Photos Courtesy of DaveArt.com
Sports in our society have changed over the past ten, twenty, thirty years; actually, sports in general keep changing and evolving. Whether we are talking about the equipment a player wears, the uniforms becoming more modern or the great deal of money professional athletes make, there is no doubt that sports have progressed and the athlete who plays in today's era, has progressed as well. Sometimes we as people forget where we came from and how we got to where we are.
As society advances everyday, there is a tendency to forget about our elders, our predecessors and those that have made the world a different place, a better place. On Monday, January 15th we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. Reverend King was one of the most influential people in Civil Rights as there has ever been in American history. We, as a society pay tribute to him every year because we recognize his place in history, as one of the most important people this country has ever seen.
The NHL, like society has had its share of heroes as well. Growing up as a hockey fan, one might have heard stories of the legendary Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, Rod Gilbert and Maurice "the Rocket" Richard.
Today's kids don't hear the stories of Howe, Orr, Gilbert, and Richard; today's kids hear stories of Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Mark Messier.
Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mikael Tellqvist is one player that finds unique ways to pay homage to those who have come before him. When Tellqvist first joined the Coyotes organization, he contacted artist David Gunnarsson and his company, DaveArt, to create and paint a one of a kind helmet, honoring the history of the Phoenix Coyotes franchise and past players who helped shape the game of hockey, as we know it today.
Tellqvist's mask took two weeks to create, and countless hours went into the design of the helmet, which has been named appropriately, "True Legends." The mask features images of Winnipeg Jets greats Tomas Steen on the left side, and Hall of Famer Bobby Hull on the right. Hull played for Winnipeg from 1972-80, scoring 307 goals, 341 assists for 648 points in 429 games as a member of the Jets. Steen played his entire NHL career with the Jets. In 14 seasons, Steen amassed 817 points and is second all-time in franchise history. Both players' numbers are retired with the Coyotes.
The front of his mask displays the three crowns of the Swedish national team while the back of the helmet bears the Latin words "vini vidi vici" which in English means "We came, We saw, We conquered."
This is not the first time Tellqvist has worn a mask with hockey legends painted on it. When the Coyotes netminder first entered the NHL, as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs, he wore a mask with Leafs legends and Hall of Famer's Johnny Bower and fellow countryman Borje Salming.
Salming played 15 seasons with the Leafs posting 148 goals, 620 assists, totaling 768 points before finishing his career with the Detroit Red Wings. Bower played in 15 NHL seasons amassing a 250-195-90 record with a 2.51 goals against average.
In addition to Mikael Tellqvist, Dave Gunnersson also produces masks for a growing number of NHL goaltenders including Marty Turco, Henrik Lundqvist, Kevin Weeks, Martin Biron, Johan Hedberg, Johan Holmqvist, Fredrik Norrena, Hannu Toivonen, Nolan Schaefar, Mike Leighton and Dan Ellis.
To view all of Mikael Tellqvist's masks you can visit www.DaveArt.com.