Ice Hockey Goalie Helmets: How They Evolved

Prior to the 1970s, ice hockey goalie helmets were typically made of fiberglass and given a molded shape to fit the goalie's face. By then, however, two important things happened. First, a series of accidents related to masks struck down the careers of many NHL players; second, North America saw the effectiveness of the helmet/bird cage mask design that was popularized by Russian player Vladislav Tretiak. People saw the major difference that it made to the game by giving the goalie extended vision compared to the form-molded helmets that were popular until then. While these two factors brought Ice Hockey Goalie Helmetssafety and playability to the forefront, the use of a cage over the eye-holes of the fiberglass mask and an extension to protect the head by ace goaltender Tony Esposito finally managed to push the modern mask over the edge and onto the ice. The modern goalie mask based on this design is also called a hybrid mask, and offers that highest amounts of safety and protection, as well as visibility.

Ice Hockey Helmets Of Today

Modern day ice hockey goalie helmets or goalie masks offer full protection to the face and head region, at the same time not compromising the player's extent of vision. The cage design, as mentioned, is the most popular, but to take visibility a step further, combination plastic shield and cage helmets are now gaining popularity quickly. The clear shield gives an absolutely unhindered view of the game while the cage protects the lower face from stick shaft injury. Let's review some of the popular brands of ice hockey goalie helmets to see what benefits each of them has.

Ice Hockey Helmets From Bauer

The Bauer range of goalie masks is reasonably priced, starting at around $140 for senior masks and $110 for juniors. The Canadian design, with exclusive LEXAN EXL polycarbonate shell, is light-weight, durable and impact absorbing; along with the foam liner, this offers an amazing amount of protection from hits and falls. The chrome-plated carbon steel wire is extremely strong and can take the hardest knocks with ease and grace. It also comes with a five-point backplate strap that's fully adjustable and a sweat band as well. The best part is probably the large window that gives you peripheral vision that is usually a challenge for ice hockey goalie helmets. The extended chin guard also affords a measure of chin and throat protection from 100 M.P.H. pucks or wildly swung sticks.

Reebok's Answer To Flying Pucks

Reebok's 8K hockey helmet combo is also a great product that's not too expensive - $140 or so. Incorporating some really cutting edge technology, this helmet is probably one of the lightest helmets you'll find that gives you the required protection and visibility. If you're worried about the right fit, then this is the perfect helmet – a microdial lets you adjust the fit to give you a 360-degree perfect hold. The carbon fiber technology used on this mask is said to be the same one that revolutionized hockey stick making, and allows the piece to be as light as possible while offering superior protection from the knocks, hits, falls, smashes and crashes of ice hockey life.

Mission: Possible And Affordable

At a surprisingly low price tag of $45 comes the Mission M1501 ice hockey goalie helmet. The polycarbonate shield takes the place of the cage and offers a really good view in terms of unobstructed peripheral vision. It is also vented for circulation and is coated with anti-fog. The vinyl nitrile foam liner offers great impact reduction while keeping the weight of the helmet down. If you're on a tight budget but must have a new helmet, then this will probably be a good choice for you.