Once upon a time, NHL goalies played without masks. Unsurprisingly, their faces often got all fucked up. In 1966, LIFE published an article, "The Goalie Is the Goat," that not only aimed to put a human countenance on "hockey's reviled and bludgeoned fall-guys," but featured a photo of what looked like a modern-day Frankenstein's monster.
This face belongs to Terry Sawchuk [wrote LIFE], a 36-year-old goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Re-created here, by a professional make-up artist and a doctor, are some of the more than 400 stitches he has earned during 16 years in the National Hockey League. Sawchuk has sustained other injuries not shown here: a slashed eyeball requiring three stitches, a 70% loss of function in his right arm because 60 bone chips were removed from his elbow. . . .
The list goes on. The point here, really, is that a certain type of fan is constantly bemoaning the fact that some professional sports seem to have grown less hard-core through the years, e.g, no more NFL players lining up on every snap, on both sides of the ball, a la macho gridiron coots like Bednarik. All right. But if some fool ever starts bleating about how today's NHL goalies are wusses because they wear helmets and face masks — well, maybe a 90 mph puck to the cheekbone or chin of the bemoaner will shut up that nonsense for good.
Ben Cosgrove is the editor of LIFE.com. Picture This is his weekly, and occasionally more frequent, feature for The Stacks.
Photo Credit: Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images