16_0309 Bachman Mask SS

Bachman is King - of the Masks

by Mark Caswell, Jr.

Mar 9, 2016

"Bachman is Really King," screamed the Washington Post’s headline on Apr. 9, 1985, for Stephen P. Brown's ground breaking article that exposed legendary author Stephen King as the man writing behind the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

Fast forward 31 years and the headline can be repurposed with the addendum “-of the Goalie Mask”.

A full gallery of photos can be seen here: Comets Facebook

Born 27 months after it was revealed that Stephen King was writing under a false name for over eight years, Comets goaltender Richard Bachman is well aware of his connection with the best-selling novelist. His new helmet embraces the odd connection in a creepy way – just the way both would like it.

“I’ve been aware of the connection for a while,” explained Bachman with a laugh. “If I go shopping and I pay with a credit card a lot of people ask me, ‘You know who Richard Bachman is, right?’ I’m like, ‘yup, I got it.’”

For those that don’t know, after the massive success of “Carrie” (both the book and the movie) in 1976, Stephen King started to wonder if he was selling books because of the name attached to the books or because of the content in the books. This set the stage for the “birth” of Richard Bachman. Legend has it that when King was pressed for a pseudonym there was a Richard Stark novel on his desk and Bachman-Turner Overdrive on the radio. The eight-year secret spawned five books that originally did alright in sales, but then rocketed in popularity once King was outed. Ironically enough, one review of a Bachman book (Thinner) proclaimed that Richard Bachman was “what Stephen King would write if Stephen King could write,” before the author was outed.

Bachman (the goalie) originally represented the King-Bachman connection nack in 2012 with a black-and-white “The Shining”-themed mask during his time with the Dallas Stars. That mask quickly gained national attention and appeared on popular sites such as Deadspin, The Hockey News, ESPN, and Puck Daddy. Now, in 2016, Bachman has once again brought back the connection, this time with an updated twist.

The 2016 version of Bachman’s mask features the same cast of characters from “The Shining” that his 2012 helmet did. Jack Nicholson’s legendary portrayal of Jack Torrance, Shelley Duvall’s Wendy Torrance, and the nightmare-inducing Grady Twins all make a return to Bachman’s mask. The biggest difference is Nicholson’s role in the mask. His now iconic “Here’s Johnny!” scene where he peeks through a door that he just axed his way through, creepily appears to the left of Duvall’s equally-iconic scene from the Stanley Kubrick film. 

"On one side is the “Here's Johnny!” scene where he is busting through the door,” told Bachman. “Then the idea was on the other side, peeking out through the ice, was Johnny Canuck. So it brings the "Here's Johnny!" theme full circle into the Canucks organization."

As one can imagine, the process of designing and creating a goaltender’s mask takes a lot of time, and imagination. Bachman, along with well-known airbrush artist David Gunnarsson, team up when such a task is needed.

“We collaborate on it,” said Bachman. “When I go to make a new mask he (David) will reach out and ask if there is any ideas or any specific wants on a mask. He will help come up with ideas too, he is very creative and has done a lot of different helmets. From there we e-mail back and forth, he’ll draw up a sketch, and once the sketch comes and I’m ok with it, I let him take over and take full control with creativity because he’s the one that can really picture what will be on it before he does it.”

David Gunnarsson, the uber-popular Airbrush Artist, has designed masks for the best goalies in the world including Henrik Lundqvist, Braden Holtby, and even Patrick Roy’s alumni game mask played prior to the 2016 Stadium Series game in Denver, CO. You can check out all the great masks he has done on his Facebook and Instagram pages (both DAVEART.com). In fact, he has designed the current mask Joe Cannata wears, and rumor has it, he is in the process of designing Cannata’s new mask.

“Since one of the Canucks mascots is named Johnny, just like Jack Nicholson's character in the movie “The Shining”, I thought it would be a cool fit to create the famous –“Heeeere's Johnny!” scene, with Nicholson from the movie on one side, and the same scene but with Johnny Canuck on the other side,” explained Gunnarsson on his Facebook and Instagram pages.

The back plate of Bachman’s mask features the American and Canadian flag, to tie in the Comets and Canucks cross-border affiliation, and horse shoe that has special meaning to the goaltender.

“The horse shoe started in Texas and now I put it on there because it’s almost a good luck thing between me and my wife,” explained Bachman. “Basically it is a symbol representing her that is her saying ‘good luck’ every time. In the horse shoe I now have my son, Knox’s, initials on there for the first time.”

Bachman admits that his favorite part of the 2016 version is the little details.

“The little girls there are pretty creepy,” Bachman smiles while talking about his favorite part of the new headwear. “The little details make it fun for me because you see it up close, but then I like how from a distance it still looks sharp and still has kind-of an old-school feel to it and then as you come closer to it obviously the details stand out. It’s the close-up details that make it fun for me.”

While Bachman (the goalie), has never crossed paths with Stephen King in person, he hopes to one day show him the mask in person, and commented that “It’d be pretty cool to have him sign it or something.”

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