NHL Goalie Equipment Shrinks
NHL goalies are going to have to keep their reflexes sharp or toughen up. Their equipment has become the most recent to change since the hockey league began streamlining players’ gear. The thinking behind the shrinkage is to improve players’ chances of scoring goals, as well as to improve and reward athletic skills. The changes effectively get rid of puck-blocking padding that was designed with something of a one-size-fits-all approach. According to league vice-president Kay Whitmore, catering for different sizes was one of the biggest challenges of the push to decrease the size of equipment.
New Gear Form-FittingThe biggest changes to NHL goalkeeper gear were made to the chest protectors and arm padding. The old, angular ones have been replaced by designs that fit players’ forms. Whitmore said the most noticeable change to the chest protector was its 1-inch reduction. The size of arm pads was also reduced. As simple as it sounds, the process has been a long one. The vice-president explained the equipment had to be 3D-scanned, undergo inspection, and then wait for approval. Only once new standards had been set, could the manufacturers begin production in earnest. That may have taken longer than anyone anticipated, but the former pro-player is happy with the results so far.
Equipment had to be 3D-scanned, undergo inspection, and then wait for approvalAnother former player who supports the changes made to NHL goalkeeper equipment was Mathieu Schneider, now NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr’s special assistant. He said that the league had seen an improvement in players’ performances every time it had issued smaller equipment. However, Schneider also acknowledged that the potential for enhanced abilities was not convincing enough for some whose old chest protectors had sentimental value.