Unmasked: The Story Behind NHL Goalie Jason LaBarbera's Metallica Masks

March 16, 2017

Music plays a role in all of our lives. For some, it's an escape. For others, it's a stress-reliever. Some listen to fuel their workouts, and some listen get them amped up. For former NHL goalie Jason LaBarbera, it's a little bit of everything.

If you haven't noticed LaBarbera's performance on the ice, then you've definitely noticed his one-of-a-kind Metallica-themed helmets. "When I first listened to them at 13 years old, everything changed. I was hooked from then on," LaBarbera told Artist Waves. "Whether it was driving to the rink or waking up from a nap and listening to the same song before every game to even now, although I am not playing any more, I hear their songs and it just puts me in a good frame of mind. I’ve always had some form of Metallica on all my goalie masks. That’s a great thing about being a goalie. You get to be creative and show a little bit of your personality. You don’t get to see a ton of that in hockey. Being a goalie, you have chance to do that with your mask."

LaBarbera has plenty of masks dedicated to bands, but when it comes to putting Metallica on a helmet, there's a particular album art that most Metallica fans would shun to associate themselves with. "I always loved the St. Anger fist. I just loved the artwork, what it looked like and what it represented. It’s been on every mask of mine since 2003. I also had the Death Magnetic cover on my mask, the Master of Puppets album and the band members — both as cartoon characters and regular looking guys. No matter what was featured on my mask, there was always some representation of Metallica within it as well."

But what if LaBarbera wanted to wear a helmet dedicated to a band that puts him in a good mood? "Anytime you hear a Pearl Jam song it puts you in a good mood. Still today, it makes me reminisce about things that have happened in my life that really mattered. I had a lot of Metallica masks and wanted to switch it up. Eddie Vedder was the artist I wanted next because I think so highly of him and really love Pearl Jam." 

The third band LaBarbera proudly wears on his head, the legendary rockers from down under, AC/DC. "AC/DC really reminds me of when I was younger. Their music was always synonymous with a great time. Music always puts me in a good place, but AC/DC in particular because of how much they bring me back. I have been able to see them live a few times and was blown away each time."

(source: Artist Waves)