Goalie equipment, with today's new technology, is better than ever. Nowadays, you can get your pads in almost any color combinations and custom graphics from many brands. However, it comes at a heavy price. It can cost in the range of several thousand dollars to equip a goalie.
If you treat your equipment right, though, it can last for years and years. This includes proper storage of the equipment (in a bag of some sort), taking your pads out of the bag to let them air out and dry (never try to force dry your equipment [i.e. blow dryers. . .it can cause premature breakdown of the parts] let it sit out overnight), and replacing straps and other materials when the time comes. Now, I will show you a brief list and functions of modern goalie equipment.
Leg Pads: The leg pads are by far the most expensive piece of goalie equipment. They can cost close to the price of all the other equipment added up. However, they should last the longest. Leg pads are made with several materials. There are many that have the feel and look of leather, but will not soak up water or rot the way the old brown leather pads would. This list of synthetics includes: Jenrino, Corintia, Clarino, Sanfina, and TW-9. There are also materials that are less expensive than Synthetics, but just as durable, such as Cordura. Cordura and other light weight materials are more appropriate for inline hockey, as they do
CHEST and ARM: When looking for a chest and arm protector, there are several things you need to keep in mind. For example, the flexibility of the arms and chest pad (does it restrict my motion?), the protection in the belly and shoulder area, and the break-in time. The more flexible it is when you get it, the less break-in time is required. The padding in the unit should
not break down as easily.Some common features of leg pads are knee and calf guards, thigh guards, and knee cradles. Knee and calf guards basically explain themselves. They are usually made of foams and plastics that protect your inside leg from shots. The thigh guard is the same; except it protects your lower thigh. The knee cradle is a rather simple device, it keeps your leg in the leg channel, offers support , prevents the leg from twisting while recovering from the butterfly, and offers some added protection. Finally, the leg channel should be made of a material that is durable and water resistant. Nylon is an excellent example. It is lightweight and does not absorb water. Felt, on the other hand, will absorb sweat, and it tends to clump up with the more moisture it gets. Try and avoid felt.
My leg pads: The leg pads I wear are the Franklin THT 4255 series. They offer great protection, and are highly durable.
be made from several high quality materials. You should look for high and low density foams ( they should be hard to the touch), plastics, and if possible, Kevlar in the neck area ( helps prevent cuts from skates and sticks). The length of the chest pad should go down to the beginning of the cup. Price should not be an issue when picking out a C & A unit; don t risk getting hurt with a chest pad that doesn t match your level of play.
My Chest and Arm Pad: I am the proud owner of the Simmons 9500 Heart Guard Series. It has a special pad that helps minimize the risk of internal injury, plus it has extra foam on the back of the belly. The protection is superior to my old unit, and I could not wish for a better pad.
The Mask: The mask should reflect you-someone smart enough to protect their head when playing goal (Goalies were not required to wear masks until the late 1970s). You also have the option of making it reflect your personality; you can get it custom painted to almost any imaginable design. Many masks these days come in either black or white. The color should not matter, only the protection (still, it doesn t hurt to look good). The shell, or outer part of the mask, should be made of a strong space-polymer material, to resist impacts. Internally, there should be plenty of foam to absorb the shock. An added feature is a
chin cup, which keeps your head secured in the mask. Finally, the mask should come with one of two cages:
1.) The standard wire-grid design (boxes)
2.) Cat-Eye, which is made up of circles that allow less vision blockage. My mask: I own the Heaton Pro goal mask shown. It has the wire-grid cage, a compression molded fiberglass-Kevlar shell, a chin cup, and plenty of vinyl nitrate foam.
internal glove keeps your fingers in the finger stalls where they should be, instead of sliding around (This is often made of breathable materials, such as Spandex and mesh). When picking a catcher, you want to make sure that it isn't too big for you to control; otherwise you could break it in wrong and really mess the glove up.
My Catcher: I possess the Simmons Platinum Ltd. Pro catcher. It comes with a dual wrist lock, an internal glove, and a skate laced T-trap, which makes it easier to break in. The Blocker: The blocker is worn on the hand you hold the stick with, and it is a very simple piece of goalie equipment. It is basically a block of foam and plastic attached to a glove; it's that easy.Blockers should have a solid thumb protector, along with protective finger plates. Also, the addition of a wrist strap and a mobile cuff is very effective; the wrist strap keeps your hand in, the cuff makes it easier to shoot.Externally, the blocker should be made of some durable material, such as TW-9. Internally, several densities of foam may be used, along with a stiff plastic insert. My
The Catcher: The catcher has a come a long way in 20 years. What was then a bucky brown leather glove, which, upon catching, felt like you were nabbing the puck bare-handed; is now a thing of marvel. Catchers ( or Trappers ) usually come in many different colors and styles, many in outrageous color schemes. Catchers nowadays are equipped with a big slab called a cuff pad, which protects your wrist from that dreaded rubber disk. To keep your hand in the glove, many come with two wrist straps, which locks your wrist in place. Also, a nice invention called the
The Stick: The stick is essentially important, and many goalies feel naked without it; I do. A stick can be used to poke-check, to shoot, and to block passes and shots. The stick should be made up of lightweight materials, such as wood, fiberglass, and a foam-injected core; like mine. Also, it should feel comfortable in your stance, and cover the five-hole (between your legs). When taping your stick, you should tape heel-to-toe, it lessens the friction (I'm not sure why! ). Also, tape in white if possible; a black knob at the end of the stick may be confused with the puck, and you could be cheated out of a goal.
My Stick: I own a Heaton Helite IV 6100 Gatekeeper goal stick. It is extremely lightweight and durable, it can withstand 90 mph slapshots
My Skates: The skates I have are Mission Mod 4s. An aluminum E-7 chassis, ABEC 5 bearings, and BullzEye SportCourt wheels spell out a smooth ride
Neck Protectors: The name hints at what the protector does. There are two types of neck protectors:
1.) The collar design. The collar design consists of a lightweight material over a piece of foam or plastic guard. Some collars also have a collarbone pad attached, which offers more protection.
2.) A free-hanging shield. The shield is attached to the mask by strings or clips, and it covers the neck area. It is made of heat molded Lexxan, usually, and can come in many colors; the most popular being clear.
My Neck Protector: The neck protector I wear is the clear shield. Even though I have tried both, I like the shield better. I feel that it offers me more freedom in looking down (often the collar will restrict the mask from looking down-it can choke the goalie), and it doesn't suffocate my neck like the collar does.
The Goal Cup: Last but oh-so-definitely-not least is the goalie's best friend: his cup. The cup will save you so much pain and trouble, just by spending some extra money. I STRONGLY recommend not wearing a regular jock in goal. Even though it protects, it still stings like crazy. A goalie jock, on the other hand, has padding all around the waist, plus more on the cup. If you are currently playing with a regular cup, I suggest you switch; you would not believe the difference it will make. It's very hard to feel the shot like you would before with a normal jock on; plus, it will improve your --err. . .willingness to get in front of the shot with confidence.
My Goal Cup: I own the Simmons Pro Goal Jock, and it is by far superior to the regular sports jock. It is extremely protective and comfortable. While I know that this is not the best subject to talk about, it increases the future up-and-coming goalie’s awareness when it comes to equipment buying time. To end this chapter, I came up with this nifty slogan: A goalie jock is like an American Express card: Never leave home without it!