One of the most crucial parts to protect from injuries during the game of hockey is the face and head, especially for a goalie. Sometimes the puck flies high and can reach eye-level. At that point, it becomes essential to have the best protective goalie mask to ensure the goaltender’s safety. A head injury can be deadly and should not be taken lightly.
Now that we have pointed out the seriousness of having a premium quality goalie mask, you also need to be aware of certain necessary factors involving the mask. In this buying guide, we tell you the tips for fitting into your mask. We also differentiate between a regular helmet and a goalie’s helmet to help you notice the distinct features.
We will also be talking about the different kinds of goalie masks available. It would be helpful if you understand the product before going for the buy. Our guide will ensure that you become aware of the various factors. Later, we reviewed the nine best hockey goalie masks in 2021 to help you make your purchasing decision.
How Should A Goalie Mask Fit?
The fit of the goalie mask should be very snug on your head. Ensure that there is no gap between the mask’s foam and your forehead. The front opening should rest anywhere between half to three-quarters of an inch above the eyebrows. The sweatband should position across the center of the forehead.
The back of the head should have total coverage. The ears need to sit comfortably between the helmet’s side and earhole vents. Lastly, the goaltender’s lips need to be visible from the chin cups.
Goalie Masks Vs. Regular Helmets
A goalie mask is designed specifically for a goal-keeper. A goalie has maximum exposure to all sorts of injuries on the rink. Their masks are very sturdy and do not deform even after the harshest impacts.
The foam lining provides a cushion-effect to absorb all the shock vibrations. The mask provides full coverage to the head as well as the face. The cage structure ensures that the puck and stick do not reach your sensitive areas.
A regular helmet, on the other hand, provides only protection. It is not built for very rough use. The durability is less compared to a goalie mask, and they might crack under changing temperature conditions.
Certified Vs. Non-Certified Goalie Masks
We see two major certifications on goalie masks – hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA). A certified mask has a sticker present on the back-side of the mask.
As the name suggests, the cage of the mask has a grid-like structure. It restricts the entry of a puck or stick through the steel barrier.
A certified cat eye mask focuses more on the overall safety provided by the helmet. They have additional protection incorporated on the steel cage. It might slightly compromise the goalie’s visibility.
The non-certified cat eye masks give you the best visibility through the cage. The bars appear closer to the face, which broadens the view horizon. Because of the cage’s design, the puck has a possibility of entering through the barrier.
Custom masks are tough to procure, but there are certain modifications that a goal-keeper prefers to include in his helmet to fit him with maximum comfort. One of the prominent customizations that a goalie does is paint the mask according to the team colors. Few goalies prefer open straps compared to the traditional harness present, so they have that customized.
Some goalies also experiment with the kind of foam padding. The liner is generally removable, hence letting the goaltenders insert the liner of their personal choice.
Hockey Goalie Mask Reviews
Based on the features, product quality, durability, and sturdiness, we review the nine best hockey goalie masks, you can look out for in 2021. Let us look into the details of each one of them.
#1. Bauer NME VTX Hockey Goalie Mask
The Bauer NME VTX mask is designed for players who take their protection very seriously. The comfort and durability are very prominent. The mask is light-weight despite its bulky look. The face and crown of the mask are wide to let you slip your head comfortably in it. There are three fits available. It goes well with all sorts of head shapes and sizes.
The Poron XRD foam, VTX technology, and advanced molded foams collectively make Bauer’s mask a very technologically innovative product. It provides excellent protection with elite-level comfort. The mask incorporates Textreme Composite technology, which is exclusive to Bauer. It makes the product very strong while keeping its weight in check.
The exterior of the mask can withstand the harshest of impacts and shots. The reinforced metal chin ensures that chipping does not occur easily because of the rough exposure. The liner comprises premium quality moisture-resistant molded foam for extra protection. It also keeps the insides dry and does not let the pungent sweaty smell to reside.
The NME VTX mask comes with a complimentary helmet bag and an additional wire cage. The overall mask does not feel bulky on your head.
#2. Bauer 950X Hockey Goalie Mask
The Bauer 950X Goalie Mask is CSA, HECC, and CE certified, which itself removes major inhibitions while purchasing this helmet. The light-weight mask consists of a fiberglass base along with Kevlar and reinforced carbon. These materials amplify the product strength, and the 12K carbon wrapping enhances its durability.
The XRD Foam present in the liner helps in the absorption of excessive intense hits. The VN Foam is layered throughout the helmet. It is soft yet enhances the external sturdiness of the goalie mask. It also helps in releasing pressure and increasing your convenience while wearing the mask.
The liner can be removed by unscrewing the screws and padding. The ventilation holes prevent moisture retention and keep the insides of your head and side-face dry and cool throughout the game. The cage’s construction is done with top-notch stainless steel. It does not rust over time and does not bend even after repeated impacts. It protects your face from pucks and impacts from any sort of falls during dives.
The nylon chin strap keeps your mask intact on your head, and the 5-point harness lets you adjust the helmet according to your fit and comfort. The helmet doesn’t feel heavy on your head, and you can wear it throughout your game without any discomfort.
#3. Sportmask Pro 3I Hockey Goalie Mask
The SportMask Pro 3I is one of the premium goalie masks that you will find out there. It is apt for players who demand perfection. The Inegra Fiber, a woven composite material, is bonded with the best quality fiberglass and carbon fiber in multiple layers to provide a sturdy external shell. The shell is abrasion-resistant and has amazing durability.
The non-certified flat-bar stainless steel cat eye cage ensures safety from all external impacts and injuries. It has a longer face opening for better and broader vision during the game. The material is not heavy and sits comfortably on your head. The cage is also close-fitting so that your eyes do not focus on the bars in front of them.
The four-point elastic harness helps in securing the helmet in place for a comfortable fit. The lining foam has moisture-wicking properties. It also avoids the assimilation of foul sweat odor, keeping your head and face dry. The padding ensures additional safety apart from the hard exterior. The sweatbands present on the forehead block the flow of sweat into your eyes. You will not have to remove the mask frequently. If you are a goaltender who has an eye for quality, you should definitely try the SportMask Pro 3I goalie mask.
#4. Sportmask T3 Hockey Goalie Mask
The SportMask T3 goalie mask is one of the high-end masks designed by the company. The quality matches the NHL standards. This protective mask has both HECC and CSA certifications to highlight the security and durability factors. The T3’s fit and quality standards are at par with the SportMask’s Pro Custom mask.
The shell’s construction consists of multiple layers of carbon fiber and fiberglass, fused by an exclusive kind of resin, making it the best woven composite material. The resin is evenly spread using a multi-component modular mold system. It provides sturdiness and prevents any abrasions and untimely chipping. The aggressive chin and forehead ridges add to the enormous strength of the shell. It also helps in deflecting the puck with ease.
The mask’s insides are layered with premium quality foam material to help shock absorption without adding bulkiness. The foam is sweat resistant, thus keeping your head dry throughout the game for a comfortable experience. The broad steel cage protects your face from surprising impacts from the puck. The structure is designed to keep the no-visibility hindrance as the priority.
The precise fit and incredible impact resistance make the T3 goalie mask by SportMask one of the favorable options among the pro-level goaltenders.
#5. Bauer NME IX Hockey Goalie Mask
The NME IX is one of the newer models of goalie mask presented by Bauer. It is also one of the lightest in the series. The amount of comfort and durability justifies the price that this mask provides. The durability also enhances due to VTX Technology.
The liner constitutes of Thermoformed IX, Poron, and XRD foams. They cover all the critical impact areas and absorb the vibrations of intense hits. The Powercore shell uses fiberglass to maximize the damage resistance. The mask does not experience any wear and tear for an extended period. The cage is made from reinforced stainless steel to attain the best protection without hindering visibility.
The Thermo-Core Technology sweatband ensures the safety of your eyes by preventing the sweat from escaping through them. An extra padded mask bag is also provided with the product as a complimentary item. The helmet is secured on the head with the help of Profile Pro Harness, which lets you adjust it as per your comfortability.
The Bauer NME IX is HECC, CSA, and CE certified and one of the best helmets you will find as a goal-keeper.
#6. CCM Axis A1.9 Hockey Goalie Mask
The CCM Axis A1.9 is a non-certified goalie mask which has an integration of D3O and IQ. SHION technologies for improved strength and durability. The fiberglass shell and carbon fiber reinforcements provide incredible impact protection, especially around the forehead and chin areas. The D3O smart technology helps in dissipating energy from major impact regions.
I.Q. SHION gel memory foam present in the liner provides a smooth contour edge. It gives excellent cushioning and also has moisture retaining properties. It helps in keeping the head and face dry throughout the game. The player does not feel the need to remove the mask every few minutes.
The stainless-steel cage present on the face region protects you from every injury and impact. It does not feel bulky on the head. The non-certified cat-eye provides excellent visibility without any hindrance to your focus. The sweatband prevents the sweat from escaping to your eyes. One great feature of the mask is the chin cup. It consists of triple-density premium foam to provide cushioning to your chin too.
The Axis A1.9 hockey goalie mask is available in multiple sizes, thus accommodating different head shapes and sizes. The product is very light-weight and extremely durable. The abrasions do not latch on to the mask very easily.
#7. Sportmask X8 Hockey Goalie Mask
The SportMask X8 hockey goalie mask boasts of sturdiness and product longevity. It is a level below T3 and serves the goalies who are not looking for all of the T3 features. It is also cheaper than T3, but the quality has not been compromised.
The shell is constructed using multiple layers of premium quality fiberglass. It ensures the mask’s rigidity and keeps it light-weight. The Kevlar inlays add to the rigidity of the mask. The shell is also scratch-resistant and does not deform even in temperature changes or high-intensity impacts.
The shock-absorbent foam padding ensures extra protection from high-intensity vibrations. The material is soft and gives a comfortable feel on the head. It does not restrict mobility and fits a wide range of head shapes and sizes. The sweat-resistant feature prevents the sweat from escaping to your eyes and keeps the mask odor-free.
The face cage is made from supreme quality stainless steel to provide the best protection. The cage does not restrict the range of your visibility. It also keeps the puck away from your eyes and nose. The SportMask X8 goalie masks are bound to meet your goaltending requirements.
#8. Bauer Profile 940X Hockey Goalie Mask
The Bauer Profile, 940X Goalie mask has a very unique and comfortable design. It is one of the top choices amongst pro-level goal-keepers. This mask is a proud owner of CSA, HECC, and CE certifications, respectively, making it a very trustworthy product in the market.
The protective shell of the mask comprises of LEXAN EXL Polycarbonate. It is one of the best quality plastics, making the mask very sturdy and protecting the goalie from facing harsh collisions and impacts. It does not allow untimely wear and tear. It also prevents deformation due to temperature changes.
The soft VN Foam liner gives excellent cushioning in the interiors of the helmet. It absorbs high intensity vibrations and keeps your head stable. It also prevents moisture and sweat retention, thus preventing the assemblage of foul odor.
The stainless-steel cage does not hamper your vision. It protects your face from injuries. The sweatband prevents the sweat from blocking your eyes. Overall, the mask is very light-weight and sits comfortably on the head.
The Profile 940X by Bauer boasts of a one-year manufacturer warranty. It also comes with a complimentary storage bag, thus saving additional expenditure on the mask’s repository.
#9. Bauer Profile 930 Hockey Goalie Mask
The certified Bauer Profile 930 goalie mask is perfect for beginner and pro-level players alike. The Lexan EXL shell gives strong protection against high-intensity impacts. The VN foam liner is soft and provides excellent cushioning to your head. It also eliminates excessive vibrations.
The cage is made from premium quality stainless steel with anti-rust properties. It does not restrict your vision and protects you from injuries—the cotton sweatbands around the forehead help absorb moisture to prevent any vision hampering. You do not need to remove the helmet every time to wipe the sweat.
The ventilation holes improve breathability, thus keeping you dry, and the adjustable nylon chin straps help achieve a comfortable fit. The five-point harness system present on the backplate ensures the mask’s security on your head with great comfort and protects from external impacts.
It is one of the lightest masks that you will find. It is extremely durable and does not incur damages and scratches very quickly. It is also available in different sizes, catering to a wide range of goaltenders.
We hope that as a goalie, you found our guide very useful. If you are a goaltender, your primary concern should be your safety. Do not compromise on the mask’s quality for a few dollars. It is best to make a one-time investment and protect yourself for a longer duration.
Our list of nine best hockey goalie masks will help you clear all your inhibitions regarding the perfect mask to purchase. We have spent quality time researching each of these masks to ensure you receive the best safety standards.