It’s that time of year again, goalies.
The time has finally come for fresh paint, fresh lines, fresh gear, fresh goals, and fresh starts.
Regardless of whether or not the NHL drops the puck on October 11, the game of hockey as a whole is getting ready to kick off with another new season. Despite the bleak outlook on the NHL front, the goaltenders are preparing no differently. That includes breaking in and showing off brand new gloves, masks, and for some goalies, new identities as well.
When it comes to the authentic artwork created by Switzerland’s Airxess for Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller, there’s no denying that their ideas, designs, and themes are as fresh as they come. Creating a new identity for one of the world’s finest puck-stoppers may seem like a tedious task, but when you pair him up with one of the most creative mask artists in the world, ideas flow continuously.
Since 2008, thanks to our great friendship with Airxess owner Alec Voggel, we’ve been so very fortunate to witness and promote this continuous flow of Hiller’s new ideas and identities. From the early days with his first Tornado masks, to last season’s ultra-popular “Murdered-Out” black matted and special “Movember” masks, Hiller and Airxess never fail to prove that they’re one step ahead of the goalie mask design curve.
This season appears to be no different.
In what is a beautiful cascading combination of two previous Hiller mask designs, Airxess has successfully mixed his 2012 Winter Olympics mask with last season’s black matted mask to create a vivid hybrid of the two.
For those of you who remember Hiller’s performance for Switzerland in those Olympics, you will quickly understand why he chose to revive that mask’s design; he proved he was one of the most dominant goalies in the entire tournament.
“Hiller showed up [at the Airxess studio], and because his Olympics mask design was one of his favorites, he wanted his new one in the same style, and with the same composition, but with Anaheim Ducks icons,” Voggel said.
Customers and mask addicts have quickly come to love Airxess’ original work over the years due to the clean and bold look of each mask. Easy to see from afar, Hiller’s masks have been no different, as they always made a statement, regardless of the themes, colors, or designs.
The statement made by this mask? Hiller is mixing style with substance, and reviving the essence of a mask that he wore when he played some of the most impressive hockey of his life. After last season’s tumultuous first half, this time, he means business.
“Hiller wanted to represent the Honda Center and the California surfer’s lifestyle, and on the back, his Poseidon has returned! It wasn’t on his last mask, but now it is coming out from his number-one on the backplate in a very detailed way,” Alec explained. “Of course, the black is flat for all of the fans who wanted to see Hiller wearing a flat black mask again!”
You can add us to that list.
And what Airxess mask would be complete without some type of unique trademark artistry on it?
On this particular mask, all of the gold Ducks logos, plus the stripes on the crown, include a cool reflective gold effect, courtesy of Airxess’ Dan “The Man” Bongni. Alec made sure to mention that those were Dan’s specialty, and as you can see, Bongni certainly mastered them on Hiller’s new mask.
“The contrast of the gold on the flat black background will kick ass on TV,” Alec said. “Around the icons, there is even some shiny black paint, which gives the gold logos a cool 3-D effect and appearance. ”
As always, Hiller was impressed by the finished product, as you can see by his post on his Facebook page.
Along with the gold cage, the gold snaps, the Duck logo air vents and the small Swiss flag logos on either side, Hiller’s new mask pays tremendous attention to detail. The orange inner stroke around the entire mask helps frame this piece of authentic art in style, making it another quality Airxess masterpiece.
No matter who they work with, from pro goalies to beginners, Airxess always find a way to add one or two simple and clean elements that reflect the individuality of each customer and each mask.
We think this mask’s backplate is a perfect example of that unique individuality. We we’re really excited to see the return of Poseidon to Hiller’s mask, as that was essentially his signature piece of art. And again, with the black straps and the gold buckles, this thing is bold, beautiful, and totally unique.
When we first started promoting Airxess back in 2008, we were always so shocked and surprised at the quality of Voggel’s work. After knowing him for nearly five years, we can safely say that while we’re still shocked at his final products, we’re no longer surprised at the quality.
As we have witnessed time and time again, Voggel’s style, which is slightly ahead of his time, combined with Hiller’s concepts and ideas, is undeniably unique.
That’s what happens when you have the confidence to push the envelope of today’s mask artistry every single day.