Hobby artist sees Oilers goalie mask design become reality after winning contest
EDMONTON -- An Oilers fan and hobby artist in Elk Point is over the moon after learning her design for a goalie mask beat out the competition in a contest put on by the Edmonton Oilers.
On May 11, the Oilers put out a call on social media for a mask design honouring frontline workers. The post said the winning design would be signed by goalie Mike Smith and be auctioned off for local COVID-19 relief efforts.
“I’ve been trying to stay creative during this whole quarantine, lockdown, whatever you want to call it so it was just another fun project to try,” said Jennifer Van der Hoek from her Elk Point home.
The 37-year-old, who draws, paints, sculpts and crafts, designed the mask in her “fan cave”, a room in her basement covered in Oilers and local hockey paraphernalia.
“Right away, I thought of the parallels between masks protecting goalies, protecting frontline workers and then frontline workers being compared to heroes a lot,” she said.
She finished her design in a couple of hours but hesitated to submit it, worried she’d be wasting her time against professionals.
“Because there would probably be many better ones and was it worth my time or not and it turned out well,” she admitted.
Her drawing titled “Our Heroes Wear Masks” was a finalist and Oilers fans picked hers as the favourite. Earlier this week, she received photos of the final product by artist David Arrigo.
“He really nailed it. It’s so beautiful,” said Van der Hoek.
Arrigo has designed hockey masks for Oilers goalie Mike Smith for years. Part of her prize for winning was talking to the two men over video chat Friday.
“It was really neat. Both guys said how much they liked my design and they were really impressed by how quickly I was able to come up with it,” she said. “And David mentioned how fun it was just to bring it to life.”
The executive director of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation says the mask is “the feature item” in their upcoming auction raising money for local organizations helping the vulnerable during the pandemic.
“The delivery of programs in this environment has really, really changed but the demand is still there and greater than ever before,” said Natalie Minckler.
The online auction is scheduled for July 7 to July 21.