Friday, February 22, 2013

The Legendary Jacques Plante

The innovator who dared to be different

Legendary hockey goaltender Jacques Plante was truly a unique man, a pioneer of the game. Plante broke with tradition and changed hockey forever with his most recognizable innovation (the goalie mask). He started wearing crude fiberglass prototype masks in 1956 while practicing, although not during regulation games as his coach Toe Blake was against him using a mask. It was on November 1,1959 playing against the New York Rangers when Jacques changed the game forever. After being hit in the face by a shot from Andy Bathgate, Plante made his way to the Canadiens dressing room for stitching. Upon returning to the ice after a twenty one minute delay he was wearing a crude mask and coach Toe Blake was furious. Jacques refused to play unless he was wearing the mask. Blake had no other choice without back-up goalies at that time other than to let Jacques wear the mask and agreed upon the condition that the mask was to go when the cut healed. The Canadiens went on to win the game 3-1.

It was at this time that Plante decided that these facial injuries could be prevented. Even  amongst ridicule from his peers,  Jacques refused to remove the mask and the Canadiens went on to an incredible 18 game unbeaten streak. Blake didn't seem to mind. Although, during a game against Detroit on March 8, 1960 Blake requested the mask come off and the Canadiens lost 3-0. Following that game the mask returned forever. Plante was the first goaltender to consistently wear a mask during regulation play, paving the way for goaltenders today. 

Jacques Plante retired from hockey in 1975. He moved to Switzerland while remaining active as a goaltender trainer, adviser and analyst. In 1978 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Sadly in 1985 Plante was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer. He later died in a Geneva hospital in February 1986 and was buried in Sierre, Switzerland.

Jacques Plante dared to be different, going against traditions to become one of the greatest innovators in the game. Through his courage and determination Plante changed hockey forever. The time for change had come and Jacques took it head on. Many of Jacques' immense contributions to hockey as an innovator and player remain today. Dare to be different.


Hogan Hockey has been a pioneer in the development of cut-resistant hockey products. We are particularly concerned about skate blade injuries. These types of injuries are the results of accidents and can be prevented or minimized. Since inception our products have been worn at the Pro, Junior and Collegiate levels. These elite players have given our products validation by choosing to wear them for their combined benefit of comfort as well as protection. Wearing any of our  XH SERIES ACHILLES®  cut-resistant products will help reduce the risk of these types of injuries before they happen.

 Play Smart....Protect yourself from CUTS!!