Goalie: The Evolution Of Goale Masks In Ice Hockey

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Ice hockey surpasses all sports in terms of speed. Not only are slap shots taken at unbelievably high speeds, but the game and the players themselves are perform at paces much higher than other team sports. Due to the extreme speed of the players and the puck, hockey equipment is continually having to meet a higher standard of protection. The protection of goalies and the size and standard of their equipment is an especially hot topic of debate. Goalie equipment has evolved in some ways that would seem unimaginable for the original goaltenders, and to such new lengths that it is not only bigger in size, but also weighs about 20 pounds lighter, due to new technologies. Goalie masks have been introduced, and chest protectors have become extremely…show more content…
Therefore, the shots taken by players typically would not leave the ice or exceed the goaltenders waist level. Masks at that time were considered unmanly. Nevertheless, “After having his nose broken from a Howie Morenz shot, Montreal Maroons’ Clint Benedict became the first goaltender to wear a mask in an NHL game on February 20, 1930. The leather facemask did not prove practical and Benedict abandoned it after just two games” (stars.nhl.com 5). The first time which goalies were allowed to drop to the ice to make a save was in 1917 with the NHL was first established. Goalies around this time wore extremely minimal protection on the upper body compared to what goalies wear today. Depending on the player, they may have worn elbow pads on the outside of their sweaters and some goalies wore thick felt sleeves. A few of these models included metal, which was later banned. All goalies wore a chest protector similar to a baseball back-catcher’s chest protector beneath their sweaters. Sweaters during this time were meant for distinguishing your team and were also meant for warmth due to the fact that when ice hockey first started it was played in the cold on lakes and ponds. Almost all of the goaltenders in the NHL during this time wore Kensky brand leg pads. Kenesky pads were made of horsehide and were made similar to leg pads used in cricket. The…show more content…
However, there were a few goalies who decided to go maskless through even the 1970s. Most sources name Jacques Plante as the first goalie to officially introduce the goalie mask. He was known as an all-star goalie and was playing for the Montreal Canadiens at the time. Plante had been wearing a homemade fiberglass mask during practices and but had continued to play without it during games. Nevertheless, during a game on Nov. 1, 1959, against the New York Rangers Plante got struck in the face by a shot “opening up a cut from the corner of his mouth all the way up through his nostril,”.

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