Jacques Plante, hockey legend and goalie for the Montreal Canadiens hockey team (1954-1963), designed and built the first-ever fibreglass mask in 1956 to protect himself from being injured by flying pucks. At that time, he wore it during practices only. Then, during a game with the New York Rangers on November 1, 1959, a flying puck hit his nose, and broke it.
When Jacques Plante returned to the ice after being treated in the dressing room, he wore the mask to protect his injury. He continued to wear the mask during games while his nose healed. The hockey mask caused a sensation. His coach wanted him to stop wearing it. Plante refused. But, since the team was winning, he got his way. Today, the hockey mask is standard equipment in hockey leagues worldwide.