In the next installment in showing you how to become a goaltender, guest writer Joshua Frizzell goes in-depth on the equipment you’ll need. Below, he describes, in detail, the equipment and expected costs of each piece. Don’t let this deter you though. When there’s a will, there’s a way. If you have any questions about the information below, just tweet him @Freeze33.

Keeping You Protected

In the last week, I introduced you to the first steps in becoming a goalie.  Well if you are reading this, then you are crazy enough to actually let someone shoot vulcanized rubber at your face.  Let that sink in for a minute.  You want to prevent someone from scoring a goal by using your body to deflect shots.  Ok…still here…great.

Part One talked about the very basic stuff, such as what to focus on when you are just starting out.  This week, I will discuss the finer points of getting equipment to fit properly and the different options you can get with the equipment that you are purchasing.  I give this information using the assumption of you being filthy rich and money is no option.  So I will be giving rough prices on new equipment and using adult sizes.  Junior and Intermediate gear is “cheaper,” cheaper being a relative term in the goalie world.  Keep that in mind when you wake up from passing out at the cash total I give at the end.  I know being rich doesn’t apply to most people, but you can still take this knowledge and apply it to used equipment.  I think it is best to start at the top with the helmet and work my way down to the skates.  This information should be taken as a rough estimate and it is always best to try things on before buying, even though a lot of times that can be difficult.

Goalie Mask Designed By Frank Panico

Goalie Mask Designed By Frank Panico

The Equipment

Helmet: $350 – $1000:  As I said last week, this is where you want to spend the bulk of your money.  This is the most important piece of equipment, because it keeps your noggin safe.  The mask needs to at least be made out of fiberglass, and it should be a combination of fiberglass and carbon fiber.  Avoid polycarbonate, Lexan, or any other work used for plastic like the plague.  These masks are referred to as widow makers by most goalies.  Remember most of you aren’t getting paid for this so make sure you protect your head.

Throat guard: $30 – $100:  I didn’t mention this one last week because it’s optional to a lot of people, but I won’t go without one now.  If you choose to go with one you have 2 choices.  A “dangler,” which is a high impact plastic piece that hangs from your mask.  Or you can go with a throat guard that has high density foam or gel that attaches around your neck and protects your collar bone.

Chest and Arm protector: $300 – $600: This protects your arms/gut/chest.  This should go to the bottom of your stomach and the arms should end about an inch or so above your wrist bone.  This is a tough one to give information on, because people have different measurements.  I typically order my shirt size, but you may have to go custom if you have long arms because of the fit.

Catch Glove:  $450 – $550:  This is a pretty important piece and has a lot of different options.  There are many different types of breaks in the glove that depend on how you like to catch.  There are some that use the whole hand to close (bringing all four fingers to the bottom of your hand), some that close using by closing your hand to where your middle finger touches your thumb.  There is a single piece vs two piece, which can affect what the puck does when it hits the blocking area of the glove.  There is single T pocket, double T pocket, the list goes on and on.  Best advice I can give here is to try on a lot of different gloves.  Go to a store and try on gloves, open and close them A LOT.  Get a good feel for them.  Goalies typically wear the catch glove on the same hand they would wear a baseball glove, but some actually choose to wear it on the other hand so they can play the puck better.

Blocker: $250 – $400:  Pretty basic, a lot of goalies say “a blocker is just a blocker”.  That is pretty much true, though you companies can put the palm in different places.  That really only comes into play if you have gotten used to a certain type and then switch.

Jock/Jill: $40 – $100:  Pretty self-explanatory as it protects your private parts.  I will say that you need to make sure you get a goalie jock/jill.  They are offer a lot more protection than normal jocks/jills.

Pants: $200 – $400:  Another pretty basic piece with not a lot of options.  Again you need to make sure you are getting goalie pants vs. player pants.  They offer a lot more protection in different places than a player pant.  Different brands have different features for various aspects.  Some may be more protective, but less mobile and others might be the opposite.  Try some on to see what fits best for you.

Knee/Thigh Guards: $70 – $150:  These are also optional.  A lot of leg pads come with built in thigh guards.  I personally don’t like them and opt for dedicated knee/thigh protection.  I have been hit in the knee cap too many times to not have these.

Leg Pads: $1000 – $1700:  This is the big ticket item of being a goalie, but also the part that looks the coolest.  Unless you can get your mask painted of course (see picture above).  Here is another piece of gear that has options out the ears.  Most of the options are just personal style, like if you want a single or double break or different strapping options.  The most important thing to keep an eye on is making sure they fit right.  Leg pads are measured in most cases using an “ATK” measurement or Ankle to Knee.  You measure from the inside of your ankle, all the way up to the middle of your knee cap.  With that measurement you can call any store or manufacturer and have them give you a size to start.  An ideal measurement takes 3 things:

  • Skate size
  • ATK Measurement
  • Middle of knee to middle of thigh measurement

You would add those together and that would tell you what size.  Mine for instance is 35.  You will also see a +1 or +2 in almost all pads.  That is just additional pad that helps you close the “5 hole” when in butterfly (if you don’t know what that means don’t worry, we will cover it next week).  My current pads are 35 + 1.5 to give an example.  Be aware though, different manufacturers have different sizing charts.  For example I wear a 36 in Bauer, but a 35 in Brian’s, so it’s best to call the store/manufacturer or try pads on before buying them.

Stick: $100 – $250:  There are a few options here, composite or foam core.  Composites are typically more expensive.  It’s a lot of personal preference here as well.  Many goalies swear by composites and vice versa.  Try them out and see which you like.

Skates: $200 – $800:  Skates will size about a size or so smaller than your shoe size.  Most sites will have the conversion on their site.  I wear an 11.5 in shoes and wear a size 10 in most skates.  Skates fit differently depending on the company just like shoes, so you will probably need to try them on.  Bauer’s for example usually have a more narrow heel and Reebok’s for the most part are wider than most.

So there you have it.  We just scratched the surface of goalie equipment.  There are many options depending on play style, comfort, functionality, etc. You will also run into a term when searching for gloves and sticks called “full right.”  This just means that you catch with your right hand and your blocker is on your left.  This is a lot of information and it really doesn’t even touch some of the many options you can get especially with leg pads and gloves.  There are also many different independent manufactures of gear that are just as good as the big boys and significantly cheaper.  Next week we will be going over basic movements/terminology of goaltending and some places that can help you get better.  As always if you have any questions, feel free to contact me and I will answer any questions you might have.  The question will get to me and I will get back you.  So work on that skating and those reflexes and we will see you next week.

Joshua Frizzell has been a part of the hockey community for 17 years. During that time, he has been involved in every aspect of the game. The journey started off by playing house leagues in Nashville, he then moved on to playing travel hockey and the leading to playing for Brentwood High School during the inaugural season of high school hockey in Tennessee. Joshua continued his success from high school by playing club hockey for the University of Tennessee. Joshua has also been an official for USA Hockey, and is currently a goaltending coach for the Hume Fogg/Page High School hockey team.

*Header photo courtesy of Kristen Jerkins*