Stewart Bell spotted an old college photograph of his grandmother in The Hockey News.
"The first hockey netminder interested in saving face looks to have been Elizabeth Graham," the article reads. "It would appear the father of the goalie mask was in fact a woman."
Hockey players didn't even wear helmets back then, but on Feb. 7, 1927, she stepped onto the ice wearing a metal mask. The Kingston Whig-Standard noted how she "gave the fans a surprise" but conceded her good sense. "It was safety first with her," the newspaper wrote, "and even at that she can't be blamed for her precautionary methods."
It was actually a fencing mask and she wore it to protect her teeth. Her father had already spent so much to send her to university that she didn't want to add to his burden by racking up dental bills. [Link]