Artist: Steve Nash of Eyecandyair
Article about Ward's mask here.
"One of themes that has stuck with me through the years is the Blackbeard pirate," Ward said.
"Because of the North Carolina coast, of being new to North Carolina and not really having an understanding of North Carolina history," Ward said.
A Maple Leaf also is "ghosted" in. He is proud of his Canadian background and heritage.
One change this year is a white base and a white cage. Less glare than the chrome, he said. It also matches his lighter gear.
But the backplate of the mask - which was made by Sportmask and airbrushed and illustrated by artist Steve Nash of Eyecandyair in Toronto - is, in Ward's words, more personal.
There's a cross, a symbol of a deep, strong faith. There are the initials F.W., a tribute to his late grandfather, Frank Ward. There are the names of his wife, son and daughter.
There also is what appears to be a small, handwritten note. It's from Ward's son, Nolan, and says simply. "I love Dad."
To cap it off, Ward has what has long been his personal motto: "Have fun."