GRAND BLANC, Mich. - By now, Ray Bishop has his routine down.
He's been designing and painting goalie masks for years and he's always trying to one-up himself.
"People want to know what's the new thing you're going to do," Bishop said. "You have to be on the cutting edge of it all the time."
So far, so good.
There's always a buzz surrounding bishop's designs, probably because he continues to churn out the coolest masks on ice.
Bishop started "Bishop Creations" 20 years ago. He pulled from his automotive background, his artistic eye and his love for hockey.
"My first NHL mask I made was for Roman Turek of the Dallas Stars," Bishop said. "Once you get one in the NHL, that's when people really start to look at what you've done and it just grew from there."
Now Bishop's clientele is a "who's who" of hockey net minders.
Ryan Miller started collaborating with Bishop when he played for Michigan State. In 2010, he asked Bishop to make his Olympic mask.
"[This year's Olympic mask] is like Ryan Miller's 2.0 version," he said. "I guess it's the new version and this one is my favorite."
Jimmy Howard works with Bishop for all of his Red Wings masks. So, naturally, he asked him to create his Olympic version, too.
"I came up with the stars, he came up with the eagle," Howard said. "You're limited in the Olympics with what you can do, they sensor it, so it's a simple mask."
"He pretty much gave me the ability to just run with it," Bishop said of Howard's Team USA mask. "He said he wanted a stars and stripes theme and I did a couple sketches up for him."
Between the design and execution, Bishop said it takes him anywhere from 30-70 hours to complete each mask. It's a lot of work, but every time he sees his creations on the ice, he gets goose bumps.
"When you see something you painted on national TV, it's really a neat thing and now on the Olympic scale, it's a global thing, it's really neat," he said.
To see more of his designs, visit the Bishop Designs Facebook page.
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