Antero Niittymaki Sharks goalie mask by David Arrigo designed for the new ‘Big Fish’ in town

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Friday, August 20, 2010 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

New Antero Niittymaki San Jose Sharks goalie mask design by David Arrigo

New Antero Niittymaki San Jose Sharks mask Frank Nitty inspired David Arrigo

David Arigo Patrick Marleau art mural San Jose Sharks

David Arrigo has made a name for himself creating artwork for the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball and NASCAR, but his work painting goalie masks over the last three years has taken it to another level. The Toronto-based artist behind Mike Smith’s Saw V movie-themed goalie mask in 2008, a slew of impressive Chicago Blackhawks designs, and Jason LaBarbera’s Metallica-themed mask recently created a design for new San Jose Sharks goaltender Antero Niittymaki.

Released yesterday via InGoal Magazine, the new Bauer mask features a logo on top, cartoon Shark versions of infamous Chicago gangster Frank Nitty on each side (one holding a Tommy gun), and a lettered “Nitty” nickname on the bottom. David Arrigo told Sharkspage that the nickname first came from one of Antero’s coaches in Philadelphia. He subsequently created literal representations of Frank Nitty on Niittymaki’s Tampa Bay Lightning masks. “Once he got the call to go to San Jose, I thought it would be fun to change it up a little bit and take the Shark as the new gangster,” Arrigo said. “The new big fish in town.”

Unlike departed goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who left his designs completely in the hands of the artist, Antero Niittymaki worked with Arrigo on his new mask. “I’ll produce concepts for him, and he will say yes and no, and these guys have a lot of fun with it,” Arrigo said. He also noted that Antero wanted a cleaner mask to go with the jerseys in San Jose. While it was the first mask created for a San Jose goaltender by Arrigo, he has worked with the Sharks several times in the past. In addition to the Patrick Marleau artwork above, several of the murals featured near the front of HP Pavilion during the playoffs were designed by Arrigo.

All Sharks goalie mask designs will be judged on the basis of Brian Hayward, but early reactions from fans are positive. Niittymaki’s teammate Thomas Greiss has similar thematic elements in the mask design he used last season, one that was tamer than the pink charity mask for breast cancer he wore to a couple of practices.

There will be more designs by Arrigo to keep an eye on in the future. In addition to creating artwork for Brent Johnson (Pittsburgh) and Carey Price (Montreal), a new St. Louis mask was created for recently acquired Jaroslav Halak. For a full list of his mask designs, visit

[Update] One other bit of Antero Niittymaki equipment news that came via email, he will no longer use Brooklynite sticks and will instead use the Warrior brand. Brooklynite will not have any NHL players next season, but they are looking to get back into the league as soon as possible.

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