It started on March 20th with 16 of the most unique goalie masks in the ECHL. They had various levels of design and varying themes. Some had pop culture references, some were hockey focused and others were designed to raise awareness of a charitable cause. All were submitted with the hope of winning ECHL fans’ hearts, and votes, as winner of the 2017 ECHL March MASKness Challenge. Over the next three weeks, ECHL fans had the chance to vote via polls on Twitter to decide which masks deserved the right to advance in the bracket-style competition.
Fast forward ten days and it was down to four teams, and four amazing masks, all holding out hope to be voted by the fans as the most deserving champion of ECHL March MASKness.
Jeff Lerg of the Toledo Walleye, who won the social media based contest in its first year last season, once again advanced to the final four with his Walleye themed mask. It’s always a competitive game on the ice when the Walleye match-up against the Fort Wayne Komets, but apparently that stands true when they compete online as well. Lerg’s mask was pitted against that of Pat Nagle, who also went with his team name and colors for the design inspiration. It was a close vote but Lerg advanced with 53% of the vote to Nagle’s 47%.
On the other side of the bracket, Greenville Swamp Rabbits’ Brandon Halverson faced off against P.J. Musico of Tulsa. Halverson’s mask featured a number of different elements including an image of his home state of Michigan, a tribute to a mentor/coach and ribbons to support his charities of preference. Musico’s mask – covered in bright puzzle pieces –was a tribute to his brother Patrick, who has Autism, and is a way for P.J. to help support awareness of the cause. The back of the mask had the names of all of the members of the Musico family, as well as beach setting with a surf wave, to signify P.J.’s home state, California. In another close vote, Musico advanced to the March MASKness Finals with 55% of the vote in the twitter poll.
For the second year in a row, the March MASKness Final featured masks from the Toledo Walleye and the Tulsa Oilers. The final round of voting commenced on Monday, April 3 at 8pmET and, similar to the previous rounds, ECHL fans had 48 hours to vote for their selection of who was more deserving of a victory. It was a tight race from start to finish, but in the end, Lerg just edged out with Musico with 51% of the over 2,000 votes cast. Will Jeff Lerg repeat as the three time defending champion of March MASKness in 2018? We’ll have to wait to find out.
To see all the masks from this year’s competition please visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ECHLHockey/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155028030078503