During his distinguished NHL career, two-time Stanley Cup champion and Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie Parent might best be remembered for wearing a plain white mask, with just two or three Flyers decals on there.
No fancy paint jobs, no designs -- simple and plain.
That will change in a few weeks when Parent joins other former Flyers on the ice Dec. 31 for the Winter Classic Alumni Game against the New York Rangers.
While Parent will wear the mask he became famous in when the puck drops New Year's Eve at Citizens Bank Park, he has commissioned Drummond Custom Airbrushing to create a one-of-a-kind mask that Parent will wear during practice for the alumni game and during pre-game warm-ups.
Franny Drummond, a 38-year-old life-long Flyers fan, will create two identical masks for Parent, each of which he will autograph and auction off to raise money for charity.
While it will take Drummond a week's worth of 10-hour days to create each of Parent's masks, it's a job he relishes.
"Doing his mask, it's a true honor," Drummond told NHL.com during a break from work in his studio in Langhorne, Pa., a town about 40 minutes northeast of Philadelphia. "It's not the one that he's actually going to wear in the game, but I'll take anything. I'll do whatever I can to paint. When I see it in here in the shop at night time, it's like, 'Wow, that's Bernie Parent's and he's going to wear this.'"
The masks Drummond is painting are replicas of the mask Parent wore during his playing days. Only these will have far more than a few tiny Flyers logos.
"Basically he told us that he'd really like Philadelphia on there," Drummond said. "He'd really like to put everything that he was about on the mask.
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That includes the two Stanley Cups and two Vezina trophies Parent won, as well as his famed Time magazine cover plus shots of Parent in action. Across the chin line will be the phrase, "Only the Lord saves more than Bernie Parent," a popular bumper sticker in the Philadelphia area during the height of Parent's career.
And to keep with the old-time motif, Drummond is going to paint everything in black and white.
"Just classic Bernie shots," Drummond said. "We're going to do all black and white, which I think will keep the whole nostalgia of the white mask."
In addition to Parent's mask, Drummond also is painting special Winter Classic masks for Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov
as well as Neil Little, who will be Parent's backup at the alumni game.
Bryzgalov's mask will be a tribute to legends of Philadelphia sports, which was the netminder's idea. On one side will be pictures of the Phillies' Mike Schmidt and the Eagles' Reggie White, with images of Veterans Stadium in the background. The other side will feature the 76ers' Julius Erving and Flyers legend Bobby Clarke, with images of the Spectrum in the background.
The backplate of the mask will have late boxing champion Joe Frazier on one side and famed Flyers anthem singer Kate Smith on the other. Also on the mask will be Flyers Hall of Fame broadcaster Gene Hart's famed catchphrase, "Good night and good hockey."
On the chin will be the Phillie Phanatic holding an orange and black Flyers pennant that says "Bryz" on it. Selling that design element to Bryzgalov proved to be a bit of a challenge.
"He wasn't sure who the Phillie Phanatic was," Drummond said. "I had (Scott) Hartnell and JVR (James van Riemsdyk
) help me out with that one. We explained to him who the Phanatic was … the best mascot ever."
And just like Parent's mask, Bryzgalov's will be worn just for the Classic, then autographed and auctioned for charity.
"I always wanted to take my talent and move it into hockey," Drummond said. "I've done goalie masks for colleges and kids, but never on a level like this."
-- Franny Drummond of Drummond Custom Airbrushing
"There's a lot of detail," Drummond said of Bryzgalov's mask. "We put the Vet in there with the little Liberty Bell. … When someone does get this mask, a true Philly fan, everything's on there. On one side we're going to put the Spectrum in the back. We want people to really appreciate Philly (sports) history."
This isn't the first time Drummond has painted a mask for a Philadelphia goalie. A painting he made of former Flyers Riley Cote and Dave Schultz for a Cote charity event caught the attention of Ray Emery when he played for the Flyers during the 2009-10 season. Emery asked Drummond to design a mask for him for the 2010 Winter Classic, but that never got used when Emery was injured.
Flyers equipment manager Derek Settlemyre also was impressed, and when Michael Leighton arrived that season and needed a mask for the Winter Classic, he called Drummond.
"We found out a couple days before that Leighton was coming in," Drummond said, "and we designed one kind of around the Winter Classic but that he could keep for the whole entire season. We just kept the Winter Classic small on the chin."
Since then he's painted masks for former Flyer and current Hurricane Brian Boucher, Boston's Tuukka Rask and Bryzgalov's first mask when he came to Philadelphia, a history-themed model that included images of Benjamin Franklin and Betsy Ross.
Drummond started his professional art career by painting sport bikes and motorcycles, but said he always has wanted to combine his art skills with hockey. Now he's a certified Bauer painter, which has opened him up for more hockey-related business.
"I always wanted to take my talent and move it into hockey," Drummond said. "I've done goalie masks for colleges and kids, but never on a level like this."Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor