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Duffer’s Dabbles: Giacomin’s Red Wings Mask Was Ahead Of Its Time



Ed Giacomin, Detroit Red Wings
The markings on the mask of Red Wings goalie Ed Giacomin were sponsored by Champion Spark Plug.

Watch some old video footage of a Detroit Red Wings game from the 1970s and the differences are stark. Visually, there’s no advertising anywhere to be seen. The ice is glistening with a bright sheen, the only markings coming from the lines dictated by the rules of the game. Black specks, the creation of players hammering pucks in or out of the zone, are all that are populating the boards.

When Detroit Red Wings goaltender Ed Giacomin was seeking to change this scenario. However, league officals ended up shooting down his ingenious plan.

It was during this week in 1975 that Giacomin, a Hall of Fame netminder who’d spent his entire career with the New York Rangers, made his debut for the Red Wings. As fate would have it, he did so at Madison Square Garden in a 6-4 victory over the Rangers.

Shortly thereafter, Giacomin went to mask designer Greg Harrison for the purpose of adding red flames coming off the eyeholes of his all-white mask. It turned out that Giacomin had signed a sponsorship deal with Champion Spark Plug. The dual red flames represented sparks.

The plan was also to include the tagline “Spark With Eddie” across the front of the mask, but the NHL nixed the idea.

These days, advertising is everywhere – on the ice, boards, helmets and jerseys. Guess it’s okay when it’s the owners who are making the money.

Witter Sits

The AHL is issuing Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Luke Witkowski a two game suspension as a consequence of a cross-checking incident in a game against the Milwaukee Admirals on October 30.

Witkowski will be missing Grand Rapids’ games Friday at Iowa and Saturday at Rockford.

Around The League

Pittsburgh: The Penguins are demoting struggling forward Kasperi Kapanen to the fourth line.

Montreal: Double good news for the Habs – goaltender Cary Price might be near a return, and they’ve got another game with the Red Wings next week.

Vancouver: Rallying for a 3-2 OT victory over the Rangers, the Canucks drew a spark from some remarkable saves by a gloveless Thatcher Demko.

Toronto: Speaking of highlight reels, check out this goal scored by Mitch Marner as the Leafs blanked the Vegas Golden Knights 4-0.

Detroit: Are the Red Wings suiting up the NHL’s top rookies? They are this month. Defenseman Moritz Seider is the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for October.