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The Story Behind The Helmets

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks
Goalies are popular players among fans for several reasons, with the primary one being that they can single-handedly decide the outcome of a game.

The other reason – the goalie mask.

Click here to view photos of the Sharks goalie helmets.

San Jose’s three current netminders, Evgeni Nabokov, Dimitri Patzold and Thomas Greiss, each have varying works of art on their masks that make them unique.

Nabokov’s has been relatively the same for several seasons, with the primary mark on each side being a sea creature of some sort holding a fish.

“I just told the guy to pick something,” said Nabokov.

Team Teal’s top backstop isn’t planning on any major changes.

“I’m comfortable with it and I don’t put too much thought into my mask,” said Nabokov.

However, those paying attention to the back of the cage will soon notice a discreet alteration.

“This year will be a little different,” said Nabokov. “There will be something for Warren (Strelow, the Sharks goaltending coach who passed away last season) and my kids.”

Greiss noted that his helmet will be undergoing a few changes, although he pretty much leaves it up to his designer.

Currently Greiss’ mask features the old Sharks logo on the front and the old fin logo on the back.

“I wanted something else this year,” said Greiss. “It would have had big jaws opening up, about to get a skier. That didn’t work out, so it will be another design.”

The backside of his mask features ties to his hometown.

“It’s the Bavarian state flag with the lions,” said Greiss.

Fans who want to see a true work of art should check out Patzold’s face protector. It is a virtual story without words.

“(On the right side) there is a diving cage with a whole in it and a loose oxygen tank floating to the top,” said Patzold. “There’s a diver’s mask going down.”

Then the story really gets good. The graphics at the bottom of the chin depicts a smiling shark with a leg sticking out of its mouth.

The entire left side is a giant wave. The backside still shows the Sharks fin logo and a mark memorizing Strelow.

Still with the outdated logos, something must change.

“A new one is coming,” said Patzold. “Something the fans can see from far away. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but it will be a big image.”

Patzold designed the current model, but is leaving it up to the designer this time.

“Every time I start thinking about it, I just waste so much time,” said Patzold. “It really doesn’t matter.”

But when it’s cool, it is one heck of a statement.

Netminding fans still gloriously discuss former Shark Kelly Hrudey’s goaltending pads that matched his mask.

Everyone has opinions on goaltending masks, but Ron Wilson’s favorite might have belonged to the original Sharks netminder, Brian Hayward.

“It might be Brian Hayward’s,” said Wilson. “It was one of the first times, it had a lot to do with the team.”

Sharks Vice President and Assistant General Manager Wayne Thomas, a former NHL netminder is a bit more old school.

“Simple as it is, I liked Gerry Cheevers’,” said Thomas.

Cheevers, who rose to fame in the 1960’s, simply had it covered with markings that looked like stitches to repair a cut.

Even though he has players skating strong trying to earn roster spots, Wilson is still a fan of his top two point producers leading by example.

“It’s important that Joe (Thronton) and Patty (Marleau) are playing like they are on a mission,” said Wilson.

Still, it’s not Marleau and Thornton that Wilson has to concern himself with. There are still a few cuts to make. Wilson feels that whoever ends up on the roster is more than just a streaking player.

“They’re called camp darlings, in that they end up starting the season here, but they drift a little (into the season),” said Wilson. “I don’t see that here, it’s just a couple of hard decisions. We had that in Washington and Anaheim where in the season, we had to say we were wrong.”

On Sunday, Oakland A’s super fan Jonathan Cheechoo and several teammates are going up for the A’s season finale. Cheechoo and Ryane Clowe may participate in throwing out the first pitch in a bit of an unconventional way. Let’s just say hockey sticks may be involved.

“I don’t mind shooting it,” said Cheechoo, also noting he may need to provide the catcher a goalie glove.

Fans interested in watch should tune in to FSN Plus at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Cheechoo is expected to join the broadcast booth during the third inning.

San Jose will host Calgary in their final preseason game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at HP Pavilion. Tickets are still available at the HP Pavilion Box Office and at The broadcast will be available on 98.5 KFOX and
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