VANCOUVER — Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask made sure the New England Patriots weren't forgotten when their home at Gillette Stadium becomes the center of the hockey universe for the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (1 p.m ET.; NBC, SN, TVAS).
Rask unveiled a beautiful new mask Thursday featuring superstar Patriots quarterback Tom Brady prominently on the left side and tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Julian Edelman and kicker Stephen Gostkowski on the other. Gostkowski is a big supporter of the Bruins and has attended numerous games at TD Garden.
PHOTOS: Tuukka Rask's Classic mask
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask pays tribute to the New England Patriots with his 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic mask. (Courtesy of Sylabrush.com)
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"We wanted to pay tribute to their success and some of their players," Rask told the Bruins website.
Rask and assistant equipment manager Matt Falconer came up with the concept, and Quebec artist Sylvie Marsolais of Sylabrush executed the painting, which also includes Pat the Patriots mascot on the forehead and the old Boston Garden on the back.
"The Bruins ordered us to paint a realistic Patriots tribute," said Marsolais, who also painted the Winter Classic mask for new Montreal Canadiens goaltender Ben Scrivens. "A lot of sketching and tweaking went in that paint job."
There are snowflakes glistening around Rask's name on the chin, and images of a hockey rink in Gillette Stadium along with reflective Winter Classic logos in the background behind Brady and his teammates. The backplate ties the themes of winter memories together with an image of the old Boston Garden and silhouettes of fans walking through the snow in front on their way into the Bruins' old home.