Welcome back readers!!
Moving along with the “GF Series” (Gear Familiarization) brings us to the next piece of gear.
In case you forgot, here is the lineup I will be working through;
- Mask (Click for article)
- Throat guard or dangler(Click for article)
- Chest and Arm protector
- Jock (a goalie specific jock)
- Knee pads
- Leg Pads
- Catching Glove
- Bag to keep it all in
Chest and Arm Protectors
Some of you may remember the days of black and blue chest, arms, elbows, necks etc. It wasn’t always so much fun suiting up and standing in front of pucks. These were the days when chest protectors were actually 2 piece units! Fortunately for us tenders of the twine technology has advanced and we now have the super protective one piece chest and arm units that we see today!
Can you imagine putting this on and heading out on the ice to take hundreds of shots in practice, and thousands of shots throughout a season? Well thankfully we don’t have to anymore!
Just like with any type of equipment there are all sorts of different companies that make Chest and Arm protectors out there. Generally they are all built using the same materials (HD Foam, nylon, plastics, assorted soft foams and assorted fasteners). Good news is that they are all very protective. Bad news is, that besides your pads and mask, a Chest and Arm unit is going to cost you a good chunk of your (or your parents) hard earned money. It is rightfully so, as there are a lot of important body parts that this unit is going to protect! Be prepared to spend anywhere from $200 – $500 depending on the brand and protection level of the C/A unit.
Lets start with some of the more popular Chest and Arm units out there.
These Vaughn units you can see are similar, but there are a few subtle differences, which allows for a greater product range. In this case it is the Velocity, and the Epic Series. Both are very popular units in the pro ranks as well as any level of hockey. The nice thing about Vaughn is that they offer these C/A units in a variety of protection levels, from PRO all the way down to youth. Determining your highest level of play and then purchasing the unit that corresponds with that level is a simple way to save yourself some money when looking at C/A units. (www.vaughnhockey.com)
Reebok has burst on to the hockey scene over the last few years, and while a lot of people don’t know it, a lot of their product is still designed by Michel Lefevre (the same guy who designed for KOHO) and is a good quality product. They, like Vaughn, offer different level C/A units for you to chose from. (www.reebokhockey.com)
While the Brown name isn’t probably a name that is seen as much as Vaughn, Reebok, TPS etc, there is one thing that the Brown name is famous for and that is Chest and Arm units. A lot of professional goaltenders swear by the Brown C/A units. Why? They are tanks! If you want some serious protection a Brown C/A is something that you definitely want to take a look at. (www.brownhockey.com)
Like in my previous articles I will say this again, I am barely scratching the surface on the companies that make a quality C/A unit. These examples are just a few of the more popular units that are used. I would encourage you to take a look on the internet, or if you are fortunate enough to have a hockey store with a good selection near you, take a drive and try on all the different models and see what suits your needs best.
As in the past few articles there are also companies that build a product that is on par with all of the big name manufacturers that you sometimes don’t hear too much about. I would like to show you a few examples of those, and give you a few reference pictures so that you can compare them to the C/A units above, and see that even though there isn’t a big name associated with them they still are very good products and very protective as well.
Battram makes a great C/A unit that will run a little bit less than the big name manufacturers, but you also get the custom look that you want and that Battram has become known for. You can pick and choose your colors, or even have a custom logo stitched to the chest! Whatever you can think of, Battram can put together for you. It all comes at a good price in a protective professional level package. (
Simmons is a company that makes product lines that are similar to the Big name manufacturers signature lines. What is good about this? You get the same level of protection, the same design, and the same fit and feel of the big name products at a significant savings! Its the best of both worlds! Now some people have to have that “brand name” gear and that’s fine, in this case Simmons is not for you. But for the rest of you out there, take a look at the Simmons products, they are exceptional quality at an exceptional price. (www.donsimmons.com)
Take a look at the C/A units shown and you can even branch out from there in your search to find that perfect C/A . The internet is a great source to become an informed and educated consumer. Remember to check out several different styles and companies to find what works best for you. If you stop at one or two, you may never know what you are missing!
Now lets move on and give you a little info on making sure that the C/A unit fits properly. As with any type of gear if the fit is not proper, the level of protection the C/A unit offers is compromised.
Fitting a C/A Unit
When you are searching online for a unit, keep in mind that various manufacturer’s C/A units will all fit a little differently. If you search the site there should be a chart that will help you determine the sizing so you can be sure you are looking at the right size. (see image below for proper chest measurement)
Retail Store Shopping
If you are in a hockey store you can use the following to help properly fit a C/A unit;
A proper fitting chest and arm pad should come down the arm to the wrist with the elbow centered into the elbow protector/cap. Too long in the arms and the catcher & blocker won’t fit securely. Too short and the potential for injury is increased by gaps in coverage. The chest/belly pad should provide full protection standing upright but not be so long that in a crouch the pad shifts out of position. The Goalie should have a good range of motion. To test, lift arms above shoulder height – ensure the pads do not dig into the neck. You can also take the goalies chest measurement from just below the arm pits and refer to an in store sizing chart so that you may find a general sizing starting point. Also keep in mind that there are usually several adjustment areas (shoulders, elbow caps, wrists, belly etc) to help customize the fit of the C/A.
Until next time, happy gear hunting! I hope I have helped you on the road to finding a C/A unit! And as always if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!
See you all next time when I dig a little deeper in to goalie specific jocks and jills!