Hockey goaltenders often use their masks as a form of self-expression. For Bloomington Thunder goaltender Logan Halladay, his mask this season goes a little further than that.
“It’s a huge blessing to play in the USHL,” said Halladay who started his third season with the Thunder on Saturday. “It’s something that’s given me a platform to help others, so I want to use that to the best of my ability and be as big of a help as I can to other people.”
So instead of using his mask to describe himself, Halladay is using his mask to help others by raising money and awareness for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.
“The idea started last year. I was thinking one day and I thought how cool of an idea it would be to have a helmet that we could give away to one of the fans,” Halladay continued. “I just kept thinking about it and decided to incorporate the Global Down Syndrome Foundation because it’s something close to my heart and something I want to help give back to.”
For now Halladay will wear the mask that depicts both the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and Special Olympics logos. But at the end of the season, the mask will be given to the winner of the raffle for the helmet, a raffle that will also include Halladay’s jersey and stick, among other items.
The entire idea, from the design of the mask to giving it away, all came from Halladay, self-effacing decisions made by a player who turned only 20-years-old a month ago. But the people that Halladay has come in contact with in just 20 years made the decision to dedicate his mask an easy one.
“I stayed with a family a couple years ago when I was playing in Wheaton, Illinois, and they have a little daughter who has Down Syndrome. Her and I have been best friends ever since I stayed there,” Halladay said. “So it’s just been a big blessing.
“We take a lot of things for granted and just to see how happy they are and how excited they are to have something of their own or go out and do something is amazing to me,” Halladay added. “Seeing them have that in their life is an inspiration to me and it’s something I want to help put in other people’s lives as well.”
In addition to the GDSF and Special Olympics logos, Halladay also pays special tribute to those affected by Down Syndrome and special needs with a Superman in Thunder colors on the right side of his helmet and chromosome graphics on the top of it.
“I chose the Superman logo for the right side of my mask because I see all children and people who have special needs as superheroes,” Halladay said. “To see everything they go through on a daily basis and just to see the positive attitude they have and the positive outlook they have on life is something that touches home with me and something that’s very inspiring to me.”
A native of Cary, North Carolina, Halladay has been in Illinois since 2012 when he started playing with the Chicago Young Americans Under-18 team. He is one of just a handful of players on the Thunder’s current roster that has played with the team for its first three seasons in the USHL, allowing him to develop close relationships throughout the community.
Halladay will embark on a new hockey journey next year when he heads to Merrimack College in North Andover, MA as he graduates to college hockey. Prior to leaving Bloomington, the young netminder wanted a chance to give back to the community that has become a new home over the course of the last three seasons.
“As Thunder players and as an organization, we like to take every opportunity to give back to the community because they’ve given a lot to us,” Halladay said. “This is another way for me to give back to the Bloomington community for everything they’ve given me and the Thunder organization.”
Those interesting in making a donation to be entered in the raffle can either do so in person at every Thunder game this season or visit the Thunder’s website. More information about the mask, including a personal message from Halladay, can also be found here.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.