This cardboard goalie mask was given away at the 42nd NHL All-Star Game, hosted at the Chicago Stadium on Saturday, January 19, 1991. I believe these masks were not handed out upon entry, but instead put on all the seats at the Stadium ahead of time. However, my memory of 30 years ago is kind of fuzzy now. It’s a good thing I blogged about this game in 2011, as I remembered more back then. Now, if only my blog had existed in 1991.
Anyway, it is somewhat of a miracle that this mask survived in my collection the past three decades. What is even more amazing, though, is that I managed to get this goalie mask out of the All-Star Game in one piece and without any tears or creases. Now that I think about it, I do remember many of these masks littering the floor of old Chicago Stadium when the All-Star Game was over. It’s like people weren’t even trying.
The mask is quite large, measuring 14″ wide by 14.5″ tall; too big to be completely tucked into my All-Star Game program to keep it flat, though that is what I did, keeping most of the mask covered and hoping that someone’s beer — not mine, because I was only 15 — or soda wouldn’t get spilled all over it. The mask is made of thin, cheap cardboard that is flimsier than a Pro Set card. Again, quite the accomplishment to get this out of Chicago Stadium unblemished.
Despite the mask’s lack of structural integrity, it is actually designed pretty well. There are six slots along the strap so that it can be adjusted to fit heads of all sizes.
And while you might think that this mask was only intended for kids, I’ll be the first to point out –and demonstrate — that it fits an adult-sized noggin quite nicely, even wrapping around the sides and covering your ears.
The mask was a promotion by McDonalds, which is pretty obvious from the giant yellow “M” on the front. Also adorning the mask are the 42nd NHL All-Star Game logo and half of a yellow sun. I have no idea why there is a sun on this mask. I don’t think it was intended to be the sun character from the McDonald’s commercials. That being said, I’m not sure why the mask is an old style “Jason” mask, either, since the design fell out of favor in the early 1980s and no goalies were using it by 1991.
Despite the mask instructing us to cleverly “Put your face on when there’s a face-off,” on the front, it is also — albeit, more subtly along the strap — states that “This mask is not a safety protective device and should not be used in sports activity.” Make up your mind, McDonald’s!
One other bit of fine print reminds us that “Ronald McDonald Children’s Charities is the Official Charity of the 1991 NHL ALL-STAR GAME.”
Mad respect for RMC, but what I really want to know is if the 1991 NHL All-Star Game had official floor tiles, floppy disks or fruit-flavored snacks. Speaking of which, why aren’t Gummi Pucks a thing — and would this mask be strong enough to stop one?
Follow Sal Barry on Twitter @PuckJunk. ■