On November 1, 1959, Jacques Plante of the Montreal Canadians decided that he would protect himself by introducing the goalie mask. Today, with only a few rare exceptions, all goalies wear masks or some type of cage protection. Some goalies now even wear neck guards.
Can you blame these guys? Not only has the game picked up in speed, but shots are faster, harder and more accurate than ever before. You would have to be suicidal to defend a hockey goal without facial protection!