During a game against the N.Y. Rangers in N.Y. on the 1st of November 1959, 50 years ago, Jacques Plante was hit by a puck shot by Andry Bathgate requiring 7 stitches. Jacques told Toe Blake that he would come back to continue the game providing he could wear his practice mask and Toe accepted. There were no back up goalies at the time. The rest is history.
It was not considered matcho at the time to wear a goaly mask but Jacques persisted and revolusionized hockey.
Actually, Jacques was not the first goaly a wear a mask during a regular season This honor goes to a woman, ELIZABETH GRAHAM who was a goaly for the Queen's University, Toronto, on February 1927, who wore a mask under the insistance of her father after receiving dental treatment.
On the 7th of January 1930, goaly Clint Benedict of the Montreal Maroons, during a game against the Montreal Canadiens, was hit by a puck shot by famous Howie Morenz, results, a broken nose. He returned to play on the 20th of February wearing a leather mask.
I have skipped many details from this fine article in yesterday's "La Presse" and wich I have translated.