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The Desert Dog Blog: Smith's New Mask is Based on Wile E. Coyote

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes
GLENDALE – Mike Smith’s new mask is finished and is on its way to the Coyotes goaltender.

Photo by David Arrigo
David Arrigo, a Toronto-based artist, told me he recently completed the first of Smith’s two new Coyotes masks and shipped it to Smith today so he would have it in time for the start of training camp in a few weeks.

Arrigo designed and painted a mask for Smith when he was with the Dallas Stars and designed and painted several masks for Smith when he was with the Tampa Bay Lightning. After signing with Phoenix on July 1, Smith reached out to Arrigo and asked him to create a mask design with a Wile E. Coyote theme for his new job in Arizona.

“He wanted to make sure it was unlike anything that had been done in the past, and this is nothing like anything that has been done in the past, that’s for sure,” Arrigo said.

Arrigo, 40, said he and Smith brainstormed the mask’s design over the summer and kept in contact as the actual work was done over a three-day span.

Photos by David Arrigo.
“When I showed Mike the final product he was ecstatic about it,” Arrigo said. “I am too.”

Arrigo also designs masks for Coyotes goaltender Jason LaBarbera. He is currently working on a new, patriotic mask for LaBarbera that Arrigo said Arizona sports fans in particular will enjoy and appreciate.

Arrigo’s other NHL clients include Montreal’s Carey Price, San Jose’s Antti Niemi and Pittsburgh’s Brent Johnson.

But Smith, who recently did an exclusive interview with, was his first.

Mike Smith is really the reason why I am painting goalie masks,” Arrigo told me. “My background had been doing sports murals, and I had worked with the NHL for many years. But about four years ago at the NHL All-Star Game in Dallas, I was doing a large mural and Mike’s father approached me and asked me if I painted masks. I told him I did not, and he said when we get
Photo by David Arrigo
back to Toronto I am going to get you one of Mike’s blank masks and you can start doing masks. It was really a challenge for me because I hadn’t done a mask before and I was kind of nervous about it. But it all worked out and I’ve been painting Mike’s masks ever since.”

FYI, the "A. Smith" painted on the back of the mask stands for Aksel Smith, the son Mike and his wife Brigitte welcomed this summer. Aksel is their first child. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Click here to see more photos of Smith's new mask at

►Contact Dave Vest via e-mail at and follow him on Twitter @davest4yotes.
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