ClassicMask Network: The Real Story Behind the Invention of the Goalie Mask:
On Nov. 1st, 1959, the Canadiens were playing the Rangers at Madison Square Garden and at the 3:06 mark into the game the Rangers' Andy Bathgate cut across the slot and took a rising backhand shot at the Canadiens goal. Plante was crouched low looking through legs when the puck caught him on the left side of his nose. The shot was Plante's third save of the game. The star goalie toppled and lay unconscious in a puddle of his blood. As the "lodge brother's" expression goes: the last thing he remembered seeing was "made in Czechoslovakia". Plante was carried from the ice to the Madison Square Garden emergency first aid room where the Rangers' physician Dr. Kazuo Yanagisawa, (A.K.A. Kamikaze) used seven stitches to pull together the gash and stop the leak. During this era teams dressed just one goalie and as long as you continued breathing and were more less conscious you were expected to continue playing. Despite his reservations Canadiens' coach Toe Blake agreed to let Plante continue the game with his new, ghostly, flesh tone face mask constructed of fiberglass. When the goalie skated back on to the ice a hush fell over the crowd as they witnessed what appeared to be Plante's exposed skull. Plante won the game 3 to 1 and ushered in a new era in goaltending history.
(I took the liberty of correcting the numerous typos and misspellings in this account.)
You can buy a replica at Masks From The Past
image found at Anonymous Works