Ward will have two portraits of Hockey Hall of Fame netminder Charlie Gardiner on his mask for the annual outdoor game Jan. 1 against the Bruins at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. The back of the mask, which was pained by Steve Nash of EyeChandyAir, also has the Fighting Irish leprechaun inside a clover and Ward’s nickname “Wardo” wrapped across the stem.
The top of the mask features the Winter Classic logo, a black-and-white team logo, with Ward’s No. 30 on the chin and snowflakes falling in the background.
Gardiner played seven seasons from 1927-1934 with the Blackhawks. He won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goalie in 1932 and 1934, and led the Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup championship in 1934 as team captain.
During the 1934 playoffs, Gardiner was suffering from tonsillitis but continued to play. Upon returning to his home in Winnipeg, he went into a fatal coma with a brain hemorrhage June 13, 1934.
This will be the fourth Winter Classic for the Blackhawks, sixth outdoor appearance overall and fifth in six years. Chicago is 1-5 in those games, with its lone win in the 2014 Stadium Series against the Penguins at Soldier Field in Chicago.