There are few images in sports as intimidating as a professional hockey goalie.
They have the big pads, the stick and are, it is well acknowledged, overall tough guys. What could make a goalie look even more intimidating to would-be goal scorers?
How about a brightly painted mask featuring a bear with big claws and a gaping maw full of sharp teeth?
That is the image Bruin's goalie Tuukka Rask has been wearing since 2007, while he was still with the Boston Bruin's development team The Providence Bruins. That mask, which has a new iteration this season, was originally designed by Ron Slater, owner of Slater Lettering and Graphics in Woburn.
Rask wore Slater's mask through the 2010-2011 season, when he was the back-up goalie for the team during its Stanley Cup victory.
Check out the video above from PureHockey.com featuring an interview with Rask talking about the helmet, its design and why he kept it through so many seasons even after it was chipped and beat up.
Also visit Slater Lettering and Graphics' Facebook page for a full image gallery of the mask as it was being painted. The page also features Slater's other projects as well as information on the artist and ways to get in touch.
According to his web site, Slater has been working in graphic design for over a decade and has melded his love of sports and art to create a career for himself.
"Since 1998, Ron Slater has gained respect and admiration for many athletes who are seeking customized mask designs," the site states. "What started out as a hobby has now turned into his passion. His love of goal tending and art have collided to form intriguing designs found on each of his goalie masks. These custom painted masks feature recognizable, yet unique designs."
Slater doesn't only cater to professional athletes. He also designs masks for youth hockey and "beer-leaguers."
Slater also does custom signage and lettering, helmets for many sports,