Sports

Vikings mask goes viral

By Josh Aldrich, Camrose Canadian

Augustana Vikings goalie Zach deGraves shows off his new mask that went viral on social media. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian

Augustana Vikings goalie Zach deGraves shows off his new mask that went viral on social media. Josh Aldrich/ Camrose Canadian

You know a hockey player finally feels comfortable in a location when he decides to customize his equipment for the team he is playing for. 

 

University of Alberta-Augustana goalie Zach deGraves received his new goalie mask a couple of weeks ago, but on Wednesday it went viral when artist Dave Fried of Friedesigns put it out on his Instagram account. The posting was picked up by BarDown (TSN’s hockey social media website) and has been spread out through the hockey world in amongst the new masks of NHL goalies like Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators and Anton Khudobin of the Boston Bruins. 

“It was a bit shocking,” he said. “Every day you post it on your own Instagram and you don’t expect it to go anywhere, and someone picked up on my painter’s Instagram and it blew up pretty quickly.” 

DeGraves played on three different junior hockey teams in three years before landing with the Vikings prior to the start of the 2016-17 Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference season. 

The new mask is painted up with Vikings colours and their logos, but what grabbed the attention of the masses was the inclusion of his favourite cartoon character, Peter Griffin of Family Guy wielding a goalie stick above his head and wearing a horned Viking helmet. He got the idea from Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek who has a Peter Griffin in a Super Man costume on the side of his helmet. 

“It’s one of my favourite shows, I watch it almost every day, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate a little humour in the mask,” said deGraves.

“(Peter Griffin is) a buffoon in all reality, he likes to live life.” 

The Edmonton native settled on the design in the spring and it took about three weeks for Fried to paint up this summer. 

Fried took the concept and ran with it, adding in some cool graphical details, some which can only be seen upon close

examination. 

“This is my first mask painting, I’ve never been on a team long enough to actually get something done, so I figured I’d take the opportunity to do it,” said deGraves, who plans to play all five years of his eligibility for the Vikings. 

DeGraves also had Fried add some more personal touches on the back panel of the helmet including the logos of the three junior teams he played for — West Central Rage, the Melfort Mustangs, Swan Valley Stampeders — and tributes to people who played important roles in his life. 

There is a No. 3 in remembrance of Derek Swavic, a former teammate who died when he was 16 after losing his battle with cancer. There are the initials L.D. for his grandma Lori deGraves who died from lung cancer when he was in Grade 8, and an Oilers Jersey with No. 42 for his grandfather Terry Albury who died from a stroke this summer.  

It’s his way of taking them out on the ice with him every practice and game. 

“He was a huge hockey fan, he came to a lot of hockey games last year and followed me all the way to Manitoba to watch games in Melfort and Swan River,” said deGraves. “He was really dedicated and happy to watch me all the time.” 

With the Vikings, deGraves finds himself in a logjam at the position with all three goalies of ACAC starting calibre, including reigning team MVP Curtis Skip. 

DeGraves was supposed to red-shirt last year, but due to an injury to incumbent starting goalie Harry Fredeman, he got into two games in January, winning both games and stopping 63 of 65 shots in the two starts. 

This year, all three are back, though an injury to Fredeman in training camp may open up an opportunity for deGraves to get some more ice time.  

“I think it will be a good mix,” he said. “I did a lot of training and working out and stayed on the ice as much as I could.” 

 

jaldrich@postmedia.com 

 



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