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Mike Vaughn Gear Tip: CA break-in and adjustment

Mike Vaughn Gear Tip: CA break-in and adjustment

Mike Vaughn, President of Vaughn Hockey writes a monthly gear tip for InGoal readers. This month he addresses an important area that is often poorly understood in the goaltending community – proper sizing, fit and break-in of a chest and arm unit.

Many goaltenders dread the thought of getting a new arm-and-chest protector.

They simply do not want to go through the break-in process, but it does not have to be so bad. Most of the problems associated with breaking-in a new unit can be avoided.

Typically I see issues like the unit being too large and not properly fit. Or the available adjustments were never used. Or the unit was just too much for the goaltender’s level of play. Or they didn’t get any good advice on how to break the unit in to be more comfortable right away.

Vaughn Ventus LT 90 C-A Unit

InGoal is currently putting the new Vaughn LT90 Chest/Arm unit through its paces. Look for a full review in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Fitting Tips

  • The arms should be within one inch of the wrist.

If they are shorter, the bending points in the arm will not be lined up correctly and flexibility will be compromised.

If they are too long then they have to be bunched up, which again mis-aligns all the padding and flex points and compromises the performance of the unit.

  • The chest pad should come down to the general area of the waist. If it is too long, when you bend it will bunch up and push out from the body. If it is too short, you will be overly exposed.

Adjusting Fit

  • Once you have the correct size, proper adjustment will cut the break-in time in half or more!
  • On most units the elbows have four laces for adjustment, bend your arm 2/3 of the way, then loosen the laces and just pull snug to this position.
  • Loosen the elastic straps on the back of the arm so they have just slight tension at this bent position.
  • The molded component in the forearm has two bend spots molded into the part that tapers the part narrow at the wrist. You can take the forearm piece and squeeze the part to flex along these mold lines making the part fit your arm precisely.
  • With the unit on, adjust the back harness so that it supports the chest pad and neck guard area to a comfortable position. If it is too low you will expose your clavicle and neck area; too high and you will have the throat guard area rubbing your neck and it will interfere with your mask and ability to move your head and track pucks.

Break-In Tip

Now that the unit is adjusted and fitted properly, you will see a big difference in flexibility and comfort. But if you want to get even more, put the unit in a loose cloth bag like a pillow case, tie it closed and put the unit into a dryer with no heat and tumble it around for 10 to 15 minutes. You will be able to feel even more break-in at this point.


Previous Mike Vaughn Gear Tips at InGoal

Mike Vaughn President of Vaughn Hockey - Custom Goaltending Equipment Makers

Mike Vaughn President of Vaughn Hockey - Custom Goaltending Equipment Makers

Choosing Correct Catch Glove For Your Game
Choosing a Mask for Better Fit and Visibility
Taking Care of Your Mask

About The Author


  1. Graham

    Dear Mike,

    I was curious about what type of customizations are available? Is the Imagination the limit? OR the level of hockey league limit customs.

    I’ve witnessed the Cam Ward Glove and have tried it on. I thought it was the most amazing feeling ever! Was curious if you could go into detail about that glove. Process, alterations? Is that glove even available to purchase??

    Also I’ve heard that certain goalies where old equipment but with new/updated facials, ex Backstrom wearing V2’s pads more or less.

    Anything would be helpful, thanks.

  2. Daniela

    Thanks for the tip! My new chestprotector is in the dryer right now!