You’ll have to forgive Jessica Tran and Aiden Scott Rose for cheering anytime an opponent gets a shot on the Canadian net at the upcoming 2016 IIHF World
Because every time that Mackenzie Blackwood, Mason McDonald or Samuel Montembeault is called upon to make a save, that’s one more chance the two young
artists have to see their creations on display.
Tran, 17, and Rose, 12, are this year’s winners of the Boston Pizza and Bauer Design-a-Mask contest. The contest, now in its 13th year, invites young fans
to try their hands at designing the masks that the goalies for Canada’s National Junior Team will wear at the world juniors.
More than 500 designs were submitted, with Tran winning in the 13-to-18 category, and Rose the 12-and-under age group.
Tran’s design was inspired by her home in the Rockies. “I did mountains because they symbolize overcoming obstacles,” says Tran, who’s from Calgary, Alta.
“I thought the goaltending position was the hardest position, so they face obstacles. I’m going to be really excited and really happy to see my design worn
by Team Canada’s goalies.”
McDonald will wear a black-background-based version of Tran’s design, while Montembeault has a white version.
”It’s good to have a reminder on the mask of what it’s like back home,” says McDonald, “and to [be able to] look at it every time I’m putting it on will be
special. The kids put a lot of thought into them. It’s great that they did that for us.”
Rose, who’s from Langford, B.C., drew upon two symbols of pure Canadiana – the moose and the beaver – for his mask, which will be worn by Blackwood. After
spending three weeks on his design – which went through “many, many, many drafts,” he says – Rose lit up when talking about what will be running through
his mind when watching this year’s world juniors.
”That I actually designed [an] original mask and that’s really cool because you don’t get that all the time,” he says. “That’s like a once-in-a-lifetime
“I thought it was really cool that the kids could create something so special that resembles home so much,” says Blackwood. “It’s really cool that they had
the opportunity to design it and [they] probably did a better job than anything I could ever put together.”
Tran and Rose will receive their own duplicate masks, autographed by the goaltenders, a trip for two to a game at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship
and a $50 Boston Pizza gift card. At Monday’s mask unveiling in Toronto, Ont., the duo got the new Hockey Canada jerseys they were sporting for the
occasion – another of their prizes – signed by the three goaltenders.
Monday’s event was more of a casual get-together. Once the three goaltenders saw the two kids sitting behind them, they made a beeline to say hello,
compliment them on their designs and have a chuckle at their own inartistic expenses.
At one point, once the official program began, all three goalies – casually dressed in tracksuits and sneakers – donned their masks for a photo op.
“It probably looks weird, eh?” laughed Blackwood.
It takes artist David Arrigo about three days to paint each mask. “Each year [the entries] are unique in their own way and this year I was especially happy
with how the concepts came out,” says Arrigo, who’s painted the Design-a-Mask winners for the past 10 years. “The whole idea of the Northern Lights to the
mountains, I thought it would be a lot of fun to just put them on to the mask and bring them to life.”
Hockey Canada, Boston Pizza and Bauer – Hockey Canada’s exclusive mask provider – put the call out to kids in September, inviting them to be a special part
of Team Canada at the world juniors. Entry forms were available on the Hockey Canada website, as well as in Boston Pizza locations across the country.
“Our goal with this contest is to give young Canadians across the country the opportunity to be a part of an IIHF World Junior Championship,” says Caley
French, marketing manager, sports bar and sponsorship, with Boston Pizza International. “We’re very proud of our winners this year and very pleased that
their designs are going to be showcased at a global level.”