Mike Vaughn Gear Tip: Choosing a Mask for Better Fit and Visibility
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.