Mike Vaughn Gear Tip: Taking Care of Your Mask
A goal mask can not only help make up the identity of a goaltender and provide an expression of each goalie’s personality, it can be argued it is also the single most important piece of equipment we have.
So why are they so often neglected?
It’s hard to say, but finding a mask with broken screws, bent cages, missing chin cups or straps or missing certification stickers is not at all unusual. I always tell my fellow goaltenders: Take care of your mask and it will take care of you.
It doesn’t take much effort, and when you consider this is the only piece of equipment separating your brain from fast-moving pucks, why wouldn’t you take a little extra time to make sure your mask stays in good shape – and safe – longer?
For starters, simply wipe the foam inside of your mask with a bit of soap and water after you play. Using something mild like dish soap is the best, and rinse it off well. This kills bacteria and helps preserve the integrity of the foam over time.
Dry your mask well and let it air dry between uses.
It is also a good idea to take all the screws out and take the cage off regularly.
I like to take the cage off the shell and spray it with WD 40. Saturate it and let it set for 10 minutes, then wipe it off. Do the same for all the screws and metal hardware. I’d recommend doing this about four or five times a season.
You won’t have issues with removing any hardware when needed and this will prevent corrosion.
If there are bars on the cage that have been bent, you may be able to straighten them, but you are so much better off to replace the cage if the bars are bent badly or any welds are broken. It is hard to imagine and explain the severity of puck impacts at high speed, but it is severe and a cage that has been damaged by these impacts already can eventually fail.
The exterior on most goal masks can be polished with any auto wax quick detailer to restore the shine and remove puck marks. Never use any harsh chemicals on a mask, as it can destroy the finish or even penetrate into the shell and damage the structure.
Check the snaps and buckles to make sure they still hold securely, and look at replacing the two lower plastic buckles on the harness if they pop off too easily.
If you have your mask painted, make sure the painter has experience with goalie masks.
I have seen mask safety compromised and some masks even ruined by painters that didn’t know what they are doing. It can be as simple as cleaning it off with paint thinner or solvent, which can destroy the foam padding.
Make sure your painter does not remove the certification stickers, as they cannot be replaced.
Neither can your brain – so make sure you take good care of your mask once you get it back.
~ Be sure to also read Mike Vaughn’s previous tips on InGoal:
For more on the Vaughn line of goalie masks, be sure to read the full review in the October edition of InGoal Magazine. And to learn all about the new Vaughn Ventus line, with a company first (and incredibly light) solid-core butterfly pad, read the review in the January edition.