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Mask Age Concerns (Armadilla)


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Hello All, first time poster. Long story short, former AAA/Jr goalie 21 years ago, now getting back into playing at age 38 and loving it once again. I've replaced pretty much every piece of my old equipment with two exceptions: Bauer 4000 skates and my Armadilla goalie masks (I have two). Recently I had an 19 year old university player rip one into my temple, which didn't phase me a bit, thanks to Don Straus' design, but it sure got me thinking. Here I am wearing a helmet that was built for me in 1994, should I be concerned? The shell is pretty much perfect with the exception of cosmetic dings/paint chips, the interior foam still has good "squish" and does not shed. Any thoughts on what else I should be looking for or be concerned about? They were the safest, most well-built masks in my day, but I do not know how time affects things.

 I certainly appreciate any feedback that you may have. Here's a pic of the mask, the cage is not dented, the paint chips just give it that perspective in this picture.


Thanks for the feedback! I'm looking forward to being a member on these forums.

Neil

Armadilla.jpg

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The one pictured was purchased/painted directly from Don, the other one was purchased new from a store near his shop in 1992, if I recall correctly (I am original owner of both). I am really just using the second one as a display/parts piece. Thanks for the insight and assistance guys!

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For guys like me, Don Straus, is an absolute legend. I cannot believe some big name company didn't buy his tooling and mass produce them. I started out with a 1st generation, had a few different paint schemes before a paint shop screwed up the padding in the back. I went to a traditional style mask, got cut above the eye, and then went straight to Don for the real deal. Here we are 24 years later, and I have yet to find a mask that I find more comfortable. 

Here's a pic of them both, 1st gen (local paint) and 2nd gen (Straus painted)

dillas.jpg

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3 hours ago, aircanuck said:

For guys like me, Don Straus, is an absolute legend. I cannot believe some big name company didn't buy his tooling and mass produce them. I started out with a 1st generation, had a few different paint schemes before a paint shop screwed up the padding in the back. I went to a traditional style mask, got cut above the eye, and then went straight to Don for the real deal. Here we are 24 years later, and I have yet to find a mask that I find more comfortable. 

Here's a pic of them both, 1st gen (local paint) and 2nd gen (Straus painted)

dillas.jpg

Great paint on those! Gorgeous masks!!!

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7 hours ago, TheGoalNet said:

It’s sad none of the smaller guys like Sportmask or Coveted haven’t tried to partner with him and revamp the design too 

It makes me think of the great Easton tech that may end  up disappearing with the name. Easton had some GREAT tech, including their skates. 

Sometimes the tech will disappear because it is too expensive to carry on. That could have been the case with Armadilla. 

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The 'missus' and I had this conversation at dinner last night. Don Straus ended up sending me a really nice email about the Armadillas and my continued use of his mask.

Bunny, you're most likely correct, cost was everything. We live in a disposable society, plain and simple. Cell phones, washing machines, computers, you name it, all disposable. There's a lot more money to be made by big corporations in selling us a relatively inexpensive mask that will start to disintegrate in 5 years vs selling me a slightly more expensive, but well-built mask that could last for much longer.

Did I pay more for my Armadilla? You betcha! But let's amortize that over the course of 24 years. I wouldn't dream of wearing any of my other masks from the 90's. Heck not a single one was even worth keeping. Not sure Bauer would offer any customer support at this point either ?

Don Straus did it right!

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14 minutes ago, aircanuck said:

The 'missus' and I had this conversation at dinner last night. Don Straus ended up sending me a really nice email about the Armadillas and my continued use of his mask.

We live in a disposable society, plain and simple. Cell phones, washing machines, computers, you name it, all disposable. There's a lot more money to be made by big corporations in selling me a relatively inexpensive mask that will start to disintegrate in 5 years vs selling me a slightly more expensive, but well-built mask that could last for much longer.

Did I pay more for my Armadilla? You betcha! But let's amortize that over the course of 24 years. I wouldn't dream of wearing any of my other masks from the 90's. Heck not a single one was even worth keeping.

Don Straus did it right!

The thing that slays me is that it is perfectly acceptable now for a refrigerator to only last seven years. My parents have one that is 47 years old and it’s still going! 

I’d love to pick Mr. Straus’ brain one day...

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Don Straus! Thank you so much for having the balls and the determination to revolutionize the goalie mask industry almost 30 years ago. The product you created and the manufacturing process used are still technically superior to everything else made today. Thats nuts!

Maybe it was a coincidence that Brian Hayward was my favorite goalie as a kid (yep), but the shape of that shell (and obviously the paint) seemed to ingrain a passion in me for masks that I still can't shake to this day. The same passion that had me taping pieces of cardboard and coat hanger together in the shapes of masks is still in me, but now I use fibers and epoxy resin. 

In my adult life, I have grown to admire the techniques used and the ability to think outside of the box that really made these masks special. And while the Armadilla project came to an end, its nice to see that you carried that ambition to you art and motorsport endeavors. 

Thats enough ass kissing I guess. But its not everyday that I'm sitting outside having my coffee and a notification from one of my true idols pops up. 
 

One day I'll have to make the drive to Kitchener and pick your brain over a beer.

Keep up the great work!

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Thanks bunnyman. Lately, my builds have consisted of ikea furniture, and adapting electric fuel injection onto a 1976 455 Oldsmobile engine. My work efforts are centered around paint/design.

Craig, thanks for the kind words. I’m glad I was able to prod you along your path. As the Armadilla was ahead of it’s time/misunderstood by some, it’s refreshing/flattering to see that so many have come to the realization that to make improvements, you must make it different for changes to be noticed. Crazy it is still somewhat topical after all these years. 

FYI - there is no such thing as too much ass kissing! ;)

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1 hour ago, Don Straus said:

Thanks bunnyman. Lately, my builds have consisted of ikea furniture, and adapting electric fuel injection onto a 1976 455 Oldsmobile engine. My work efforts are centered around paint/design.

Craig, thanks for the kind words. I’m glad I was able to prod you along your path. As the Armadilla was ahead of it’s time/misunderstood by some, it’s refreshing/flattering to see that so many have come to the realization that to make improvements, you must make it different for changes to be noticed. Crazy it is still somewhat topical after all these years. 

FYI - there is no such thing as too much ass kissing! ;)

I bet Ikea furniture is harder to build than a mask!!!!

I find it so amazing that there is so much mystery meat in building masks, Don! I am actually thinking of getting back into composites since my non-compete is done.

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Hi Don, really great to have you here. I was curious, does the equipment, plans/tooling, or overall ability still exist to produce these masks? I know you have personally moved on from the product, I just like to dream of a hypothetical resurrection. I definitely know I am not the only one. ☺️


Thanks again for keeping my noggin safe, comfy and stylish for so many years. People always said I looked better with one of your masks on!

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Thanks for the welcome. 

Yes, a good bit of the important stuff still exists, and yes, I have moved on. I’m still blown away with the interest and requests I continue to receive to bump start the company. If the stars ever aligned for a ‘Ver. 2.0’, it would need be a magical mix of the right people and resources, with my involvement taking the role of consultant. As technology has improved in the past 25+ years, odds are there’s room to improve. 

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