Victoria artist Travis Michael says designing the goalie mask for Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko was a dream come true.
Many hockey fans agree that Demko has helped the Canucks fight back against a 3-1 game deficit against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, forcing a Game 7 in the NHL playoff series later this week.
Michael, who has designed helmets for the Victoria Royals junior hockey team, said that the creative design for Demko’s “bucket” was a combined effort.
“A lot of time and effort and heart went into it on both sides,” he said. “We wanted to showcase for the fans, too, the Vancouver side.”
“We went with the West Coast (theme) so they could resonate with that as well. People on the West Coast in Canada can all relate to that,” said the airbrush artist.
Michael says that roughly half of the helmet’s design came from Demko, who wanted to include elements that are featured on all of his goalie masks.
“Him and his dad had created this character, ‘Evil Johnny,’ which was a take on Johnny Canuck, except he’s got a skull and he’s wearing Thatcher’s goalie gear,” said Michael.
Another key element was to include a Will Ferrell movie character, which Demko features on every mask.
On this helmet, the goaltender chose Ricky Bobby from Ferrell’s Talladega Nights. Michael said it was a perfect choice because the film is the artist’s favourite Ferrell movie.View this post on Instagram
Meanwhile, Michael focused on including elements that represented Canada’s west coast, a choice that he says Demko supported.
“It was very West Coast,” said the artist. “We had the mountain scenery, we had the Haida art, we had the Canucks logo and the orcas and kind of blended it all together.”
Michael adds that he hopes the B.C.-inspired helmet serves as a little representation of home for the Vancouver athletes who are staying in a “bubble” during the NHL playoffs.
On Thursday, Demko blocked all 48 shots that were fired on net to mark his first post-season shutout against the Golden Knights. The Canucks ended the game with a 4-0 victory.
Game 7 will be played at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Friday.