While the main body of the helmet is the public "face" of a goaltender, the back of the helmet is where the truly personal notes go. Many goalies will put family member's names, causes they support, or any number of deeply personal things. I chose to make mine a tribute to Vladimir Konstantinov.
Those of you who know me know I am a die-hard Red Wings fan. Back prior to 1997, my favorite player bar-non was Vladimir Konstantinov. 6 days after the Wings won their first Stanley Cup in 42 years, Vladimir Konstantinov, Sergei Mnatsakanov, and Slava Fetisov were in a horrible limosine accident caused by a driver who was high on marijuanna. Slava was fine and went on to play several more seasons, but Vladi and Sergei were severely injured. Sergei was paralyzed and Vladi.... Vladi was in a coma that seemed to never end and when he came out, he was severely brain damaged and physically challenged. To this day he still struggles to maintain a normal semblance of life.
The words of SI writer David Fleming summed it up perfectly:
"You wait 42 years for something- a sports championship, a trophy, a banner- and somehow you start to think it's the most important thing in the world. Then suddenly it means nothing."
The Wings left Vladi's locker as it was and went on to win a second Stanley Cup the next year, more than anything for Vladi and Sergei. It was one of the most emotional moments that I can remember watching Steve Yzerman raise the Cup and then, instead of taking his victory lap, handed it off to the lap of Vladi in his wheelchair and the whole team followed Vladi in his victory lap. Even now I tear up thinking about it.
So, I pay tribute to the amazing player and man who's struggled through everything from harsh Arctic Russian winters to repairing a life that could never return to what it was. Vladi, this one's for you.
Before it's asked, the second word is "believe" in Russian.
Technical junk: I decided to decorate my helmet via graphite drawing which was a ridiculous idea when it come to applying the idea. I had to put down a coat of finish to give the smooth surface some tooth then spent 11 hours on this laying down layers of graphite and smudging it. The pure black is China Marker which, unfortunately, cracked when I put the clear coat on. It was difficult dealing with the curvature of the helmet but it was so worth it. This looks PHENOMENAL! in real life. Photos can't do it justice.