Is There A Weight Or Size Limit For An NHL Goalie Blocking The Net?

ice hockey goalie blocker regular

There is no weight or size limit for NHL goaltenders, though there are restrictions on the size of the equipment these goalies can use. Over the years, NHL coaches have swayed back and forth between preferring tall goalies who take up maximum space versus smaller, more athletic goaltenders. Bigger goalies have a clear advantage: they cover more of the net. However, bigger is not always better when it comes to stopping the puck.

Equipment Restrictions

ice hockey goalie equipment

According to NHL rules, the equipment goaltenders wear must serve only as protective garments. Equipment which gives goaltenders an extra advantage at playing their position while not being necessary to defend the goaltenders’ head or body is illegal. The only exceptions to this rule are goalie sticks and goalie skates.

Goaltender sticks are thicker than player sticks and help the goaltender block and redirect shots. Goalie skates also differ from typical hockey skates: they feature a longer blade and a wider sole. Both of these pieces of equipment are designed to be helpful for the goaltender and thus are not held to the same restrictions as the rest of the goaltenders’ equipment.

How Have Equipment Restrictions Changed?

In 2018, the NHL re-examined its rules on goaltender equipment. They determined that the chest and arm protectors of goaltenders needed to be anatomically proportional to the goaltender. This change was instituted as a part of rule 11.3, which covers the chest and arm pads of goalies. The rule also provides specific measurements, which mostly detail how many inches off the body a piece of equipment can extend. The main two pieces of goalie equipment that are strictly restricted in size are gloves and leg pads. Leg pads must not exceed 11 inches in width and 38 inches in height. Goalie gloves must not exceed 8 inches in width, 15 inches in length, and 45 inches in circumference.

The rule change ultimately required padding to be tighter to goaltenders’ bodies and to conform to the body of the athlete. The rule change included very specific wording in order to combat any potential loopholes.

How Big is the NHL Net?

ice hockey regulation goal

The NHL net is four feet tall and six feet wide and always has been. There was some talk of increasing the size of the net to combat the trend of bigger goaltenders with more excessive padding in 2018. However, NHL board members and the NHLPA heavily preferred to manage the size of goalies’ equipment instead. For now, the NHL net remains as it has been.


Why were goaltender equipment rules added?

Equipment restrictions for goalies were necessary because of a drop in league-wide scoring, as well as an increase in the average pad size of goalies. Over the years, goaltenders began to prefer larger padding, likely because it gives them a competitive advantage. Goaltenders also got better at playing their position over time, which contributed to the drop in scoring.

Who is the tallest NHL goaltender?

The tallest NHL goaltender is Ben Bishop. Bishop, an American goaltender, is six feet and seven inches tall. This is just two inches behind Zdeno Chara, who is the tallest NHL player at six feet and nine inches. Ben Bishop played primarily for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Dallas Stars, while also spending time with St. Louis, Ottawa, and Los Angeles.