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Tech Tips: That danged dangler is hurting your game

Ever notice that a lot of goalies who wear a lexan throat protector, NHL’ers included, tend to tie the side strings through the cage itself rather than through the ear holes? The throat protector was made to pivot up and down, but attaching it this way causes it to balloon out in front of the goalie’s face during play action, effectively blocking one’s view (especially the newer coloured or opaque ones).   By the way, ever notice that when you buy one of these things, there are no instructions given as to how to attach it?  I coach some kids whose dads have it tied on in so loosely that it is more of a sternum protector than anything else.  Really lives up to its French language namesake: “bavette” or bib (i.e. like the Fisher Price plastic bib I used to put on my kids when they were babies, with the big scoop at the bottom for all the guck that missed their mouths or got spit up…)

Tying the side strings through the ear holes draws the protector closer to the chin so that it stays out of the way. Moreover, drilling a hole in the BOTTOM of the protector and passing the middle string INSIDE the mask, between the mask and the chin cup, ensures that the throat protector cannot ever come up in front of one’s field of vision, even when the goalie’s head is facing down (as is the case whenever the puck is close to the goal). Compare photo 1 to photo 2 and decide for yourself.

here's the dangler tied on through the ear holes and with the string in the bottom of the chin

here's the dangler tied on through the ear holes and with the string in the bottom of the chin

here's what happens when it is tied on through the ear holes and through the hole in the top of the chin (at your nose)

here's what happens when it is tied on through the ear holes and through the hole in the top of the chin (at your nose)

simply drilling a hole and passing the string inside the mask keeps the dangler from coming up too far

simply drilling a hole and passing the string inside the mask keeps the dangler from coming up too far

Personally, it drives me nuts to see so many young goalies (and old ones too) whose vision must be blocked about 50% of the time. When the puck is close to your body, down on the ice it is often impossible to see because of the way the dangler is attached!
Look at the accompanying picture of Marc Andre Fleury (photo by Jonathan Newton, Washington Post).  While the red shading is by no means exact science, it is pretty easy to imagine how the area close to his body (where the puck happens to be) is obstructed by the throat protector swinging out.

don't get me wrong; Fleury is still my son's hero- and one of mine too...

don't get me wrong; Fleury is still my son's hero- and one of mine too...

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  1. Jason

    That is an excellent point. So many of my goalies complain about wearing them because of the “noise” factor of the lexan clapping against their mask. Simple solution, tie it closer to the mask.

    Another great point about having the dangler closer to your mask, is the fact it is less likely to take a shot and lift up allowing the puck to deflect and hit your clavical. SOOOO many kids wear incorrect chest protectors too low and completely open up their sternum and collar bones to injury (also, everyone should invest in one of those Farrel goalie shirts…incredible protection).

  2. Daniel

    If I could post pictures I could show you a better way, which requires no drilling, and does involve tying the dangler to the cage.

    I will try to explain without pics.

    1. First to help reduce noise, use wide unwaxed skate lace.
    2. tie the sides to the cage, but not with too much lace length.
    3. in tying the front, run the lace through the front of the dangler, tie it on a lower bar on the centre of the cage (I use a clove hitch knot) then run the lace down the inside of the chin drop between the chin cup and the mask, out the bottom and back up through the dangler.

    This achieves keeping the dangler out of sight lines, keeps it from lifting so high it cannot do its job, greatly reduces noise, and allows you to wear the dangler at an angle so it is actually protecting your throat from a pucks point of view.

    Not sure if I’m allowed to post a link to a goalie message board where this method is explained with pictures, or I would.

  3. Kris

    I just don’t use one. I have heard of people getting hit in the throat, but I have a throat protector attached to my C/A unit, and when I am going down, I am usually shrugging my shoulders upwards to get as big as possible, and my mask meets my C/A. No issues for me so far. Although with all of the skate cut issues we have been seeing lately, more protection is never a bad idea!

  4. Kris

    and to Daniel, I think as long as you credit your source you are allowed to post links, unless the bulletin board has an issue with you linking to their site

  5. Heather Galindo

    Very timely, as I recently switched to a Maltese combo neck/clav guard (which I Loooooooove) and dumped my dangler. Hated the jangling and it kept coming untied during games. Probably because I have no knot tying skillz.

    BUT, I gave my dangler to the other goalie in my novice league (she’s still in all borrowed gear and the mask didn’t have a dangler and she’s got a long neck). She was attaching it on Sunday and I was like, “I really don’t know how it’s supposed to attach. No instructions so I just took a stab.” So this is helpful. I’d love to see pics of the no-drill suggestion, too, Daniel if you could post a link. I’m not the boss here but sharing information is all for the better, I would think.

  6. paul szabo

    Thanks for the replies guys (and girls!). Just as a side note, you have probably noticed that in addition to providing no instructions with the dangler, there isn’t any sort of approval sticker (CSA, HECC) or warranty in the package either. My understanding is that there aren’t any rules whatsoever about them being mandatory, including for minor hockey (which is in contrast to the neck protector that you wear to prevent skate cuts).
    To Kris: I think the dangler is a nuisance too, but for the times that we get hit before we can take an optimal blocking position (i.e. screen shots, deflections etc.), I think it is a wise decision. A guy in my garage league managed to break the friggin’ glass with his shot recently. Imagine that puck hitting the 1″ closed cell foam collar on the top of your CA…
    Carey Price doens’t wear one, but I read that last year Rollie Melanson made him use it for practices…

    • Jay

      I believe they are mandatory in the majority of minor hockey associations in Canada now. I know New Brunswick does require them but Prince Edward Island does not. I’d like to know the full list of NHL goalies that use them today and if there is any correlation between using a dangler and increased reliability or reduced injury days in the NHL.

  7. Nick Hein (previously 'Nick', but I think there's another Nick now?)

    I tried the dangler for a while just because it was on the mask I was borrowing while mine was getting painted. I was lucky it was tied decently close, but I wasn’t a big enough fan to switch to one. I’m sticking with my RBK bib. Together with my chest protector it does a great job and I don’t have to worry where my dangler will end up in the middle of scramble—my bib stays in the same place on my neck no matter what!

  8. David Arrigo

    I agree with them 100%, but not always, the banging of them when I looked side to side drove me nuts, so I engineered my own little fixer; I took the felt pads that you would put under chair legs to avoid scratching the floor on either side jsut below where the string attached and no more noise. The cold at first would separate the glue, and they would fall off so I found that just belore I applied them, I heated them up with a lighter and they’ve been there since.

  9. paul szabo

    Hey Dave!
    Neat idea- I did the same but with foam strips that are used to insulate around doors and windows (self adhesive). They eventually wear out but the idea is the same. Isn’t it cool that all these crazy household items can be of use to the goalie nation…

  10. Doug Ross

    I have had a dangler split into several pieces by one by a guy in our beer league. Yeah he had a reputation for sending bullets into the nets, so I was glad to have that dangler, and purchased a replacement the next day. If you get a puck to the head you get a real buzz right, imagine that slap shot hitting your bib. You won’t sing in the chior again.

    Thanks for the tips folks, I will be making adjustments tonight.

  11. Raymond

    This was a great find….I changed mine using this new technique and it actual has been an amazing improvement. The Itech Envy mask I use already had two port holes on the chin to use to secure the dangler. A great improvement, thanks for the tip!

  12. Leeum Raws

    What do NHLers use for neck protectors(not danglers)?

  13. Cathal

    I haven’t really had this problem because I tend to tie the center string pretty short. It still makes a lot of noise but I can see underneath me

  14. Anthony

    I have used one all my life and I don’t even notice it anymore. I read this article and thought to myself do I have one? I do and I never notice it. Great invention.


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