-year professional hockey career that also included stints with the Winnipeg Jets and Hartford Whalers, Staniowski joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1985. He served multiple deployments with the Canadian Army, which included missions for the United Nations / NATO in the Middle East, Croatia and Bosnia. Staniowski served in Afghanistan as recently as 2010.

Video: Allen shows military mask to Staniowski, Gassoff

Gassoff Jr. is a former Navy SEAL and the son of the late Bob Gassoff, who played defense for the Blues and whose No. 3 still hangs from the rafters at Scottrade Center. Gassoff Jr. played college hockey at the University of Michigan, winning a national championship in 1998. He also played in the Blues' minor league system with the Worcester Ice Cats during the 2001-02 season before joining the Navy and serving in Iraq.

"It's pretty cool to have a Canadian soldier like Staniowski on the mask, especially since he was a former Blue," Allen said. "And as you know, the Gassoff family has long ties with the Blues organization. Having a tribute to these two guys on a night we're honoring members of the military was a no-brainer."

Allen's mask also features a camouflaged version of the Blues' old wordmark on the chin and the iconic silhouette of soldiers raising an American flag after the Battle of Iwo Jima on the back. The mask will be raffled off at stlouisblues.com at a later date to raise money for H.E.R.O.E.S. Care, an organization that provides support for members of all branches of the military and their families through pre-deployment, deployment, family reintegration and post-deployment.

Jason Livery of Head Strong Grafx, who has painted all of the masks Allen has worn during his NHL career, was also responsible for painting this one.

Tickets for Saturday's Salute to Military game are available now at the Scottrade Center Box Office or online at ticketmaster.com. Fans attending the game are encouraged to donate care package items for troops overseas for a chance to win autographed Blues merchandise. The team will also sell autographed mystery pucks outside Section 114 to benefit H.E.R.O.E.S. Care and Operation Shower.

Want to see more goalie masks by Head Strong Grafx? Visit their website at headstronggrafx.com or find them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Video: Allen reveals military mask for Nov. 11 game

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