As unthinkable as it may seem today, McCartan was right. Players and goalies alike wore few, if any, pads back when players first started skating around with a puck and sticks.
Goalie masks were thought to be unnecessary, a hindrance to vision and players were weak for wearing them. Now, goalie masks have not only become part of hockey's story and protect players, but also provide a place where they can express their individuality, team history and even personal stories.
Digging through Gopher athletics photo archives, it appears that legendary Gophers McCartan, Marty Falk and Tom Karakas -- all of whom played in the early 40's and 60's -- did not wear any masks or protection for their faces.
In the video above, we spoke to the Gophers' current goalies, Jake Kremer, Mike Shibrowski and Kent Patterson as they take us through the meaning behind the designs on their masks, which include everything from vintage Goldy's, fishing scenes, high school nicknames and even ribbons and initials to recognize loved ones.
Masks will continue to evolve, but will forever now give goalies a way to express themselves without saying a word. No matter how memorable the goalies that wear them, these masks will forever own a place in Gopher history.