The University of Oklahoma Sooner’s hockey team opened their 2012-13 season this weekend with two matchups against the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. After the game I was fortunate to be able to photograph two of the goaltender masks belonging to Nick Holmes (red) and Louis Libin (white). (See more photographs below.)
Both masks are beautiful and display the University of Oklahoma emblems “OU” along the lower left and right sides, and carry the OU colors of Crimson and Cream. Holmes’ mask is outstanding with its vibrant crimson red that shines like a brilliant jewel on the ice. I dare you not to be distracted by that incredibly shiny mask! It is decorated very simply with two OU emblems on either side and a number 1 along the top crest with the word “Oklahoma” down the center alluding to the recent OU slogan “There’s only One Oklahoma.” The number 35 appears on the chin, and the back plate is a tribute to 9-11.
Libin’s mask portrays two detailed scenes from Oklahoma history that relates to the University of Oklahoma nickname Boomer Sooners. The term “Boomer Sooners” harks back to pre-statehood days when Oklahoma Territory was opened up for settlement. For a complete explanation of the land run and terms see SoonerSports.com. On the right side of the mask is a beautifully detailed grisaille illustration depicting a man aboard a racing covered wagon and on the left side, a seed sower based on the statue located on the OU campus representing Billy D. Elam, the university’s first president. Across the chin is the term “Boomer” and along the upper left “Oklahoma Sooners” appears above a state map encircled by a “tornado” puck. Libin’s back plate contains “Sooner Nation” on the left and the Canadian flag on the right which is only fitting since Libin hails from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
The mask artist and painter for Libin’s mask is Jason Bartziokas from Calgary. (He is on twitter
Thanks to both Nick Holmes and Louis Libin for allowing access to their masks. The masks are beautiful and it was an honor to be able to photograph them up close. Thanks also to Linda Donnelly for her assistance. Linda, a very serious supporter of OU hockey, writes about the team on her blog A World Unto.