Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The first mask was a crude leather one worn by Clint Benedict in the 1920s to protect a broken nose. Upon recovery from the injury, he never used it again. Jacques Plante was the first to wear a mask full-time after being struck in the face with a puck during a game in 1959. Although he faced some derision, Plante's fiberglass mask soon became the standard and a symbol of the game.
In addition, and especially when the popular mask was a fibreglass covering, goalies found it fashionable to give their mask distinctive decorations.
The advent of the goalie mask changed the way goaltenders play, allowing them to make more saves on their knees without fear of serious head injury. Prior to goalie masks, most goaltenders stayed standing as much as possible. In the modern era, an overwhelming majority of saves are made when the goaltender has one or both knees on the ice.
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