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Iconic Inserts: Pinnacle “Masks”

Welcome back to Iconic Inserts, where we take a look at some of the most memorable inserts in the hobby. And with the majority of the hobby having Bedard-fever, I felt it was an appropriate time for a look back at one of the most Iconic NHL Inserts: the Pinnacle “Masks” insert line. Debuting in 1993-94, the Masks insert line immediately became extremely popular with fans and collectors alike, and they remain incredibly popular to this day. 

Pinnacle took quite a risk with the “Masks” line, as a card featuring a piece of equipment as its main focus normally wouldn’t jump off the page. But featuring the gorgeous, creative goalie masks was the PERFECT way to highlight Goalies in a new & innovative way. 

Pinnacle chose to keep the line incredibly basic, with only the Goalie Mask and “Masks” font for the front of the card. Possibly influenced by the iconic 91-92 Pro Set Patrick Roy “The Mask” insert, the set is on a black background (future iterations had SOME background design), but also features the incredibly popular and gorgeous Dufex coating that Pinnacle made famous, making the masks almost jump off the card. No image of the goalie himself, or any type of action shots are used on the front (close-up images of the goalies usually occupied the back of the card…and sometimes, were WAY too close). No, this line focused solely on the creative new designs of NHL Goalie Masks.

The 93-94 10-card set may have lacked in star power, but each year the checklist got stronger and stronger, as a slew of HOF Goalies got their “Masks”. A die-cut version was introduced in 1996, stripping away the top of the card for a silhouette of the mask. 

The line would remain a Pinnacle staple until the company ran out of business. In The Game tried keeping the idea alive with it’s Between the Pipes “The Mask” line, but nothing could touch the original Dufex-coated Masks. And while they may not command the most money on the secondary market, they’re still regarded as one of the most iconic inserts in hockey card history. In an era known for trying new things, Pinnacle stripped it down and took a wicked wrist shot with the “Masks” release, and it was “a kick save and a beauty”.


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