For young goaltenders, protection is critical to confidence so ensuring safety and comfort of the equipment will have a major impact on interest in the position and development.
Here is a preview of the most common pieces of goalie equipment and their main purpose:
Goalie Chest Protector
Moisture Wicking Undergarments – Provides warmth and protection from the gear itself while wicking away perspiration during play.
Goalie Supporter/Cup – Make sure to get a goalie version of the jock/jill supporter. Goalie versions have thicker foam padding which provide additional protection to players' midsection.
Goalie Helmet - Arguably the most important piece of equipment, ensuring proper fit is extremely important for the helmet. Goalie helmets should be snug around all aspects of the goalie's head, allowing little-to-no wiggle room during movement. Goalie masks (and helmets) must be HECC approved to ensure the openings are small enough to ensure protection.
Goalie Chest Protector - Goalie chest protectors cover the player's entire midsection and arms. Covering that much area while maintaining mobility can make proper fit challenging. The bottom of the chest protector should be at the player's beltline, the arms should be long enough to cover the wrist bone and the top should cover the collarbone.
Goalie Neck Guard - Many chest protectors leave extra room at the top to enable look down when necessary. Goalies are encouraged to wear a goalie neck guard underneath the chest protector to provide extra protection to the neck and collarbone.
Hanging Throat Protector - This piece of equipment, typically made of clear plastic, attaches to the goalie helmet and helps protect the neck and throat area from injury.
Goalie Breezers/Pants - Goalie pants have extra pads on the front of the hip, outer hip, inner thigh, outer thigh and all around the waist, but many players wear skater pants through the Peewee/12U level. The pants should be loose around the waist and come down to just above the knee cap when the player is in a partial squat.
Goalie Leg Pads
Goalie Leg Pads - Goal pads are sized numerically rather than by standard “Small, Medium, Large, etc.”. This number is the measurement from the toe of the pads to the top of the thigh, in inches. The pads should come to mid-thigh or just above when standing with legs together.
Leg Protection - It is recommended that goalies wear some piece of garment or equipment on their legs underneath their pads to provide protection to the back side of their legs.
Goalie Thigh Guards/Knee Protectors - Protects the thigh and knee areas of a goalie and are especially helpful when utilizing the butterfly position.
Glove and Blocker - Each player should have a glove for their catching hand and a blocker for the other hand. Sizing can be determined based on player's ability to handle a stick (blocker) and effectively close the glove.
Skates - Young players can use standard skates to play goalie, but as they get older, they should move into goalie skates, which will help them with their balance when in the goalie stance and provide additional additional protection.
Stick - One of the most commonly incorrectly sized pieces of equipment is the goal stick. When the goalie is in his/her stance, the blade of the stick should be evenly flat on the ice (or floor) and the hand holding the stick should be mid-thigh.