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41 years later, Bernie Parent reunited with his mask

Jun 7, 2012, 8:15 AM EDT

2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Alumni Game Getty Images

On April 8, 1971 something truly bizarre happened: Bernie Parent’s mask was thrown into the Madison Square Garden crowd during a scrum when Parent was with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Parent didn’t have a backup mask, so he had to give way to goalie mask trailblazer Jacques Plante. It was a strange story, but Frank Seravalli reports that Parent will finally be reunited with that mask.

Seravalli reports that the mask first sprouted up in a 2006 auction and now a private collector wants Parent to verify it. Parent will go one step further, though, as he’ll hand-deliver that old mask to the collector, who will eventually give it to the Hockey Hall of Fame once he dies. (Apparently the HHOF doesn’t “accept loans.”)

Parent didn’t expect to even recognize his old mask, yet he told Seravalli that he instantly did. (He’s pictured with his standard model with the Flyers in the photo.) In fact, Parent said that the mask still fits, completing a rather strange story.

“The first thing I wanted to do when I saw the mask was to call Hadfield and say, ‘Thanks,’” Parent said. “It was a huge pain to get a new mask, it takes 6 to 8 months to get a new one molded and cured. You always wonder what happened to it. Now, after 41 years, it’s here. Life is full of surprises.”

(H/T to Joe Pelletier)

  1. govtminion - Jun 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I don’t know why I laughed to hard at this story, but I did. Maybe it’s the sheer absurdity of the moment- someone threw his mask in the crowd? Awesome!

    • groess - Jun 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Yeah, Vic Hadfield apparently.
      Great story.

      • obwleafer - Jun 7, 2012 at 4:16 PM

        April 8, 1971 – Stanley Cup Quarterfinals – Game 2. Watching that game with my Dad, I thought he was going to jump through the TV screen and choke Vic to death….lol
        Hadfield was involved in 3 different fights that night. The last one started a bench clearer, that’s why Bernie’s mask was laying on the ice. Leafs won 4-1.

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