Two different types of Shuswap-grown talent were on display when the Montreal Canadiens presented their captain Shea Weber with an oil-pencil drawing commemorating his 1,000th NHL game.
Weber, who grew up in Sicamous, hit the NHL ice for the 1,000th time on Feb. 2 to face the Vancouver Canucks. During a first period break in play, Weber was recognized for the career milestone and presented with an intricate drawing commemorating the various stages of his NHL career. The Canadiens went on to beat Vancouver 5-3 with Weber contributing an assist along with his usual defensive presence.
Watching the game from home in Salmon Arm was Justin Maas, who was pleased to see his favourite team trounce the Canucks, and watch as his artwork was unveiled for the international T.V. broadcast. Maas was commissioned to draw the portraits which were presented to the veteran defenceman at the Feb. 2 game.
The Canadiens contacted Maas, a renowned portrait artist whose drawings have been commissioned by other NHL teams, on Jan. 18. Over the course of a few days Maas and team representatives selected which images of the Canadiens’ captain would be combined into a pencil drawing and presented to Weber. Images of Weber on draft day in 2003, wearing the yellow jersey of the Nashville Predators, holding a torch high after being selected as captain for the Canadiens, and on the ice in Montreal’s home and away jerseys were all picked for Maas’ drawing.
With an outline settled on, Maas got to work, putting in five 12-to-14 hour days in order to have the drawing ready to ship to Montreal in time for Weber’s 1,000th NHL outing.
Maas is best known for his black and white pencil portraits and when he does work in colour he said pastels are his tool of choice. The demand for fine details and durability in the drawing for Weber led him to pick up an oil pencil.
As a long time fan of the Habs, Maas said he was honoured to be commissioned to draw the team’s captain but noted that he liked Weber even with a Nashville sweater on his back, calling him the type of player who can transcend a team and be appreciated by all.
Maas said he’s still hard at work on a variety of private commissions, and his 389,000 follower total on Instagram continues to grow, largely driven by portraits of celebrities.
His selection for the commission was based entirely on his skill and prominence as an artist; the coincidental detail that he lives a short drive from Weber’s hometown came up well into his discussion with the Canadiens’ staff.