Far too often I see goaltenders today wearing a mask that simply does not fit them well.

The skull plate will be sticking out way past the side edges, leaving the skull exposed. Or the mask will be sitting too far away from the chin, or up too high on the head. Or they will have  cage that don’t line up with their field of vision. All of these problems come down to not having a proper fit.

So with that in mind, here are a few things to look for while trying to fit your next mask:

The best way to fit a mask is to take the models you are interested in and loosen – or better yet, remove – the skull plate from the back of the mask.

Then stand in front of a mirror, take each mask and, with your eyes closed, move the mask onto on your head until it completely fits around your skull. Now open your eyes.

The way the mask is positioned on your head now will be how the it ends up when you use it.

Take note of the cage position and how your eyes are positioned in the cage openings. Have someone hold the skull plate in position and see if any areas of your skull are exposed at the back, behind the side edges of the mask itself.

Don’t push the jaw or chin area in to make it fit better. Where the mask sits on the skull after fitting it this way is where the mask will move to when you are playing.

If a mask is too large, it will be loose. And since the mask is not touching all areas of the head, impacts will not be distributed evenly and will tend to focus on the areas where the mask does touch the head.

Masks that are too small lack coverage and do not cover enough area, increasing the risk of injury. But they also tend to sit further away from the face, providing poor visibility.

Don’t let yourself get talked into a mask because of a nice paint job or flashy cage.

Performance and protection are more important – and both are all about the fit.

For more information on the new Vaughn line of masks, be sure to read the full review in the October edition of InGoal Magazine.

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8 Responses to Mike Vaughn Gear Tip: Choosing a Mask for Better Fit and Visibility

  1. daniel says:

    Next, you guys should do a segment on cage combos because i know some goalies out there still rock them. Im one of them. :P i know you have some articles on them but they’re not in depth.

    • John says:

      I’ve got a black Armadilla I love but I also like wearing a helmet/cage-combo, especially in summer (it gets warm even in the ice-rink)…I can breathe so much easier wearing it. Just wish I could get a regular helmet made of carbon-fiber like the Armadilla – that’s the only down-side to the cagey. Took a hard shot off the ear-guard and added a lotta x-tra *red* to my Winnipeg Jets jersey, ha. Ok so it did look cool but, yo, that hurtz too hahaha.

  2. Alex says:

    Very true. My cage would allow my to fully look down when playing infill I had to reconfigure to chin and skull straps.

  3. Paul Ipolito says:

    Perfect timing! My son needs a new mask.Thanks. Can you talk about the pros and cons of the “cat’s eye” cage. Are they OK for younger (Bantam) goalies?

    • The certified cat’s eye are OK, but obviously the non-certified are not.

      I’d simply suggest try them on and see what he is most comfortable with. Personally, I don’t think the sight lines are as good with the certified cats eye as the other options available but it is a matter or personal preference.

      • John says:

        I’ve got a cat-eye cage but have never used it…to me it looks like a stick could breach the eye-openings. I won’t risk my eyes. I can see out of a regular cage just fine.

  4. Doug Lantry says:

    I agree with Daniel. I wore my beloved Cooper SK2000 helmet from the 1980s (with an HM30 cage) until it literally exploded. A hard shot shattered the old brittle plastic. I love the ability to look straight down, and the great venting and neck freedom a combo offers. But who makes a helmet these days that is suitable for goalie combos now, and is non-custom, and doesn’t cost several hundred dollars? I’d like to see your reviewers search out a few combinations and comment on cage-helmet mating, safety, brow-sweat management (I like a velcro sweatband), fit/stability, dangler suitability, etc. Thanks for your good work!

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