How to Buy a Hockey Mask

Hockey can be a dangerous sport. You should take proper precautions if you play the game. Wearing protective gear is important no matter where you are on the ice, but it is especially important if you are a goalie. All hockey players from those enrolled in mite classes all the way through college must wear a face mask on their helmets. These masks are built for specific ages and skill levels and can encompass a wide price range. Learn how to buy a hockey mask that fits, allows you to see the players and puck, and protects your head from the fast-moving pucks and battles anywhere on the ice.


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    Educate yourself on the basics of a hockey mask. The goalie mask has a cage, shell, and specific padding, while a player's mask generally consists of a cage or face mask.
    • The cage or face mask is the most basic type of mask for a hockey player who is not a goalie. Usually a wire grid or clear polycarbonate shield covers the player's face, protecting him or her from flying pucks or errant sticks. The wire cage tends to impair the player's vision. For those professional hockey players who want a mask, they most often opt for a half shield, which only protects their eyes. Goalies also have wire cages, which cover their entire face.
    • The shell pertains to the construction of the helmet. Most professional hockey players have a plaster cast made of their face so a hockey mask can be made specifically for their facial configuration. However, this can be a very costly endeavor.
    • The helmet's padding protects your head from impact. The more expensive helmets utilize lightweight material to minimize the overall weight of the mask. It is recommended that the padding is 5/8 inches (1.6 cm) thick.
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    Determine your hockey mask needs. Skaters should choose a mask that best fits their head, but goalies need a mask based on their skill level. There are several types of masks that goalies can choose from. If you play in the net, you need to be aware of the different types that are available.
    • If you're a novice goalie, opt for a mask constructed of a fiberglass shell with single foam padding. Beginner hockey players tend to not have a hard shot, so you don't need a mask that can withstand high-powered shots.
    • Mid-level hockey masks are the most common option and can be used by high school goalies and adults who play pick-up hockey games in net. These masks are similar to elite masks since they're both made of fiberglass, but the mid-level masks tend to have more padding.
    • Elite goaltender masks tend to be handcrafted and the most expensive option. The mask's shell is oftentimes made of carbon composite material and the padding tends to conform to the goalie's head.
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    Use a measuring tape to measure your head's circumference at your forehead. Sizing can vary by manufacturer, but you must have your head size before buying a hockey mask. Manufacturers may provide a sizing chart for each mask model, which can help you narrow down your choices.
    • If you know your fitted hat size, you may be able to use this number instead of measuring your head.
    • Keep in mind that this is just a general guide and that it doesn't take into consideration if you have a narrow or wider face. This measurement may not work well if you are considering an elite hockey mask.
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    Search for a hockey mask. Although there are options online, if you are looking to buy a mid-level or elite mask, you may want to visit a brick-and-mortar store and try on a mask. This way you can ensure that the mask fits your head properly.
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    Ensure that the mask is certified. Many hockey leagues recommend that the masks be certified by The Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC) or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) if you play in Canada.
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    Place the hockey mask on your head. Push the mask against your forehead, and strap it into place. You can adjust the straps to make the helmet tighter or looser. Your chin should fit snugly in the chin cup. Make sure there are no gaps between your head and the foam inside the mask. If there is, your mask may move around while you are playing hockey and prohibit you from seeing the puck clearly.


  • These tips apply for both men and women who wish to purchase a hockey mask.


  • Although you can purchase used hockey masks, you must ensure that the mask is still certified. Also check to make sure the manufacturer has not issued a recall on the mask. It is generally better to purchase a new helmet since you can contour it to your head on your own. A used helmet might not have any more "give" in the padding.

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Categories: Field Hockey and Lacrosse | Ice Hockey