Eddie Lack should pick the sparkly pony mask (and frankly, he might)

David Booth got a lot of attention early last season when John Tortorella went on record as saying the winger was “a weird dude”. But he’s hardly the only one of those the Canucks have.

Starting netminder Eddie Lack is an equally weird dude, as evidenced by the video introducing his latest mask design contest, in which he’s unashamedly holding an adorable Fin plushie:

But the more I think about it, the more I think this goes beyond weird.

Can we just talk for a moment about how subversive this actually is? In a sport obsessed with toughness and testosterone, whose talking heads express a fear of “pansification”, where the worst thing you can be is soft, and where Swedes like Lack are routinely accused of having this fatal character flaw woven into their damnable Euro DNA, Lack has no issues with tucking a stuffed animal under his arm as though he just happened to walk into the Canucks team store with it, like maybe he carries it around with him at all times for security. He doesn’t comment on it. He doesn’t treat it like a prop. It’s just there.

It’s funny, but it’s also a pretty gutsy move for an athlete, especially one that’s just breaking into the NHL.

Lack’s been like this for ages. He’s been carrying on a “bromance” with Roberto Luongo for ages — one that’s continued, hilariously, right into this competition:

 

Same goes for Lack’s facetious “obsession” with teammate Chris Tanev, a running gag that got its start when the two were teammates in the AHL.

 

A little later on, we got a picture of the full wall:

 

Which led to the best idea ever, courtesy hilarious Canucks fan Gráinne:

 

Yes please. Either his full face, or just a bunch of little Tanev faces, like this prototype:

 

It’s been interesting to see how Lack’s comfort with stuff that’s usually perceived as childish, or  even “girly” — and thus avoided by men afraid to have their manness questioned — has led to an uptick in mask designs with a distinctly more female (from a “gendered” perspective) sensibility.

My favourite comes from Ali Lawrence, who runs one of my favourite Tumblrs, the hockey-players-as-ponies My Little Blackhawk:

(I think Ali’s just the best, but full disclosure: I’m biased. She drew me as a pony.)

The great thing, though, is that it feels like Lack might actually give masks like these some thought.

While most goalies go for headgear covered in stuff that screams “tough dude” — flames! skulls! lightning! — Lack has never seemed overly concerned with how he’s perceived. His 2012 mask, titled, I kid you not, “Waterfun with Wolfy and Orca“, featured two original cartoon characters that he had commissioned especially for the mask.

These are little things Lack is doing, but they’re important things because they’re quietly subversive, and inclusive, too. Rather than carefully maintain and assert his masculinity by shunning anything that doesn’t reinforce it, something men are told to do from the moment they’re born, and something hockey players are expected to do in the extreme, Lack seems to have realized that, at the end of the day, if he stops a lot of pucks, no one else much cares what he’s into. It’s great, and if the You Can Play movement continues to pave the way, it’s the future of sport.

All of this is to say: part of me actually hopes he picks the pony mask.

8 comments

  1. Sarah
    May 27, 2014

    Eddie Lack is just delightful. How do the Canucks keep finding wonderfully personable goaltenders?

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  2. Sarah
    May 27, 2014

    Eddie is a delight

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  3. jrc
    May 27, 2014

    Notwithstanding the extremely creepy non-blinking in the video, Eddie Lack is a class act. One of the reasons I love this team, and I ignore those who pettily disparage this team’s decency or collective personality, is that our players express their individual personalities, their humour, and their and a certain realness. Whether Bieksa is pointing out the inanity of the Jeff O’Neill show or being generally witty and funny, whether Lack is holding a stuffed Orca or unselfconsciously playing up the Luongo and Tanev bromance subplots, or FunnyLou takes a step outside the fracas to be a decent guy both here and in Florida, this is a team with who I genuinely want to identify. I can’t play hockey like they do, and can’t claim their professional victories as my own. I can, however, boast that their personalities as we see here represent the city I’ve made my home. When we see this, they are not merely hired champions – gladiators, effectively – but welcome representatives. I expect this will only increase with Admiral Linden helming the fleet.

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    Rating: +26 (from 28 votes)
  4. Art
    May 27, 2014

    As someone with a lot of animosity toward the Canucks, I find it really annoying that Canucks goalies keep turning out to be such incredibly likable and entertaining people. It’s very inconvenient.

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  5. Noodle
    May 27, 2014

    Amen, Harrison. Eddie is clearly not afraid to be himself. Can’t help but hope for a successful career for a guy like that.

    And credit to the Canucks – they usually come off as corporate and a bit cold/robotic in the way they market themselves, but they let Eddie do his thing and be who he is in videos they post of him.

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  6. tj
    May 27, 2014

    Bromances, ponies… Bronies. It’s a funny/odd world…

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    Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)
  7. cathylu
    May 27, 2014

    I have to admit I submitted an entry. I’ll let you know if I win. (Pick mine Eddie! Pick mine! – oh wait did I say that out loud?) But I did get a big laugh out of Lu’s design.

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  8. tom selleck's moustache
    May 28, 2014

    The ponies mask is good; but, IMHO, either incarnation of the Tanev designs would be AWESOME, with Loungo’s design a close second. If you’re going to go “non-manly” with your design, I say go full bore.

    And I second the observation on Lack and the plush doll. I love how he’s got it there like it’s no big thing. Great stuff.

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