Sportmask Introduces New Professional Series
New line of masks for pros-only available to the public
Sportmask has made custom masks for pros like Tim Thomas, Jonathan Quick and Cam Ward for years alongside their line of certified masks for minor hockey and amateur goaltenders. For those of us who want to wear what the pros wear, Sportmask has introduced a new line of masks – The Professional Series.
Boston’s Tim Thomas swears by his Sportmask and the tweaks that he has made with owner Tony Priolo – like his innovative new cage – are part of the reason for the success he is having this season.
Priolo works closely with Pros like Thomas, often onsite at his shop in Oakville, Ontario (check out the tour InGoal had of the Sportmask shop last year). Tony makes a plaster mold of their face, just like in the days of other Boston greats like Gerry Cheevers or Eddie Johnston. He uses the mold to make a new vacuum mold that helps Tony create a fully custom mask fit to measure, with quality and durability unheard of when Cheesy was painting stitches on his famous mask. The involved, and expensive, process creates one of a kind helmets, fit only for Thomas. Or are they?
Over the years Priolo has discovered that the human head comes in a limited range of shapes and sizes. The Cheevers mask may conform to every fold and ridge in his face but with the addition of padding to the modern helmet, custom isn’t quite as exclusive as it used to be. Priolo notes that,
After 13 years of doing this I can honestly say that head shapes and sizes do repeat. Meaning, if you took all my “smaller” head casts and grouped them all together you will clearly see similarities in size and overall shape.
The mask Thomas wears in fact will fit lots of other goaltenders – and if the league’s leading puck stopper has a shape not quite fit for your head, chances are Jonathan Quick, or Cam Ward or some other pro is wearing a helmet that fits the look and style you want and the size that your head demands.
It’s something Priolo learned some time ago and is just now able to make available for the general public,
I discovered this while fitting Michael Ouzas who was drafted by Toronto and skated with them one summer a few years back. When meeting with him I brought a few procustom masks to show him, he tried one on and said “this fits perfectly,” so perfect he said he could wear it right away, and that he did. He still wears a premade procustom mask – the one I showed him back then…..mine!!
Enter the Sportmask Professional Series.
You can get the exact setup in the Mage RS worn by Tim Thomas today. It will be made from the same woven composite material and multiple layers of high quality fibreglass and carbon fibre that are in TTs helmet, bonded by the same specially formulated resin, and it will come with the same innovative cage that provides more protection and improved sightlines as Thomas.
If you have a medium size head, based on Sportmask’s specifications, the Thomas model will work for you. If you’re medium to small and want a closer fitting cage, perhaps the Jonathan Quick model works better for you. Or maybe you like the idea of a smaller cage that fits a little further from the face – try the Cam Ward model. There are six models to choose from.
There’s one caveat – the masks are designed for professional use only. They aren’t certified and you can’t use them if you’re a minor hockey goalie, or in many adult recreational leagues. Sportmask notes on their site that the masks – or more correctly the shells – “exceed CSA standards” and that’s no surprise. Can you imagine Thomas facing down a Zdeno Chara slapper in practice with anything but the best?
Certification is a lengthy and expensive process and every separate model has to go through the evaluation and testing so it’s more than Sportmask is able to do on these professional models. Besides, if you are looking to have an exact replica of a pro mask you’ll want the uncertified cage they come with – so there’s no chance these masks will pass certification even if the shell is better than anything the CSA approves of. If you need a certified helmet, Sportmask has those too of course.
The new Pro Series masks fit a few important segments of the goalie helmet market. If you’re a collector you can have the same mask your favourite pro wears sitting on your bookshelf in the office. If you’re an adult goalie in a league that doesn’t demand certification – you can still buy the uncertified cateye cage that Health Canada has banned under the hazardous products act. Why? Because these aren’t for the general public. They are for professional use only.
The new Professional Series helmets, like the procustom masks worn by the pros are available directly from Sportmask. You’ll get the same great pro quality but at a much better price point – somewhere between the lower cost certified models and the $1500 procustom versions.