Throat Guards and Danglers
Hello InGoal readers!
It’s been a bit of a break since my last article on goalie masks, but I would like to move along with the “Gear Familiarization” series.
In case you forgot, here is the lineup I will be working through giving an in depth look at each piece and as much information as I can.
- Mask (See mask article here)
- Throat guard or dangler
- Chest and Arm protector
- Jock (a goalie specific jock)
- Knee pads
- Leg Pads
- Catching Glove
- Bag to keep it all in
There are 2 items I will be talking about today. The first is the throat guard, and second is going to be the dangler (or as some call it, “the Lexan”).
First up lets talk about;
Many Chest and Arm (C/A) Units have a throat guard attached to them already like the one pictured below.
This is a nice feature, but there is one issue that sometimes occurs when a C/A unit does not fit properly (see fitting guidelines later in the C/A Article – coming soon!) and that is a gap that will form between the goaltenders neck, and the throat guard, not a good thing obviously, but lucky for all of us goaltenders there are options!
There are several types of throat guards, what you chose is up to you, and what is most comfortable.
We will take a look at the most common throat guard first. They are made by almost all of the major (and a lot of smaller) gear manufacturers and are usually readily available at you’re local hockey store.
General construction is a nylon material, and then foam and plastics for the protective areas of the guard. Velcro strapping allows for a secure and adjustable fit. All around this style is a very protective and good option for throat protection. Again there are many models out there, and it comes down to what the goaltender prefers. Take a look at your options and chose what you like the best!
While you can settle for the guards that do the job, why not check out something that “kicks” it up a notch? Yes as always there is something more for the guardian of the nets, which leads me to the next styles of throat protection;
Gel Throat Guards
There are only a few companies that make this style of throat guard, and with the addition of medical grade gel it offers another level of protection from impact, abrasions, and cuts.
Maltese Gel throat and sternum Protectors. (www.maltesehockey.com)
Female goaltenders can benefit from the extra sternum protection of the Maltese combo, and men can benefit from the extra padding it offers under their C/A unit.
So what are the benefits of gel? Besides offering great impact and abrasion protection, here is an excerpt from the Maltese website on the benefits of their gel collar;
The gel affords unparalleled comfort and does not cause heat buildup as can happen with most collars. The hook & loop closure allows for easy on and off, plus a degree of adjust ability. The clavicle protection covers the area just below your Adam’s Apple and runs along the collarbone. In cases of extreme heat when playing inline, the collar can be cooled prior to the start of play.
Combo throat Guards
Finally I would like to show you a guard that takes the best of both worlds and combines them. It has the regular build of a foam throat guard, with the added benefit of gel. The gel is covered in neoprene for added comfort, and even more abrasion resistance.
Battram Goal Equipment has taken the standard throat guard, and combined it with medical grade gel. What does this offer? It lets you have the feel of a traditional throat guard, with the added benefit of gel protection. A lot of goalies don’t like to change things too often, this unit offers a medium ground for them.
If you are interested in this neck guard check it out at Battram’s website for more information. (www.battram.com)
Just a note on throat guards: Most youth hockey organizations require children to wear a throat guard, so be sure to check what is required. Some of the gel units are not yet certified for all levels of play.
Many goaltenders in all levels of play swear by wearing a dangler. It not only offers more protection to the throat/neck area, but it can be worn with a throat guard as well for even more protection. I have heard many goalies say they started out playing without one, and took one shot to the neck, and now wouldn’t be caught without it on. I personally don’t wear one (I must still be waiting for that fated neck shot to come along!) but with how many people swear by wearing one it is definately worth trying out! You can see by the picture below that it offers another player of protection in the area the mask doesn’t quite reach.
As with anything goaltending there are a few different styles, but for the most part they look exactly like the one pictured. It is fastened to the front of the mask and attached with nylon chord, or skate lace. The vent holes offer the most convenient place to attach it to the side of the mask, and the front is looped through the cage. These can usually be found at your local hockey shop, or if you are having trouble locally, check the internet, any decent store will have what you are looking for.
I have seen the dangler worn in two ways;
This method offers a little more mobility for the dangler allowing for ease of looking down at your feet if you need to, as well as letting it sit on your C/A without getting caught up. (see picture above) It kind of floats in place and allows more mobility. (See picture above) The cons of this method are that the dangler could block your vision when you are trying to get a good look at the puck. (Take a look at the article written on this by InGoalMag’s Paul Szabo. Click here for Paul’s dangler article.)
In this method the dangler is attached so that it almost becomes a single unit with the mask. There is no slack in the cord/lace that is used to attach it to the mask, and is fixed statically in place. (See picture above) The benefits with this type of attachments are that it makes sure that the dangler is not going to move out of the way of the area you are trying to protect. Cons of this method are that if you are trying to look down at your feet, it may hit your C/A and not allow you to look down as quickly as you would like. It also adds some weight to your mask which may take some time to get used to.
For more information on different methods of attaching a dangler click here Goalie Store Dangler Thread to see how people have attached their danglers.
There is no “right” or “wrong” way to wear a dangler, as with everything everyone has a personal preference. Just make sure that your preference offers the most protection you can get, because as we all know from experience those pucks tend to find the areas that aren’t protected and bite us when we least expect it!
Thanks again readers for stopping in and taking a look!
I will be back next time with a look into Chest and Arm protectors and some of the options out there to help pad us from those rubber missiles we stand in front of!
And as always if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to email me at [email protected] or comment below!