Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Man in the Iron Maiden mask

Mason paying tribute to metal masters

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Chris Mason will be rocking a new mask when he skates into the crease for the first time as a Winnipeg Jet.

Mason, the veteran netminder, told InGoal Magazine this week he'll be wearing a mask painted by Steve Nash of Eyecandyair that features the Jets' new logo and a tribute to heavy-metal masters Iron Maiden.

"We went back and forth, lots of phone calls, and I sent Steve some sketches and he did some art and we mulled over a bunch of different ideas," Mason said in an interview with InGoal. "Then he came up with the Iron Maiden Eddie (the band's mascot) in the old fighter jet and I thought it was perfect. I loved the image and thought that was really appropriate for the Jets.

"I'm a fan of a few songs. 'Aces High' is one song I really like, so it's kind of perfect."

Iron Maiden's Eddie first appeared on the Aces High album cover and was originally created by one of Nash's favourite artists, Derek Riggs.

The chin on Mason's mask will feature the Jets' logo and include his number, 50, with the wings extending from the front along the sides of the headgear.

"I think it looks awesome with the maple leaf behind the jet," Mason said. "I'm a big fan of the logo, and I just love having the maple leaf on my mask, so I'm really excited about that."

The back plate features an eagle with the family name spelled out on the wings and is a tribute to his family. Mason is expecting his second daughter in October.

"Steve came up with an eagle family done in native art style," said Mason. "It's a mother eagle protecting her two young children with sky in background. I think it just looks awesome."

Interestingly, Mason -- a product of Red Deer -- said one of his favourite goalies when he was growing up was former Jet Bob Essensa. And he's got a few ideas if the franchise trots out their old colours over the next few years, although that apparently isn't in the plans for 2011-12.

"I was definitely Bob Essensa on the driveway a lot," said Mason. "So if they do a third jersey with something like that I would have definitely one something like his or close to his because I loved his masks."

 

Mason has been pro-Winnipeg since the franchise relocation from Atlanta became official in late May, stating several times to a number of news outlets the return to a Canadian market is exciting. It's a message he repeated in this latest interview.

"It's home, or close to home, and any athlete would jump at the opportunity to play close to home, especially getting later in a career, having a couple young children, and being so accessible to our family," he said. "I'm so excited to get to Winnipeg. I've always wanted to play in Canada. I know it might not be the most popular answer for people in Atlanta but that's how I feel.

"It was tough in Atlanta because in my opinion it just wasn't an optimal hockey market. The fans there were awesome but there just wasn't a broad range of support, so it was tough some nights to have that feeling it didn't matter so much and hockey wasn't the most important thing. Going to Winnipeg, you're not going to have that feeling at all. It's going to be everywhere, it's going to be the opposite spectrum."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2011 B2

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