Ice hockey goaltending equipment

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Mathieu Garon, playing for the Los Angeles Kings, in full goaltending gear. MathieuGaron.jpg
Mathieu Garon, playing for the Los Angeles Kings, in full goaltending gear.

In ice hockey, the goaltender wears specialized goaltending equipment to protect himself from the impact of the puck and to assist himself in making saves.


Most modern goaltending equipment is made from hydrophobic synthetic leather and nylon on the outside and dense closed-cell foams and plastics inside. In the past, pads were often made out of leather and stuffed with horse hair. Professional pads were stuffed with deer hair, which is hollow, giving more protection.

The National Hockey League (NHL) specifies maximum dimensions of goaltending equipment to prevent goaltenders from having an unfair advantage. [1] Many other professional and non-professional leagues adhere to equipment size regulations based on International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) rules. [2]


A blocker designed for roller hockey Roller-hockey-(Quad)-Goalie-Stick-Glove.jpg
A blocker designed for roller hockey

The blocker consists of a glove with a rectangular board attached to the backhand side. The board is usually curved up at one end, which is designed to help control the deflection of the puck and will create a tougher angle on a shot if a goaltender uses the shaft-down technique. The blocker is worn on the hand that holds the stick, so a right-handed goaltender wears the blocker on the right hand, and a left-handed goaltender wears it on the left hand. This is called a "full right goalie" as the goaltender wears the catch glove in the right hand. A blocker is sometimes called a waffle, and less commonly as a domino, in reference to older models, which were covered with real leather, but had holes cut in the leather to save weight, giving the blocker a waffle-like appearance. The placement of the palm on the back of the blocker varies though it has been traditionally placed in the middle. Newer models tend to place the palm further to the inside of the glove in order cover more of the net. Typically, the goaltender wears only one blocker. However, near the end of his career, retired goaltender Dan Blackburn played with two blockers after nerve damage rendered him incapable of closing his glove hand.


The Catcher or glove is the glove worn on the free hand. It is similar to a baseball mitt, but has additional padding to protect the lower forearm, wrist, palm, fingers and thumb, and has a deeper pocket. The first goaltender trapper, worn by Reid Miller in 1948, who played for the Wadena Wolverines and the North Stars, was a baseball first baseman's mitt. Common variations among trappers include the pocket angle or "break": this refers to the angle at which the glove closes, usually measured from 60 - 90 degrees.[ clarification needed ] Trappers tend to be one of the most cared-for pieces of equipment for the goaltender. In order to prevent what is called a "pancake pocket", goaltenders often deepen the pocket by strapping objects inside the glove when not in use. The trapper's fit is extremely important as well as the goaltender's sense of the pocket and angles of the trapper. As a result, transitioning to a new glove may be difficult because of the significant break-in time. The total circumference of a trapper is 45 inches, modified down from 48 inches. [3] [ citation needed ]

Chest and arm protector

The chest and arm protector or arm and body pad is designed to protect the chest, shoulders, arms, and collarbone area from the impact of pucks and is worn under the hockey jersey. The chest and arm protector has continually become more protective in recent years. In the early days of goaltending, it was much smaller and less protective, consisting mostly of thick felt. In effect, these pads were little better than what baseball catchers wear today. With the advent of better materials such as high density plastics and foams, chest protectors can be made to protect the body from injury. However, even with modern chest protectors, goaltenders still receive bruises and other minor injuries from pucks that hit them in the torso.


A goaltender jock with a cup pocket, which protects the pelvic area, is more protective than a common jockstrap with protective cup, though it generally uses the same internal plastic cup, or maybe a bit larger. The jock has padding over the internal plastic cup and additional padding from the top of the cup to the waist. Many modern jocks use two cups, one in front of the other, in order to provide more protection. Instead of a jock, female goaltenders wear a pelvic protector known as a jill.

Leg pads

Goalie Jacques Plante wearing goaltender equipment from the 1940s Jacques Plante 1944-1945.jpg
Goalie Jacques Plante wearing goaltender equipment from the 1940s

Goaltenders wear special leg pads to protect their legs and knees. Leg pads have evolved significantly over the years. The earliest leg pads were very similar to the cricket pads from which they were adopted. They were constructed of leather and stuffed with deer hair and sometimes Kapok, [4] a material that was used in life preservers on ships. In the 1930s, leg pads became more specialized, becoming wider and thicker. In the 1940s, an extra roll of material, called a skip-over roll, was added to the outside edge of each pad face, extending from the lowest point of the pad covering the foot, called the boot break, to just below the knee rolls. In the 1950s, the skip-over roll was extended to the very top of the leg pad. In the 1980s, additional padding was added to protect the inside areas of the legs and knees. Toe foils, a plastic shield that was affixed to the bottom outside edge of the goaltender pad, began to be used but were later not allowed by equipment regulations. Leg pad design and construction remained static until the 1990s when synthetic leathers and high density foams began to be used in pad construction. Advantages of synthetic materials were lighter weight and less saturation from water, lower cost, a quick break-in period, and leg pads that could be manufactured in the colors of the goaltender's team. Some leg pad manufacturers replaced the leather toe strap with a toe bridge to affix the front of the leg pad to the front of the goalie skate. Starting around 2000, the "box" style leg pads became popular as goaltending playing technique evolved to a blocking style versus the reacting style of the past. In the "box" style pad, the edge between the pad face and the pad inside edge is square, keeping the pad face more perpendicular with the ice surface and maximizing the blocking area when the goaltender is in the "butterfly" position. Currently, ice hockey regulations require that leg pads be no wider than 11 inches (28 cm) and can be no longer than 38 inches (97 cm). The NHL has also brought in rules stating that each goaltender will be measured for height, and then the height of allowable pads will be calculated in proportion to the height of the goaltender.


Martin Gerber, playing for the Ottawa Senators, wearing a modern goalie mask. Martin Gerber.jpg
Martin Gerber, playing for the Ottawa Senators, wearing a modern goalie mask.

The first modern goaltender mask was pioneered by professional goaltender Jacques Plante. Early masks were constructed from fiberglass and were molded to the shape of the wearer's face. These became less popular in the year 1969 in North America when a series of severe and career ending injuries struck down many NHL goaltenders using molded masks and prompted the Canadian Standards Association to outlaw molded masks in 1978. Assuredly, it was also Vladislav Tretiak's brilliant play during Canada-USSR 1972 Summit Series, that North American players first began to notice the superiority of the helmet/cage-type mask as opposed to the form-fitting fiberglass model, especially in terms of increased vision. Another significant advance in mask design came during the 1974-75 season, when goaltending great Tony Esposito, who had experienced puck and stick injuries to his eyes, fitted a steel cage over the eyeholes of his molded mask and crafted a fiberglass extension to protect the top of his head, thereby setting the groundwork for the next step in mask evolution, the modern goaltender mask, commonly referred to as the "hybrid" mask. Today, most goaltenders utilize hybrid masks made of fiberglass, kevlar, carbon fiber, and other composite materials. Modern masks have a large cutout in the eye and nose area covered by a steel or titanium cage. Many goaltenders are able to be identified by the custom artwork airbrushed on their masks. Some maintain the same theme throughout their career, changing the colors to match their team's colors. Examples include Curtis Joseph's Cujo, Ed Belfour's eagle, Félix Potvin's abstract cat design, Martin Brodeur's generic Devils mask, or Patrick Lalime's Marvin the Martian. Some goaltenders have more generic team-specific artwork, while others vary the artwork over the course of their careers.

An alternative to the mask, is the earlier mentioned "bird-cage" helmet and cage combo, which consists of a wire facemask attached to a standard hockey helmet. This became popular during the 1970s since a cage provides better sightlines than a molded fiberglass mask. Its popularity peaked during the 1980s, yet started to decline during the 1990s, as hockey equipment manufacturers discontinued the production of helmets and cages favored by goaltenders. By the turn of the 21st century, only a few professional goalies still wore a helmet/cage combo. Included in this small group were Chris Osgood of the Detroit Red Wings and Rick DiPietro [5] of the New York Islanders in the NHL, Martin Prusek of Dinamo Riga in the KHL, and Marco Bührer of SC Bern in the Swiss National League A. Dominik Hašek also wore the helmet/cage combo for the duration of his career.

There were various helmet/cage combinations used by professionals. One was the Cooper SK600 helmet with the Cooper HM30 cage (worn by Ken Wregget and Billy Smith). Another was the Cooper SK2000 helmet with either the Cooper HM30 cage (previously used by Osgood and Dan Cloutier) or the Cooper HM50 cage (previously used by Hašek). Another one was the Jofa 280 Helmet with the 260.51 cage, which was last worn by Arturs Irbe. Don Beaupre wore a Cooper SK600 with a Jofa 260.51 cage. After Nike acquired Cooper and consolidated it as Nike Bauer, the SK2000 and HM50 were discontinued, while the HM30 was marketed as a field hockey mask (and subsequently discontinued in 2004). Jofa eventually phased out the 280 helmet and its respective cage, but now offer the RBK 3K helmet and 287 cage for the European market since consolidating with Reebok.

There are currently two models of goaltender masks which are both available to the North American market and based on the helmet/cage combination. The first model is the Hasek Pro Style 357, manufactured by the Warwick Mask Company, which follows the traditional helmet/cage style of masks. Current users of these helmets include Prusek and Bührer, while Hašek used this model from the 2001-02 season up to his retirement. The second is the Mage, manufactured by Sportmask. The difference between the Mage and other helmet/cage combinations is that the Mage's cage attaches to a helmet with a back plate as opposed to a helmet that's enclosed. Mage users include Florida Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas and Genève-Servette HC goaltender Tobias Stephan.


Goaltenders' pants are similar in appearance to the pants that forwards and defensemen wear. Goaltender pants are heavily padded all down the front and sides, with a tailbone protector incorporated into the rear of the pant. They also have protective foams on the inner thigh for increased protection from shots. They also have attachments for the options of suspenders.


Goal skates differ from regular hockey skates: the blade is longer, wider, and flatter to provide the goalie with more stability and to prevent the blade from bending when hit by shots. The blades are usually made from stainless steel, carbon steel, or titanium nitride. The blade holder, which is molded to the cowling or affixed directly to the boot, was historically shorter vertically so that the goaltender is lower to the ice. Modern goalie blades have become much taller to give goalies the ability to have a wide stance without losing their blade edge contact with the ice. The boot does not have a tendon guard, which is the piece of a regular hockey skate that extends up the back of the ankle to protect the Achilles' tendon. Finally, the boot used to be inside a rigid cowling to protect the foot from direct impact. The current trend is to remove the cowling. Cowlings made the skates wider, especially at the bottom of the boot. When the modern goaltender went into a deep "butterfly" position, to see between the players in front of him, the cowl would lift the blade off the ice. The new goaltender skate is made out of newer materials, allowing the boot itself to provide the needed protection. The cowlings are being phased out of professional play.


The special hockey stick goaltenders use has a blade that is approximately 3+12 inches (8.9 cm) wide. The lower 25 to 28 inches (64 to 71 centimetres) of the shaft is widened to provide more blocking surface. This area is called the paddle. Although traditional goaltender sticks were usually made completely of wood, most modern sticks are reinforced with graphite and fiberglass and the paddle and blade are injected with foam to make them lighter. Recently, manufacturers have begun to produce sticks made completely from composite materials, which are lighter.[ citation needed ] However, it may be argued that composite sticks are less durable than their wooden counterparts. While these sticks are widely sold, most professional goaltenders have continued to use the foam core paddle-wood shaft type, even though it may be painted to look composite. The reason is both durability and the ability of the "old" style construction to absorb shock. Player sticks are made to transmit feeling (i.e. of the puck) to the player's hands when stickhandling. Goaltenders need the stick to absorb the shock of the puck impact when making a save.

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CCM Hockey is a Canadian brand of ice hockey equipment. CCM was held by two separate entities both maintaining the CCM trademark, one manufacturing hockey equipment and the other, CCM Bicycles manufacturing bicycles.

Goaltender Person who blocks the goal in ice hockey

In ice hockey, the goaltender is the player responsible for preventing the hockey puck from entering their team's net, thus preventing the opposing team from scoring. The goaltender usually plays in or near the area in front of the net called the goal crease. Goaltenders tend to stay at or beyond the top of the crease to cut down on the angle of shots. In today's age of goaltending there are two common styles, butterfly and hybrid. Because of the power of shots, the goaltender wears special equipment designed to protect the body from direct impact. The goalie is one of the most valuable players on the ice, as their performance can greatly change the outcome or score of the game. One-on-one situations, such as breakaways and shootouts, have the tendency to highlight a goaltender's pure skill, or lack thereof. No more than one goaltender is allowed to be on the ice for each team at any given time. Teams are not required to use a goaltender and may instead opt to play with an additional skater, but the defensive disadvantage this poses generally means that the strategy is only used as a desperation maneuver when trailing late in a game or can be used if the opposing team has a delayed penalty.

Goaltender mask

A goaltender mask, commonly referred to as a hockey mask or a goalie mask, is a mask worn by ice hockey, inline hockey, field hockey, bandy and floorball goaltenders to protect the head from injury. Jacques Plante was the first goaltender to create and use a practical mask in 1959. Plante's mask was a piece of fiberglass that was contoured to his face. This mask later evolved into a helmet-cage combination, and single piece full fiberglass mask. Today, the full fiberglass mask with the birdcage facial protector is the more popular option, because it is safer and offers better visibility.

Glove (ice hockey) Any of various sorts of gloves worn by ice hockey players

There are three styles of gloves worn by ice hockey players. Skaters wear similar gloves on each hand, while goaltenders wear gloves of different types on each hand.

Sledge hockey

Sledge hockey is an adaptation of ice hockey designed for players who have a physical disability. Invented in the early 1960s at a rehabilitation centre in Stockholm, Sweden, and played under similar rules to standard ice hockey, players are seated on sleds and use special hockey sticks with metal "teeth" on the tips of their handles to navigate the ice. Playing venues use an ice hockey rink.

Butterfly style

In ice hockey, butterfly style is a technique of goaltending distinguished by the goaltender guarding the lower part of the net by dropping to the knees to block attempts to score. The butterfly style derives its name from the resemblance of the spread goal pads and hands to a butterfly's wings. The butterfly style is contrasted with stand-up style, where most shots on a goal are stopped with the goaltender on his feet.


The "five-hole" is a nickname for the space between a goaltender's legs in ice hockey attributed to David Neal in 1980. If a player scores by shooting the puck into the goal between the goaltender's legs, he is said to have scored "through the five-hole," or to have "gone five-hole." The nickname can also be used in basketball, when a player throws a bounce pass that goes through a defender's legs. The term has been applied similarly in Association football referring to the "nutmeg."

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Ice hockey equipment

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Save (goaltender)

In ice hockey, a goaltender is credited with a save when they prevent a shot by the opponent from entering the net. A goaltender's efficiency in stopping shots, the save percentage, is calculated as a percentage of shots stopped divided by the total number of shots on goal. If a goaltender makes all the saves within a game it is called a shutout. In association football this is called a clean sheet.

Blocker (ice hockey)

The goalie blocker is a rectangular piece of equipment worn by ice and roller hockey goaltenders. It is generally worn on the dominant hand.

Protective equipment in gridiron football

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Trapper (ice hockey)

A trapper, also referred to as catch glove or simply glove, is a piece of equipment that an ice hockey goaltender wears on the non-dominant hand to assist in catching and stopping the puck.

Usage of personal protective equipment

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is inherent in the theory of universal precaution, which requires specialized clothing or equipment for the protection of individuals from hazard. The term is defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is responsible for PPE regulation, as the "equipment that protects employees from serious injury or illness resulting from contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other hazards." While there are common forms of PPEs such as gloves, eye shields, and respirators, the standard set in the OSHA definition indicates a wide coverage. This means that PPE involves a sizable range of equipment. There are several ways to classify them such as how gears could be physiological or environmental. The following list, however, sorts personal protective equipment according to function and body area.

Vaughn Hockey is a manufacturing company of ice hockey equipment founded in 1982 by company President Mike Vaughn.

Protective gear in sports

Personal protective equipment serves an integral role in maintaining the safety of an athlete participating in a sport. The usage and development of protective gear in sports has evolved through time, and continues to advance over time. Many sports league or professional sports mandate the provision and usage of protective gear for athletes in the sport. Usage of protective gear is also mandated in college athletics and occasionally in amateur sports.

Goaltender (box lacrosse) Person who blocks goal in box lacrosse

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  1. National Hockey League (2006). "Rule 21 - Goaltender's Equipment". Archived from the original on 2001-06-16. Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  2. International Ice Hockey Federation (2006). "IIHF Rule Book 2006-2010" . Retrieved 2008-09-22.
  3. "Goalkeeper's Equipment". USA Hockey Officiating Rulebook Mobile Site. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  4. "Graphic: NHL goalie equipment through the years". Retrieved 2019-08-22.
  5. "Islanders Dipietro Dons Osgood's Old Mask To Protect Shattered Face". Retrieved 14 July 2016.