Ice Hockey Goalie Masks
A staple piece of equipment of every ice hockey goaltender is a goalie mask. Goalie masks are different from traditional hockey helmets and face shields. Masks can be highly customized, making for one of the more expressive pieces of equipment in the game. Goalie masks have changed a lot over time, and there is a lot to learn about them.
What are ice hockey goalie masks used for?
Ice hockey goalie masks serve one main purpose, and that is to protect the goaltender’s face from any sort of injury. In hockey, there are numerous different pieces of equipment that can hit the goalie’s face at any time. Especially considering hockey pucks, which are very hard and can be shot upwards of 100 mph, it is very difficult for a goalie to move their head out of the way of flying objects. These masks are meant to absorb contact and prevent any head injury to the goalie.
Masks have changed greatly in design over the years and were originally not even worn by goalies. Goalie masks are usually designed with a hard piece of plastic or fiber surrounding the head and neck with a cage over the face to see out of. They are very effective and are now a required piece of equipment.
Things To Consider
When looking for an ice hockey goalie mask, you'll want to consider the following:
- What size goalie mask do you need?
- How much do you want to spend on a goalie mask?
- What is the most comfortable type of mask on your head?
- Do you want to be able to customize your goalie mask?
The three main types of goalie masks are face-hugging, helmet-cage combination, and fiberglass-cage combination.
Face-hugging masks are the original style of goalie masks. These masks were typically a solid piece of plastic or fiberglass that conformed around the goalie’s face. It has hole cutouts for the eyes, nose, and mouth as well as ventilation holes. This mask is no longer used in competitive hockey as it is less protective and has less visibility.
Helmet-cage combination masks are another type of goalie mask that is not used a lot anymore. This style of mask is similar to a regular hockey mask with a cage face shield. While better than face-hugging masks, these masks still do not protect all the vital parts of a goalie’s head and neck. Some recreational players still may prefer this mask as it is light and has slightly more visibility than a modern goalie mask.
Fiberglass-cage combination masks are the most common type of mask today. These masks feature a fiberglass mask that covers most of the head and neck with a metal cage over the face. This style of mask is the most protective and is much better at absorbing high impact shots.
The most popular brands that produce goalie masks are Bauer, CCM, and Warrior.
- Bauer: Bauer is one of the premier hockey equipment brands and is known for their high quality products. They make fiberglass-cage combination masks at different price points for different skill levels.
- CCM: CCM is a major hockey equipment brand. They make a variety of fiberglass-cage combination masks and also sell customizable goalie mask pieces.
- Warrior: Warrior specializes in hockey and lacrosse equipment. All of their fiberglass-cage combination masks are pretty similar with a few differentiating factors between them.
When deciding which goalie mask to buy, always consider the durability, cost, and sizes.
Goalie masks can last a very long time if taken care of properly. The maximum time for them to be considered effective is around 10 years, though most masks are replaced sooner due to wear and tear. As long as a goalie mask fits on your head, it should last a very long time.
The cost of a goalie mask usually varies based on who they are targeted for and the materials within them. Most basic masks that are targeted towards recreational or youth players are made of mostly fiberglass and can be found for around $100-$200. Intermediate competitive level goalies can find masks that are mostly fiberglass with some carbon fiber and kevlar reinforcements for around $300-$500. The highest quality masks are usually made of solid carbon fiber and can cost upwards of $800. Customizing the mask with different designs will likely add to the cost.
Goalie masks can range in size for x-small to x-large. Usually, companies will have specific masks that are made for youth or adults with different sizes within those categories. The best way to find your size is usually to measure the circumference of your head. Most suppliers will likely have their own size guide online to fit your exact measurements.
Who was the first goalie to wear a mask?
Jacques Plante was the first goalie to wear an actual goalie mask. He spent time in practice wearing a hockey mask that most resembles a face-hugging mask. When he was injured in a game in 1959, he was stitched up and went back on the ice wearing the mask.
How much does a goalie mask cost?
Goalie masks have a wide variety of different prices. Most fiberglass masks that are targeted towards lower level and recreational players can usually be found for under $200. Medium level masks have some carbon fiber and kevlar mixed in and tend to cost $300-$500. The best quality carbon fiber masks can cost over $850 and can even trend in the thousands if customized.
What are the different kinds of goalie masks?
The first type of goalie mask is a face-hugging mask. This is the oldest style of mask and is a solid piece of fiberglass with certain holes throughout. Helmet-cage combination masks were typically traditional hockey helmets with a cage face shield. The most modern style, fiberglass-cage combination masks, are a hard mask surrounding the head and neck with a cage over the face.