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A brief history of Aaron Dell’s goalie masks

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The World’s Spookiest Masks from the World’s Okayest Goalie.

NHL: Preseason-San Jose Sharks at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

“Would you like to see my mask? I use it in my experiments. Now, probably not very frightening to a guy like you, but these crazies, they can’t stand it.” – Dr. Jonathan “Scarecrow” Crane, Batman Begins

It’s Friday the Thirteenth, so what’s better to talk about than spooky goalie masks? Today we’ll focus on current San Jose Sharks backup goaltender, Aaron Dell.

Aaron Dell has unveiled his mask for this season. Keeping with a theme established in past seasons, Dell’s mask evokes a patchwork scarecrow aesthetic. This season’s mask is also split in two, with half resembling a jack-o-lantern and the other half resembling one of many Sharks logos. The pumpkin half of the mask also glows in the dark.

Unfortunately, this Instagram post from DaveArt does not include the equally inspired backplate.

The backplate features the Kingdom of Arendelle from Disney’s Frozen. Get it? Arendelle? Aaron Dell? Say it aloud. I can wait.

#TBT to the college days. #Sioux

A post shared by Aaron Dell (@adell32) on

The scarecrow motif goes back to Dell’s college days, when he played for the University of North Dakota, alongside David Toews, Brett Hextall, and Mario Lamoureux, none of whom are the most famous players bearing those surnames. This design was briefly retained when he began play in the Central Hockey League (CHL), but he quickly opted for something spanglier.

#tbt to summer training.

A post shared by Aaron Dell (@adell32) on

Upon turning pro, his mask took on the red, white, and blue colors of the Allen Americans, then playing in the CHL, while retaining the patchwork scarecrow look. Dell kept this mask for the 2013-14 season, during which he played for the Utah Grizzlies in the ECHL and the Abbotsford Heat in the American Hockey League (AHL).

What uppppp!

A post shared by Aaron Dell (@adell32) on

In the 2014-15 season, he rejoined the Allen Americans, now of the ECHL, before receiving call-ups to the AHL’s Worcester Sharks. Of course, reaching the next level of play should be commemorated with a new mask.

Aaron Dell, Worcester Sharks, AHL #dielairbrush #goaliemask #worcestersharks #ahl #sjsharks #sharks #nhl

A post shared by David Leroux (@dielairbrush) on

While playing for the Worcester Sharks, Dell received this mask, his first designed by David Leroux. It strongly resembles the San Jose Sharks kit employed from 2007 to 2013, which the Worcester Sharks’ uniforms were still based upon.

Aaron dell, San Jose Sharks #dielairbrush #goaliemask #sanjosesharks #sjsharks #nhl #vaughn #scarecrow

A post shared by David Leroux (@dielairbrush) on

Aaron dell, San Jose Sharks #dielairbrush #goaliemask #sanjosesharks #sjsharks #nhl #vaughn #scarecrow

A post shared by David Leroux (@dielairbrush) on

During the 2015-16 season, Dell went to San Jose, as the AHL club was relocated from Worcester, Massachusetts to the same building the parent club plays in, and was rebranded as the San Jose Barracuda. At the time, the AHL still employed a rule where white jerseys were designated as the home jerseys for the entire season. As such, this mask (again designed by David Leroux) features teal as an accent color, with most of the mask being white, almost appearing as a stitched-together skull.

The 2016-17 season marked Dell’s first season as a permanent fixture on an NHL roster. Resembling a “home” iteration of the last season’s mask, it features the same toothy maw, with teal as a primary color, rather than an accent. This mask, also designed by David Leroux, also subtly featured the Sharks’ new secondary marks. It was, in a word, dellicious.

Prior to the conclusion of that season, Aaron Dell donned one more mask.

This mask, designed by Dave Gunnarson of DaveArt, goes all-in on the “Scarecrow Shark” motif. Dell wore this mask towards the tail end of the 2016-17 season, as well as in preseason contests leading up to the 2017-18 season.

Aaron Dell has had a long road to the NHL, but he’s certainly stayed true to his roots. Here’s to hoping for a standout season from him, and many more spooky masks.

#tbt to 8 year old me predicting the future...

A post shared by Aaron Dell (@adell32) on

UPDATE: At press time, we failed to mention the contributions of Chance Clark of C3 Creation, who contributed to the designs and templates of Dell’s masks as well. Clark was also a goaltender alongside Dell on the Calgary Canucks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in the 2007-2008 season. Designers like Clark undoubtedly contribute to the overall look of these masks, and we regret the omission.