Ice Hockey Face Shields

Ice Hockey Face Shield

Face shields are a piece of equipment that is becoming more and more popular in hockey. You may notice that a lot players wear shields in many different styles. This piece of equipment is not always required, but is extremely common and can be very useful.


What are ice hockey face shields used for?

Ice hockey face shields are exactly what they sound like; they shield the player's face from potential injuries. They are crafted pieces of metal or plastic that clip onto a player's helmet. In ice hockey, there are a lot of pieces of equipment that can fly in the air unexpectedly such as the puck, the end of a stick or even a limb. Face shields aim to prevent anything from hitting the player's face. Different types of face shields offer different levels of protection.

In many ice hockey leagues, face shields are becoming required. As of 2013, the NHL made a rule requiring all incoming players and players with less than 26 games of experience to wear some sort of face shield. It is even common for lower level leagues to require full facial protection as an emphasis on player health continues to grow.

Things To Consider

When looking for a face shield, you'll want to consider the following:

  • What amount of protection is required for your level of play?
  • How much do you want to spend on a face shield?
  • What level of visibility do you want to have?
  • What type of face shield do you find to be the best looking?
  • What brand of face shield carries the style you prefer?
  • Will the face shield you are looking at fit on your helmet?

Types

Types Of Ice Hockey Face Shields

The four types of ice hockey face shields are bubbles, cages, hybrids, and visors.

Bubble

Ice Hockey Face Shield Bubble

Bubble face shields are one type of full-face hockey shield. They usually are made out of a hard plastic and have a visor over the eyes with a plastic cage covering the mouth. This type of face mask is rising in popularity as it provides full facial protection while also remaining visible and breathable.

Cage

Ice Hockey Face Shield Cage

Cages also cover the entire face. They are usually made out of metal and feature thin intersecting wires to resemble a cage. Many people prefer these because they are very strong and breathable. However, the wires can block the player's visibility at times.

Hybrid

Ice Hockey Face Shield Hybrid

A hybrid shield is essentially a mix between a bubble shield and a cage. It covers the full face, and has a plastic visor over the eyes with a cage over the mouth. Hybrid masks are relatively similar to bubble masks in terms of their visibility and protection. Some players may prefer this mask as it can fog up a little bit less than bubble shields.

Visor

Ice Hockey Face Shield Visor

Visors provide the least amount of protection among all face shields. It is only a piece of plastic that covers the eyes and part of the nose. Many people prefer this shield because it is the most breathable and visible. It also will not fog up during a game. Many referees wear visors as well.

Materials

The most common materials that face shields are made out of are polycarbonate and steel.

  • Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate is a hardened type of plastic that is used in face shields. This material is found in most bubble shields, hybrid shields, and visors. This type of plastic is used over others because of many factors such as its durability, fog resistance, and visibility.
  • Steel: Steel is a strong metal found in certain face shields. This material makes up the majority of cage shields and the metal parts of hybrid masks. It is highly unlikely that steel face shields would break, making it a safe choice.

Brands

The most common face shield manufacturers are Bauer, CCM, and Oakley.

  • Bauer: Bauer is one of the premier hockey equipment and apparel brands. They make all 4 different types of face shields and use polycarbonate and steel accordingly.
  • CCM: CCM is another hockey brand known for their high quality products. They mainly produce bubble shields and cages and many different sizes.
  • Oakley: Oakley produces eyewear and apparel for many different sports. For ice hockey, they only produce visors. Their visors are known for their high visibility.

Considerations

When considering which face shield to buy, always consider the durability, cost, sizes, and visibility.

Durability

Hockey face shields are pretty durable. The materials used to make them are very strong and made to withstand numerous hits from hard objects. Over time, however, they can sometimes scratch. Also, some face shields will not fit certain helmets, so a face shield may not last through a helmet change.

Cost

Face shields can cost anywhere from $30 to $80. In general, cages and face shields made with metal rather than plastic tend to be cheaper. Full-face shields, especially bubble shields, are usually the most expensive. Getting a face shield custom fit or putting a prescription into the visor will likely make it much more expensive.

Sizes

Most companies will make face shields that only come in one or two sizes. It is common for shields to be categorized as junior or senior sizes. Some places will have a few different sizes ranging from small to large. It is best to see the exact dimensions if buying online in order to make sure that it is compatible with your helmet.

Visibility

In general, visors will be the most visible while cages will be the least. Bubble shields and hybrid masks offer pretty close visibility to visors as well. Cages are the least visible because of the metal wires running in front of the eyes, but different color cages may improve their visibility.

What are the best ice hockey face shields?

FAQ

Are face shields mandatory in the NHL?

Face shields are currently mandatory in the NHL. As of 2013, all new or inexperienced players entering the league are required to wear some sort of face shield. However, most players prefer to wear them anyway.

What visor do NHL players wear?

Not all NHL players are required to wear the same brand of visor. Players may choose which visor to wear based on sponsorships or personal preference. While visors are the most popular choice in the NHL, some athletes prefer full face bubble shields instead.

How much do hockey face shields cost?

Hockey shields can usually be had for $80 or less. As a general rule, cages and face shields containing metal will cost less. Visors will usually be cheaper than full face shields of the same material.