CALGARY, Alta. – The creative minds and artwork of two Canadian hockey fans will be front-and-centre at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, with their winning sketches having been selected as the fan-favourites in this year’s Design-A-Mask contest, hosted by Hockey Canada partners Boston Pizza and Bauer.
Canada’s National Junior Team goaltenders will wear the masks illustrated by 18-year-old Brooks Freeman of Virden, Man., who won in the 13-18 category, and 12-year old Brody Panich, of Edmonton, AB, who took top honours in the under-13 category.
“Imagine a rock-hard piece of rubber flying at your head at 60 mph, so I thought about a hero design like superman ripping open his shirt [but I did] that with the Team Canada logo,” said Panich, who thinks goalies are the heroes of the game, and the inspiration for his artwork. “I wanted to add stuff about Canada – like the Canadian Railway, because a train is powerful [like Team Canada] and it goes across Canada. I added 13 maple leafs, including the Canada 150 logo, to represent the 13 provinces and territories.”
Both designs were chosen among four finalists through online voting that garnered more than 12,000 total votes.
“This is an absolute honour to be picked as the winner out of the whole country,” said Freeman. “I came up with the idea for the moose on each side of the helmet because I wanted something unique that would stand out among goalie masks. I am extremely excited to see my design being worn on the world stage by the Team Canada goalies; this is a great step in my graphic design career.”
Canada’s quest for gold in Buffalo begins on Boxing Day against Finland at 4 p.m. ET. Canada and the U.S. will resume their cross-border rivalry on Dec. 29 when, for the first time in the history of the IIHF World Junior Championship, the teams will take to an outdoor rink in preliminary-round action. The hockey powerhouses will play at 3 p.m. ET at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. The game also marks their first meeting since the gold-medal game at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Montreal.
Canadian kids were invited to submit their designs by downloading the contest forms from the Hockey Canada web site, or picking them up at Boston Pizza locations across the country. Design-A-Mask is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that gives budding artists and fans a chance to be part of the IIHF World Junior Championship in a unique way by giving Canada’s goaltenders Canadian artwork to wear on the ice.
“We are very excited to be working with Hockey Canada to give these up-and-coming local all-stars the chance to be a part of the IIHF World Junior Championship,” says Jenna Bull, marketing manager for Boston Pizza International. “We’re very proud of our winners this year and very pleased that their designs are going to be showcased at a global level.”
For their winning designs, Freeman and Panich will receive their own replica masks, a Team Canada hockey jersey, as well as a trip for two to a Team Canada game at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, as part of their Boston Pizza prize-pack.