Since hockey is a very physical sport, whether you’re playing inline or ice, it’s pretty normal that some fighting is going to happen. One player’s going to check another player into the wall in a no-check game, someone’s going to get tripped up by a hockey stick that’s in the wrong place at the wrong time – on purpose or not. It’s just the nature of the sport, and a good hockey mask is an essential piece of gear. Hockey News
And then there’s the hockey puck. Hard and heavy, hockey pucks are super fast moving objects and most often it’s the goalie’s body that stops the puck in mid-motion, making a good mask even more important to the players on the ice, especially for the goalie.
With speeds reaching up to 160 kilometers an hour, a hard fast shot on goal can be really dangerous to the goalie, which is why this protection is a requirement with younger hockey players. And you’ll always see every goalie wearing a full face hockey mask.
The Goalie’s Mask
A goalie’s mask today is actually a full-face helmet made from a variety of composite materials like Kevlar, carbon fiber and fiberglass. The front of the helmet has a large opening cut out in the front and covered by a titanium cage. Depending on the design the goalie wants, the hockey mask of today can actually be scarier than the one that Jason wore in Friday the 13th!
Face masks or face cages worn by the other players can be permanently attached to their helmets or detachable so they can be removed if they’re practicing.
Since the hockey mask is either part of the helmet or attached to the helmet, the design of the helmet is just as important to the players as the face mask. Helmets today are also made of a variety of lightweight composite materials so they’re easier to wear for longer periods of time and can withstand the grueling punishment they take protecting the players during game time.
Open Front Cage Design
The open front with the cage overlay makes it easier for the players to see each other, follow the puck and be aware of other obstacles – like falling players or broken hockey sticks – that will inevitably get in the way and possibly some injuries which could likely be more severe without the right protective gear.
The open cage design also allows for much better air circulation than the old closed-up design that only had eye and nose cutouts. The new designs can also hold up against the full force of a fast-moving puck hitting a player it the face, thereby saving their teeth and avoiding broken noses in the process.
As much fun as hockey is to play, especially ice hockey, unfortunately this high impact physical sport also comes with some injuries to the head and limbs that could be fatal if the proper protective gear isn’t worn. And this is even more critical for the goalie, which is why the improvements have been made to the hockey mask of today.