Canadian ice hockey player (1929–1986)
Joseph Jacques Omer "Jake the Snake" Plante (January 17, 1929 – February 27, 1986) was a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender. He won the Stanley Cup six times, of which five were consecutive. He invented the first practical goaltender mask.
- Hockey is an art. It requires speed, precision, and strength like other sports, but it also demands an extraordinary intelligence to develop a logical sequence of movements, a technique which is smooth, graceful and in rhythm with the rest of the game.
- Our hockey team consisted of boys seventeen and eighteen years old and I used to watch them play all the time on the outdoor rink. On this one day, I remember it was very cold and I was looking at the game while standing indoors with my back against a stove. The goalie was having trouble and the coach accused him of not doing his best. The goalie was mad and took his skates off. I rushed toward the coach and volunteered to take his place. There was no other goalie around, so I went in the net and played with them the rest of the season.
- My knees started to shake. In the dressing room that night, I was so nervous I couldn't tie my skates. Maurice Richard walked over and held out his hands. 'Look at them,' he said. 'They shake before a big game. You'll feel better when you get out on the ice.'
- I was with the [Quebec] Citadelles. We had four defensemen. One couldn't skate backwards. Another couldn't turn to his left. The others were slow. It was a case of me having to go and get the puck when it was shot into our end because our defense couldn't get there fast enough. The more I did it, the farther I went. It seemed to be the best thing to do, so I did it and it worked." Plante continued, "Possession of the puck is number one. That's all I'm doing—getting control until one of my teammates comes along."
- The shot by [Andy] Bathgate nearly ripped my nose off. I told Toe [Blake] I would only return if I could wear the mask, so there was no choice. He never wanted me to wear the mask because he thought it would make me too complacent.