A pair of hand-painted, autographed goalie masks unveiled during the NHL's All Star Weekend are getting attention from bidders anxious to help a good cause.
Bidding had topped $6000 each in the online auction for two intricately painted hockey masks honoring U.S. and Canadian troops. The masks, designed by renowned sports artist David Arrigo, were displayed on the ice by NHL goalies during the All-Star game introductions in Dallas in January, then signed by all six goalies appearing in the All Star game. The sale benefits the USO and two other charities.
NHL All-Star goaltender Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres debuted the masks at DFW on January 23, when he along with defenseman Brian Rafalski of the New Jersey Devils and NHL mascots joined dozens of volunteers welcoming home troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the Airport's "Welcome Home a Hero" campaign.
They were made in honor of the loss of NHL Photographer David Sanford's cousin in Afghanistan, to raise awareness of fallen and injured soldiers and their families. The NHL agreed to auction the masks, with proceeds benefiting the USO at DFW International Airport, the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA) and The Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund. Both masks are signed by all six All-Star goalies. The auction closes next Tuesday.
"We are extremely grateful to the NHL for providing the masks and helping us to further our mission with our soldiers and their families at DFW," said Rhenda White-Brunner, executive director of the USO at DFW. "We've had many of our soldiers comment on the beauty and dignity of the goalie masks and they are very proud that the NHL chose to honor U.S. and Canadian soldiers in this way. We think there will be some very strong, spirited bidding as the deadline nears."
The brightly-colored masks feature soldiers in action and were featured on the ice at the NHL All-Star game at American Airlines Center in Dallas. Several soldiers who had returned to DFW from the Middle East on game day actually received tickets to the contest and got a rare visit by the Stanley Cup, courtesy of the NHL.
"The NHL All-Star game generated some of the most excitement and pride that we have seen in our cities in a long time," said Ken Capps, vice president of public affairs at DFW. "The NHL put on a great game, and did some terrific community work in both Dallas and Fort Worth. And by honoring our troops with their visit to DFW and online auction of the goalie masks, they have made some new fans and friends that will be around for a very long time."
Nearly 200 bids have already been placed on the masks. To view the auction, click here.
Welcome Home a Hero Campaign