Putting pop culture references on goalie masks is a time-honored tradition. They’re basically the car bumpers of pro sports, only with fewer references to Honor Students beating each other up.
We’ve seen movie characters and musicians and wrestlers painted onto goalie masks, and not just Jason LaBarbera's. It's usually because the netminder is a fan or draws inspiration from them.
But sometimes, one comes along that leaves you delightfully baffled as to its origins. Like one someone who mashes up McDonald’s and MAD Magazine.
Andrew Hammond is a goalie in the Ottawa Senators system. He played 48 games in Binghamton last season and had a 35-minute cup of coffee with the Sens. Before that, he was a goalie at Bowling Green University.
In an interview with InGoal, Bartziokas mentioned that it was what Hammond’s teammates called him at Bowling Green, in addition to “Hammy” (spelled out along the chin of the mask). When painting the cartoon character, Bartziokas “wanted to give it a little bit of life, and… drew some Alfred E. Neuman reference from that too. I thought the red hair was similar and I changed the two buckteeth to one tooth.
”Initially, the drawing was going to have a cheeseburger sailing into the catcher’s mitt, but apparently Andrew said ‘he would be razzed by his goalie coach, so we just went with a puck.’ Well, puck or Big Mac cheeseburger, the mask looks fantastic.
Finally, a goalie mask that dares to ask, “What, me worry about pathologically stealing hamburgers?”
Pretty odd, but also pretty awesome. Honestly, the Hamburglar might be one of the great untapped pop culture images for an athlete tasked with both robbery and obsessively collecting black discs.
That said, we’re waiting for someone to really adopt the MAD Magazine aesthetic, and create goalie pads that, when folded together, make a joke image.