Goalies are the only players on the ice with the ability to really customize their look. From helmets to pads, goaltenders find ways to let their personalities shine. Minnesota Whitecaps goaltenders Amanda Leveille and Allie Morse are known for those personalities. From synchronized dance videos to playing dress-up, there’s a reason that these two are fan favorites. Having fun designs on their pads is just another part of that.
Leveille says that her desire to have fun and interesting pads comes partially out of a sense of duty. Although she added that she doesn’t necessarily think this is true, she says “goalies are always considered...some of the weirder players on the team, so I feel like I have to fulfill that stereotype by putting fish and weird things on my goalie pads.”
She added that there are other reasons to put effort into designing your gear, as well. “Goalies are always the ones in photos getting scored on in news articles and stuff,” she joked, “so, gotta make myself stand out and look cool while I’m getting scored on, right?’
Both Leveille and Morse say that they take a lot of inspiration from other goaltenders’ pad designs.
For Morse, who played college hockey at Providence College in Rhode Island (whose color scheme is black, white and gray), a lack of color options drove her to seek inspiration from others originally. Her college setup was inspired by a stock graphic worn by Josh Harding when he was with the Minnesota Wild of the NHL— a graphic that Morse says she had never seen before, but liked enough to make her own.
Post-college, designing pads gets a little bit easier.
“I can literally do whatever I wanted,” Morse says of her Whitecaps gear. She wears head-to-toe Bauer gear, and Bauer allows you complete customization- you can print out stencils and design the pads any way you like.
“My boyfriend and I printed out a ton of them and just kept drawing stuff,” Morse says, “and we spent the entire summer spitballing and looking at jerseys and wave designs, and stuff with Duluth and water. A lot went into it.”
Leveille’s approach involved fans, too. “I drafted up a couple designs,” she says, “and by drafted I mean basically just copied other people’s stuff, put them on Instagram and had a little poll going for people and the graphic that I’m using right now won by a landslide on that one.”
Morse’s biggest inspirations include Henrik Lundquist and Mike McKenna, while Leveille says she’ll admire anyone’s gear, from beer league to NHL. Her current graphic, though, was inspired by Aaron Dell—formerly of the Sharks, who had a set of pads with a shark on them.
Morse says that she would love to find a way to incorporate two yellow ducks and a gray duck into a pad design, as a nod to “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” (which is what Minnesotans call the game that everyone else calls Duck Duck Goose). Leveille says that she would love to have all-black gear, though it’s not likely to happen.
“Everybody in the goalie world always thinks that white pads make you look bigger,” she says, but after she and Allie did a dance video for the Whitecaps Blackout game, the idea of an all-black set grew on her. “It just looked so cool with the Whitecaps jerseys, “ she says, “I wanna look cool with all-black gear with some waves and maybe some fish.”