For goaltenders one such date is a November evening in 1959, when one of their own became a pioneer. His revolutionary action starting a trend that would be deemed a significant accomplishment.
The opportunity to introduce his mask to an NHL audience came in New York's Madison Square Garden on November 1, 1959. After taking an Andy Bathgate shot flush on the nose, Plante sought medical attention for his injuries. While in the infirmary, Jacques Plante made a decision that would forever change the attitude of those who thought wearing a mask was a sign of weakness. Many were of the opinion that a masked goalie was an individual who showed fear. Plante, being a master of his craft, knew otherwise.
With his mask firmly in place, Plante had cleared the final hurdle standing in his way, coach Toe Blake. The Habs bench boss wanted nothing to do with his starting goalie being a masked crusader. Blake, in the past, vehemently refused to allow Plante to wear facial protection. However, with no alternative on that Sunday evening, Blake had to submit to Jake "The Snake" Plante's demands.
The Warrior was now fully equipped to go to battle.