Goalies hold a special, if not nebulous, place in the hearts of hockey fans and players alike. The solitary nature of the position itself makes them stand out from the rest of the team by default, as does their large, billowing collection of rectangles adorning the team’s standard uniform. Often, goalies have a different personality from the rest of their teammates and as fans we can get a sense of their individuality based on their freedom to express themselves with custom designed gear.
As much as goaltending has the capacity for radical aesthetic individualism, a large portion has given way to convention, stylistically with the prevalence of the butterfly technique, as well as aesthetically with the debatable psychology behind the predominantly white pads. Yes, over the years we’ve seen the mould broken, Dominik Hasek was a truly avant garde artist of puck stopping, while current Buffalo Sabres starter Craig Anderson spots bold designs imagined by his child. Often the results are more subtle, as is the case with Soup and Stu, Oilers’ goalies Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at the setup our Oilers netminders will be sporting to start the 2022–23 season.
Campbell’s simplistic yet modern gear
Despite a very modern look, both in the minimalistic pads colouring and the detailed styling of the mask’s paint job, there is something bold and simple about this look from Jack Campbell.
Starting with the helmet, there are some key features we can use to distinguish Campbell’s mask by looks alone. The jaw has “OILERS” in white against a dark blue, written large enough to read from a distance down either side. Campbell’s number 36 finds itself dead centre, directly adorning the chin in an orange looping font, a clear separator of the word marks.
On either side of his mask’s forehead is the oil drop alternate logo we are expecting to see more of this season (Spoilers!). Given the placement and shape of these logos, it is hard not to see them as eyes, perhaps to mesmerise opponents. We’ve seen several classic animal inspired mask designs use this trope, famously Curtis Joseph or more recently Pekka Rinne. In this context the mask does look a bit skeletal, the white bone structure with glowing orange eyes peering into the minds of opposing shooters.
An orange tuft appears down the middle of the top, tying the symmetrical design together.
Campbell’s pads are about as simple as possible, all white except for a few scarce details. The Vaughn make sees the word marked in orange, with but a single thin stripe of blue snaking about the approximate centre of the pads and blocker. The catching glove has a bit more blue, with the rim of the mesh featuring prominently.
Stuey’s signature look
Stuart Skinner’s set up definitely bears some resemblance to Campbell’s, although there are enough differences to tell them apart from a distance.
Most obvious is that although Skinner’s pads are mostly white, they feature orange striping instead of blue. The striping is much thicker than those on Campbell’s pads, diagonally across the bottom third of each piece of equipment. These also feature a small blue highlight functioning as a shadowing on the orange stripes. CCM is written in both blue and orange.
There are more similarities to Campbell’s setup when we look at Skinner’s mask. The chin is a common location for an expression of individuality, Skinner opting for “Stuey” in an orange cursive. In all, Skinner’s mask has more detail. The Oil drop logo is present, this time on either ear, and using a grey and blue gear as a background, a fourth colour after the blue, orange, and white.
The top sees orange bubbles, liquid gold some might say, floating up over a blue tuft. It’s definitely a bit harder to tell exactly what is going on with this mask from a distance compared to Campbell’s, but it’s enough that we can tell who is who.
Both goalies fit right in with the team
In all both these looks are fairly safe and should fit nicely no matter which uniforms the Oilers don on a given night. This includes the Reverse Retros which should bear the oil drip logo both goalies featured heavily in their mask designs.
In a sense, this does mirror the characterisation one might use for the level of play that the duo is required to perform at this season. The wheel does not need reinventing here, as the Oilers should not require a Vezina-like effort from the duo to achieve their goals. Quite the opposite, the goalies should blend into a Jennings-like effort from the team as a whole.
Goalie gear photos from @EdmontonOilers Twitter
Featured photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire