One of the most important pieces of hockey equipment is the mask. It's obviously crucial for goalies, but the mask is vital to ensure any hockey player's personal safety. No goalie alive today would take to the ice without his mask.
This week, I witnessed two routine "face saves," each of which would have had serious medical consequences without a mask attached to the goalie's well-fitted helmet. So how do you make sure that your goalie helmet and mask fit properly? Read on to find out.
Adjust the Padding
Removing some or all of the small cubes of internal padding on the sides and on the inside top of the helmet will not compromise the safety of the athlete wearing the helmet, and doing so can provide more air space for sweat. Don't hesitate to shave down any padding points or add small spots of padding to create a better fit. If your helmet is uncomfortable under non-playing conditions, it will only get worse during play. This fitting adjustment has more to do with safety than vanity.
Keep It Updated
Adjust your modifications to the helmet over time. You can keep wearing the same helmet like an old pair of jean, but replace and refasten the padding inside if it becomes worn down. Wash the inside of your helmet after each game to help prevent infection.
Try It on First
Make sure to try on your new helmet and mask before buying. The wire cage in front comes in various shapes, and this is a matter of personal preference. But the cage cannot be modified without potentially making it dangerous. Do not attempt such a modification, even if your line of sight is less than ideal. The cage is a trade-off for being safe when hit by a direct or deflected shot.
Take good care of your hockey goalie equipment, and it will take good care of you.
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