By Bill Notartomaso, Pure Hockey Goalie Specialist
Purchasing of Goalie gear is generally considered to be “overwhelming.” This term - plus the price point - can make a lot of people very hesitant. Here at Pure Hockey, we want to remove the term ‘overwhelming’ along with any uncomfortable feeling that arises during this process. Our goal is to assure you that you are choosing the best product based on your needs. The following is designed to help educate and guide you based on your specific goaltending style.
Before you start, ask yourself the following questions;
- What goaltending style do you or your children play?
- What level of hockey are you or your children currently at?
- How many times per week are you or your children playing?
- If you are purchasing for your children, how old are they, and are they still growing?
- If you’re replacing your equipment because you don’t like them or they’re broken down, what bothers you the most?
- Do you want your next set of gear to be custom and just for you?
Keep yourself open to different models and brands. What works for some may not work best for you. Most equipment these days are designed for specific style-based goaltenders. Manufacturers are making extremely protective and light weight pads. As long as you find the correct model line for the amount of hockey you or your child is playing, it will definitely be protective. Most companies now offer more than just a top-end or $1,000-plus priced pad.
Common Question: Based on the amount of hockey played per week, which level you should start your search at?
- 5-7 Days a week (Pee-Wee - High School, Juniors or College Level ) = Top of the Line (Often $1000+)
- 4-5 Days a week (Squirt – First Year Bantam Level [Select or Town], Underclassmen High School or Adult League/Recreational) = Mid End (Often $500 - $800)
- 1-3 Days a week (Learn to Play/Mite – Pee Wee Level , Single Team [Select or Town]) = Entry or Low Level (Often $150 - $500 depending on sizing)
I also like to call this the ‘do whatever it takes to stop the puck’ style. Some NHL Examples are Martin Brodeur, Tim Thomas, Ryan Miller, Marty Turco, Mikka Kipprusoff and Johan Hedberg. More likely than not, this style would use a Leg pad that has an overall softer feeling. A softer pad will control and keep rebounds in front of you. These will have either a Single or Double break at the knee. You may feel a shot off the pad on occasion. Not painful, but more due to the compression from the softer material. With this pad you may find that there is little to no break-in period, and will learn the rebound control quickly.
Recommended Pads for Hybrid/Traditional;
- Vaughn Velocity Series
- Brian’s Zero-G
- Reebok Larceny (new for 2011/2012) & Reebok Revoke series
- Bauer Re-flex & Bauer X:60 (2009-10 model)
- Warrior Messiah & Swagger
How to know if you are a Hybrid/Traditional Style Goalie
- Do you find yourself being a little more on the athletic side?
- Do you react to a shot based on instinct rather than relying on technical training?
- Do you use every piece of your body to try to block the puck, no matter the situation?
- Do you prefer to corral or keep rebounds in front of you?
- Do you like to make one save at a time and prefer to make the pace of the game go the speed you want it to?
This style is being played by the majority of goalies today. Most notable NHL goalies are Roberto Luongo, Jean Sebastian Giguere, Tuukka Rask, Jonathan Quick, Cary Price, Tomas Vokoun, Henrik Lundqvist, etc. This style bases most movements off of the butterfly. Most goalies in this style will be a bit more aggressive on playing the puck off a rebound. A pad that is preferred is an overall stiffer pad. More likely than not, the pad that would be best is a flat front, with either a single or no break at the knee. These types of pads will take longer to break in completely, but it’s very rare that you will ever really feel a direct shot off of them.
Recommended Pads for Butterfly or Pro-Fly
- Vaughn Epic
- Reebok Premier Series
- Bauer Supreme Series
- Warrior Fortress
How to know if you are a Butterfly and/or Pro-Fly Style Goalie
- Are you a bit more technical and angle based?
- Do most of your saves or movements start from the butterfly?
- Do you prefer more shots against, and a quicker game pace?
- Do you let your training take precedence over instincts?
All High End pads can be customized to your exact specifications.
Interested in a top of the line pad, much like your favorite professional goalie is using? Come in or contact any of our Pure Hockey employees. Let our goalie experts help you build and purchase your dream gear!
Goalie leg pad sizing can vary based from one manufacturer to the other. If you do not have an opportunity to get professionally fitted at one of our Pure Goalie locations. Here is a great guide to estimate your ideal size. Sizing is based on three (3) things;
1: Your skate size. You can find the size of your skate one of two ways;
- Grab your skate, the tag or size is usually located right on the tounge. The size should be the same size or smaller than your shoe size, based on if you are growing or not.
- If you have had your skate for a while, and your foot has not grown, Take your shoe size and go a full size to a size and a half down. Since skate sizing is smaller than shoe sizing, this would be your ideal size. REMINDER: This is just a guage, for appropriate fitting, be sure to head into one of our retail locations to get professionally sized.
2: The length from your midfoot (floor) to the center of your knee. This is also commonly known as “ATK” (Ankle-To-Knee) measurement.
3: The thigh rise height. This is the measurement from the center of your knee to your desired length. This is generally half way to ¾ of the way up your thigh.
The estimated size of pads would then be (1) + (2) + (3).
If you have followed the above steps properly, the your knee should rest directly behind the center knee roll or in the center of the landing area with the pad properly strapped up and with skates on. If you are a growing goalie, or you are sizing for a growing goalie, you can have the knee land between the lower and middle knee roll. This should line up roughly an inch or so below the center of the knee landing inside the leg channel. This will ensure that the pad breaks (bends) at the knee, shin and ankle as designed for optimal performance.
If you are able to shop at one of our retail locations, it is recommended that you bring your skates and pants when sizing leg pads. This will allow our professionally trained goalie specialists the most accurate way of getting you into your true size. Also, what this will do is give you a similar to game ready feel, so not to have any surprises arrise during your first use.
What does the "+" sizing mean on the Leg Pad?
The “+” sizing on goalie leg pads specifies that added height to the pad from the knee cradle to the top of the pad (section 3 on the above diagram). This is also called the “thigh rise.” The idea on the additional height is to help cover the five hole while in the butterfly position.
- Someone that would utilize the added height is a goalie with a wider stance/butterfly.
- Someone with a tighter or narrower butterfly would probably use the standard or lower height.
*Most goalie leg pads are desgined with a +1 sizing even if it is not specified directly on the pad.
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