When Aiden Rose first read about the Boston Pizza/Bauer Design-a-Mask contest and looked at one of the prizes offered, he thought to himself, ‘I could use a new road hockey goalie mask.’
The 12-year-old Langford resident, whose family are somewhat regulars at the restaurant on Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, figured he could come up with a cool design for Canada’s national junior hockey team goaltenders to wear.
He entered the contest last year but never got a call back. So, he vowed to try again and came up with several different designs this time around, incorporating such elements as a moose, a beaver, a Canadian flag, hockey sticks and the number 2016.
He was laying in bed with the stomach flu on Dec. 1 when he heard a phone message from a representative of Boston Pizza, saying that his design had been chosen as this year’s winner in the under-13 category.
“I was so excited that I deleted the message,” he says sheepishly. “But luckily we have call display.”
He and Calgary resident Jessica Tran, the winner in the older age category, were flown to Toronto last weekend to attend a exhibition game between Team Canada and a CIS all-star team, visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and be the guests of honour at a special ceremony Monday to unveil their designs and present the finished masks to the three Team Canada goalies.
Bauer mask airbrush artist David Arrigo, who enhanced the two designs and painted them on the three masks, was on hand with the designers at the event.
Winning the competition against more than 1,000 entries, as well as travelling to Toronto with his dad, Scott, has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Aiden, who’s a Vancouver Canucks and Arizona Coyotes fan.
Visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame was especially cool, he says.
“Me and my dad liked it, even though he’s not much of a hockey fan,” Aiden says. What about touching the original Stanley Cup? “That was definitely a bucket list item for me.”
The Grade 7 student brought his new mask to show his classmates at Dunsmuir middle school after returning home earlier this week. Most of his hockey-playing buddies were a bit dumbfounded and didn’t say much, he says, while some were “really jealous.”
His prize mask – he also received a Team Canada jersey signed by every player – has the national team logos on it and should work well for road hockey, he says.
Scott Rose says their family was “thrilled that he could represent Victoria and B.C.” and be part of this now-annual Hockey Canada tradition. “He was really excited and we were really humbled and honoured that he was picked.”
The final design his son entered took him about three-and-a-half weeks to complete, says Scott, adding that his son has exhibited exceptional artistic talents in recent years.
“He has this natural talent – he’s a left-hander and he’s been complimented by people before,” he says, adding that Aiden’s former teacher at Crystal View elementary even emailed congratulations on being part of the whole experience.”
Winning this contest is like the gift that keeps on giving. When Christmas rolls around next year, Aiden and a guest will be front and centre to watch Team Canada hopefully win gold at the 2017 World Junior Championships.
And there’s one more cool thing about it, he says. “After a year my mask might get inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame to go in the junior team display.”