Goalie mask

Goalie mask

A goalie mask is a mask worn by an ice hockey goaltender to protect the head from injury.


The first mask was a crude leather model (actually a football "nose-guard") worn by . [cite web| url=http://www.hockeygoalies.org/bio/browna.html |title=Andrew Conrad (Andy) Brown|accessdate=2007-06-17 ]

The advent of the goalie mask changed the way goaltenders play, allowing them to make more saves on their knees without fear of serious head or facial injuries. Before the advent of the mask, most goaltenders stayed standing as much as possible. In the modern era, a goaltender is likely to make the majority of saves when he has one or both knees on the ice.

Current types

Helmet/cage combination

Two kinds of goalie masks are currently in use. The first one is a simple helmet/cage combination made famous in the 1970's by Soviet goalie, Vladislav Tretiak. [ cite web|url=http://www.hockeygoalies.org/bio/tretiak.html| title=Vladislav Tretiak |accessdate=2007-06-17 ] It is not generally popular because there is perception by some that this type of mask cannot fully deflect the force of high-speed slapshots (despite criticisms, the mask configuration is currently being used by Dominik Hašek and Chris Osgood in the NHL). [ cite web| url=http://www.hockeygoalies.org/bio/hasek.html |title=Dominik "The Dominator" Hasek| accessdate=2007-06-17] cite web| url=http://www.hockeygoalies.org/bio/cloutierd.html |title=Dan Cloutier|accessdate=2007-06-17] After being traded to the Los Angeles Kings, Dan Cloutier temporarily switched to the more common close-fitting mask upon advice from the Kings citing safety reasons. However, the helmet (and cage) Hasek uses for his combo are made by Warwick Mask Company. The helmet is of one piece fibreglass, making it as safe (if not safer)fact|date=July 2008 than the standard goalie mask that most other goalies wear today.

With this type of mask three styles of cages are currently in use.
*Standard cage - similar to the kind used on the simple helmet of the 1970s.
*Cat-Eye cage - improves visibility by using angled wires, and a straight one down the middle. This type may be either "Certified" or "Uncertified." The Uncertified mask has holes which are large enough for a stick to pass through.
*Ringette cage - uses diagonal wiring vertically (like a chain link fence) and straight horizontal wiring to create a ring effect. These are equally as safe as the standard type and thus are usually certified.

Full fiberglass

The second type of goalie mask is a fiberglass mask with a cage attached in the middle. cite web| url=http://www.prohockeystuff.com/goalie-equipment/masks.aspx|title=Goalie Masks|accessdate=2007-06-17] The goalie mask can also be made out of carbon fiber, or a fiberglass and kevlar mix. These masks are able to better withstand the impacts of hockey puck at higher speeds and are generally used at major junior, college and professional levels.

The back of the head is protected differently by each type of mask. The helmet/cage combos distribute impact throughout the mask since the back of the helmet is integral to the whole mask. Most helmets are player's helmets, which are two pieces screwed together.

One piece fiberglass versions (see Hasek pic above) are now also available at a higher cost (and limited distribution), and this option is arguably the safest type of mask to use, because it has most of the benefits of each type of system. The fiberglass mask has a separate back plate which does not distribute the impact similarly. Fiberglass masks also do not handle side impacts as well, since the fiberglass shell will often resonate much like a bell. Fiberglass masks work best when the impact being absorbed is received square to the center of the mask. The fiberglass mask is the most popular one among goalies today.

Because of the available surface area provided by fibreglass masks, goalies find it fashionable to give their mask distinctive decorations. This tradition started with the early 'Jason' style masks, most notably by Gerry Cheevers, who was known for drawing stitches on his mask whenever it got hit. [cite web| url=http://www.hockeygoalies.org/bio/cheevers.html| title=Gerry Cheevers|accessdate=2007-06-17] These stitches represented where Cheevers would have been cut had he not been wearing his mask. [cite web| url=http://www.legendsofhockey.net:8080/LegendsOfHockey/jsp/LegendsMember.jsp?mem=p198501&type=Player&page=bio&list=#photo| title= Gerry Cheevers Biography|accessdate=2007-06-17] The fibreglass helmets used in the helmet/cage combo masks also offer this advantage. These days, a goalie is well-identified with his helmet design, often transferring the motif into their new team's colors when traded or signed to a new team.

One notable tribute goalie mask has lately been worn by Hannu Toivonen of the Boston Bruins. It depicts the fanged Jolly Roger skull and crossbones mask artwork worn by fictional goalie Denis Lemieux in the hockey movie "Slap Shot".

In recent years, baseball catchers have begun to wear similar masks. The first such mask made its debut in 1996 by Charlie O'Brien who was playing with the Toronto Blue Jays at the time.

ee also

* Hockey helmet


External links

* [http://goaliepro.com/en/resources/2005/mask_history.php A Brief History of the Goalie Mask]

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