Follow these steps to achieve a safe, accurate fit in your goalie mask:
- Place the helmet on the head so the top edge of the face opening is approximately ½ inch above the eyebrows.
- Adjust the chin cup so the helmet doesn’t move on the head or allow the mask to be pushed toward the jaw.
- Adjust the rear skull plate and straps for a secure fit.
- Once you have a snug fit, make sure the mask fits close to the face in the forehead, cheeks, and chin. There should be no visible gaps between the mask padding and the face or forehead.
- To ensure a secure fit, nod your head up and down and turn it side to side—there should be no slippage with a proper fit.
- Make sure the skull plate at the back of the helmet has no large gaps (of ½” or more)—you should not be able to see the goalie’s head between the skull plate and the rest of the helmet.
- Finally, try on the goalie mask while wearing the chest protector and throat protector you plan to wear during play. The mask should not touch the protective equipment and should allow for complete, unobstructed head movement.
Goalie Mask Design
Cages come in two designs: standard and cat eye. Standard designs offer maximum protection with a full-wire cage—they’re the most common choice. Cat-eye designs have twin cutouts in the cage and provide a little less obstructed vision. Most youth leagues do not allow cat-eye goalie masks, whereas adult recreational, junior, and pro-level leagues do. The exception is the HECC-certified cat-eye mask, which includes bars in the cut-out areas, and is acceptable for use at all levels of play.
Goalie Helmet Sizing
Though goalie masks are designed differently from player helmets, they’re sized the same way. Goalie helmets come in three basic sizes for three different age groups:
- Youth (ages 5-7)
- Junior (ages 8-12)
- Senior (ages 13+)
Players and parents should be aware that these are general size categories—each manufacturer constructs their masks differently and thus they may not align precisely with these categories. Find a sizing guide for the manufacturer of your choice, if necessary.
As with any piece of protective gear, a perfect fit is essential to ensure the equipment performs as designed. Take the time necessary to find the helmet that provides you the cage style you prefer and that gives you completely unobstructed movement.
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