Princeton Goaltending: The Story Behind The Mask

Eye on the Tigers caught up with all three Princeton netminders to let them tell the stories behind their designs.

Here’s what the netminders had to say:

Ryan Benitez, Sr.:

First of all, of course, I wanted to have a lot of Princeton logos/identifiers on my mask. I decided to put the Princeton “P” on the chin, a tiger on the forehead, and the crest on the back.

After this, I had some custom things I really wanted.

Ryan Benitez Mask (Photo courtesy of Ryan Benitez(
Ryan Benitez Mask (Photo courtesy of Ryan Benitez(

Because I am from Colorado, I wanted to have some mountains on my mask.

I am a Christian and it is very important to me. Accordingly I decided to get a Bible verse on my mask. (I chose Exodus 14:14 — “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”)

Ryan Benitez frontI put my family members’ initials on the back as well (for my mom, dad, and brother).

Gator is my nickname on the team. It comes from a character in the movie “The Other Guys.”

Colton Phinney, So.:

When designing my mask last year, I wanted it to portray Princeton’s history as best it could. I wanted to incorporate as many tigers as possible, while also having the famous Blair Arch on the mask.

Colton Phinney frontOn the front of my mask is a giant tiger, with “Make Hobey Proud” running across the top. When I attended a Princeton game, I saw this banner, and thought it was extremely cool. Last year was the 100th anniversary of Hobey Baker, so I thought it would be really fitting to incorporate it into my mask. On the chin of my mask is the Princeton crest, with the motto running through it.

On the right side is Blair Arch, Colton Phinney rightwhich is one of the most famous buildings at Princeton. It is a spot where everyone stops and stares, so I wanted to put it on my mask, as it is an important piece of Princeton, as well as a really nice looking building.

Colton Phinney left

On the left side of my mask is another tiger. I originally wasn’t sure what I wanted on this side, as I had already put the Arch, crest, motto, and a tiger on the helmet. With Princeton’s mascot being the tiger, I figured it would be best to do another tiger. This tiger was the work of the mask painter, as I let him decide what to make it look like.

Colton Phinney backThe back plate of any mask is a very important part. It’s where you can get personal. I have the signature Princeton P in the middle, with one small tiger to the right. On the left side I have the Delbarton Crest, which is where I attended high school. On the top right of the back plate I have a dedication to Avalanna Routh, who sadly passed away from cancer.

Ben Halford, Fr.:

Ben Halford sideThe mask was painted by Jesse Acciacca of Jesse’s Custom Designs, located north of Boston. I train with Bryan McDonald and MAC Goaltending and my training partner there helped me a lot with the design. He picked out the tiger on the back, which is probably my favorite part, and helped influence the design as a whole.

The tigers on the sides Ben Halford backof the mask are a combination of the tigers outside of Nassau Hall and a motorcycle that I had seen Jesse paint. The crest from our Ben Halford frontjerseys fit well on the top and I thought that my number would look sharp on the chin.





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