NHL Masks Of Legends: Gilles Gratton

Daniel ArouchianSenior Analyst INovember 5, 2008

The mask was often related as a lion mask. Some people say that Gratton, who also had the nickname “Gratoony the Loony,” chose the lion as the design since his astrological sign is Leo. Even Mr. Even Harrison who designed the mask said that the design came from the Leo sign. But it wasn’t. “It’s not a lion mask at all,” Gratton said. “It’s a tiger.”

According to Gratton, he was on a plane reading National Geographic when he came across some pictures of tigers and thought it would be something he’d like to have on his mask. “If people want to write that it was because I was a Leo, so be it, but it’s an urban legend,” said Gratton.

A lot has been said about Gratton over the years. Some opposing team players claimed that during a fight while having the mask on, he would strike a cat’s pose with claws exposed and hiss.

Some said he’d growl like a cat at the other team’s shooters if they got too close to him with the puck. “Growling behind the mask? No, not really,” Gratton said. “Crying maybe, yes. But growling? No.”

He apparently begged not to start a game one night claiming he had pain from an injury he suffered in a previous life as a soldier in the Franco-Prussian war. He refused to start another game because the moon was in the wrong part of the sky.

Say what you want about Gilles Gratton, but his mask is one of a kind, just like him.

You can view a picture of his mask here.