The last man to ignore the NHL’s compulsory helmet rule

Beginning in 1979, the National Hockey League required all players to wear helmets. But if a player had signed his first professional contract before this ruling, he was allowed to play without a helmet if he so desired.

Craig MacTavish was the last player to do so, playing without a helmet up until his retirement in 1997.
 

 
Guy Lafleur and Rod Langway came in at a close second and third, both taking advantage of the League’s grandfather clause.
 

Guy LaFleur retired in 1991.
Guy LaFleur retired in 1991.

 
Rod Langway retired in 1993
Rod Langway retired in 1993

 
Jacques Plante can be credited with starting the trend of face protection at the top of the sport. After taking a puck to the face in 1959, Jacques came back to the ice wearing the mask he used in training, and so began an important change in attitudes towards head protection.
 
Hockey goalie
 

I mean just consider some of the NHL’s greatest smiles