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Jacques Plante: Hockey Pioneer

Famed Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jacques Plante was a pioneer on and off the ice. After being hit in the face by a puck during a game in 1959, Plante shunned convention and became the first goaltender to wear a mask. ("If you jumped out of a plane without a parachute, would that prove you're brave?" he once asked his critics.) He was also the first goalie to leave his net during the course of play.

And, as mentioned, Plante was also a pioneer off the ice. He was, for example, the first NHL player whose favorite hobby was... knitting.

[Detroit Red Wings goalie Terry Sawchuk -- with more than 400 on his face alone -- holds the unofficial record for stitches. Honorary mention goes to Hall of Fame defenseman Borje Salming, who got 300 sutures in a single evening (in 1986) after Detroit's Gerard Gallant accidentally skated over his face!]

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