SUN Hockey Pool

'Tender gets a paint job

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Curtis McElhinney played it cool regarding his new goalie mask.

Part of that is his laid-back personality. Part of it was to not become too anxious.

But the Calgary Flames netminder will admit when he received the work of art last week, he was like a kid at Christmas.

"I was blown away," McElhinney said. "I didn't want to get too excited about it in case I was disappointed. I just said, 'Show me something you've never done before. Come up with something.' He put some touches in it, like the skulls in the flames, that just blew me away.

"I was impressed. I'd recommend him to anybody who wanted to get a helmet done."

When McElhinney will debut in a NHL contest is anybody's guess.

But it'll be with a fantastic mask designed by Calgary's Blake McCully of Cross-Eyed Designs.

"I told him I'd like something that pertains to Calgary and the team and he came up with this cowboy. It's a little extreme but amazing work," McElhinney said.

The cowboy he mentioned is a skull, pointing a six-shooter. His hat features a hat band with a gargoyle holding a small skull.

The word Flames takes up a big portion of the other half of the mask, with soft flames providing the backdrop.

When given a close look, you can spot a half-dozen small skulls -- each to represent an opposing player, and all with a bullet hole in them -- inside the flames.

"He definitely likes the skull theme, which is fine. I'm very happy with it," McElhinney said.

"His attention to detail amazed me. Thirty-five hours just to paint a helmet is a long time, but I can see why it took that long."

McCully also has recently designed masks for Flames prospect Matt Keetley and former Hitmen star Justin Pogge.

McElhinney, the rookie goalie playing for his hometown team, needed a new mask this season, since his old one featured a knight's helmet. It was appropriate for when he played with the AHL's Omaha Knights, but since the franchise was moved to Quad City and is now called the Flames, it doesn't work.

Although he gave the artist free reign with the front, McElhinney had two requests for the head plate in back.

One is a small star at the base.

"That was for my wife (Ashleigh), her request. Otherwise, I like to see what guys can come up with. That's the most important thing. I'm not too picky," he said.

By the way, he wouldn't divulge what the star meant, saying: "I'm keeping that a secret."

The second is the latin saying: "Luctor et Emergo" which was used at his school, Notre Dame College in Saskatchewan.

It means struggle and emerge, which is symbolic of McElhinney's achievement of making it to the NHL despite not being a minor hockey star.

"That's why I put it on there."


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