During a time of goalies moving around from coast to coast, which was to be a crazy 2014 NHL trade deadline, David Leroux of Diel Airbrush would wonder whose goalie mask was he going to get to paint next? David Leroux, a superb goalie helmet painter who resides outside of Montreal, had seen one of his previous clients, Jaroslav Halak, getting traded. The Halak moves wouldn’t be over and Leroux would have to scrap his ideas of Buffaslugs and other beasts crashing through a Sabres logo and re-focus on a simple and elegant design involving DC. Leroux who started and runs Diel Airbrush out of his garage, had received a call from Halak and a blank Warwick mask just 2 days after getting traded to the nation’s capital.
With trades comes the moving and the need to update gear to the current city in which David secretly was happy about because it allowed him to run with the design. “Halak allowed me to have full control due to him moving around. What we did for the previous masks (Sochi and St.Louis) was I sketched a few ideas, sent them to him and he would revise them as needed. Luckily with this one, I got to run with the idea from start to finish which let me put my style into it a bit more. One thing he did request was that it had an eagle on it.”
The travel of the mask had to travel quite a bit according to David:
What may not be a known fact is that goalies will typically not stay with the same artist due to differing styles and at the moment visions of new helmets. David is a small-operation artist who has been able to net some NHL goalies as repeat clients that allow him to create masterpieces. “There are two kinds of people. There are those that want to put in so much detail into a helmet that you can’t see from 5 feet away, and then there are artists that design a helmet for the goalie and the audience alike. I think we really captured both mind sets in this helmet. One thing I absolutely did not want to do is put touristy images like the Lincoln Memorial on the helmet. It’s way too overdone in DC and I wanted to break away from that.”
David started out as a defenseman in the QMJHL who would do sketches in his free time for goalies in the league who would then take the designs to painters to get done. He then thought he would cut out the painter and learn the craft himself. Operating out of his garage, he says the only traffic he sees is when the postman comes to deliver another mask. What a life.
Head to DielAirbrush.ca to check out more of his work.
Updated: Video from morning skate in LA with Halak test driving the new helmet
Thanks to David Leroux for speaking with us for this article.