Goalie also known as goalkeeper, goaltender or netkeeper is a hockey player who stands on the defensive position in front of the goal and tries to prevent opposing players from scoring. Hockey has various forms namely ball hockey, ice hockey, field hockey, floor hockey and others. Hockey is the international sport played in many countries with passion. Hockey is traditionally played with a stick each player has to hit the ball into opponent’s goal.
Goalie pads are worn by goalies to prevent themselves from any injury. These leg pads are meant for protection of the goalkeeper. Over these years, sports have also changed and hence, now it is compulsory to wear helmets, gloves and leg pads which were not even used in earlier times. Considering the serious injury a hockey puck (ball) can make, wearing protective equipment is a rule. Goalie plays a crucial role in the sport because his performance can create a big impact on the victory of the team.
History of Goalie Pads:
Protective equipment’s were not a part of game in early years of the sport. Players played without wearing masks, helmets or leg and elbow pads. It is after the 19th century, the discovery of safety came into light. The evolution continued from changing a basic cushion of foam into revolutionised technical pads. Since then, changes have been made in the size, length, designs, material and importance. These changes were made because of the discomfort of the pads or the thickness which didn’t allow the goalie to move properly. From making pads thicker and wider to substituting padding in it, improvisations were introduced in form of leather pads to synthetic leather to make them light.
It was first decided in 2005 that leg pads could not be more than 11 inches in width. The length should not exceed 38 inches. Changes were made thereafter, varying the measurements, for example: formerly a pad should not be more than 12 inches in width but has again be changed to 11 inches.
Why Are Goalie Pads Important?
With the revolutionary changes made in sports and technology, sports have also changed their faces multiple times. Including helmet, gloves and masks, goalie pads are as essential as others. They are also very important to protect the goalie from any kind of injury. The benefits of wearing these shields are as follows-
- To prevent injury from the ball or puck which is a disk made of vulcanized rubber and does serious injury if thrown at a high speed, like is done in hockey. That is why all sports played with balls have made it mandatory to wear protection in form or helmets, gloves and pads.
- The sports like ice hockey, which are played on ice layers and ground, are tending to be slippery. There are more chances to slip and getting hurt. The pads not only work as morphed protection to puck but also create balance to avoid slipping on the ground.
- Nevertheless, the fact that today the game has advanced a lot and the rate of slap shots can be 100 miles per hour and more. It has become very important to wear pads for better protection because one gets hurt by it. It is not easy to continue the game with same stamina and passion.
- A leg pad consists of thigh risk, knee rolls, break, shin and boot. These parts support different parts of the leg making it flexible to move and bend. Also, to protect from any injury from stick with curved surface or ball/puck or from slipping down the ground and falling, protective pads help a long way to avoid any accident and hurting legs, limbs, ligaments or knees.
How to Buy Right Goalie Pads:
- It is important to choose leg pads which balance the perfect proportion of flex and stability, making netkeeper able to get every puck in his hand and save the goal as well as his team.
- It becomes extreme pain to run, swirl and catch with heavy leather cushioned broad pads and therefore, light weight pads should be considered to have a movable body function throughout the game. Synthetic leather pads are very efficient in protecting from puck injury and prevent it from making a goal.
- The material makes a huge difference in the making of pads. Low density foam does not make the pads stiff and hard like high density does. Therefore, it is recommended to use low density foams in front and back of pads to make them soft and comfortable to wear.
- Size of the goalie pads should be selected accordingly. Wearing too fitted or ill fitted pads can trouble in the game and the player instead of stopping balls will be busy adjusting the pads. Pads come in different sizes and should be selected wisely and tried on before buying.
Types of Goalie Pads:
Leg pads have been divided into categories. When in doubt to select the suitable pad, one should observe his playing strategy. Question in mind should whether we are truly butterfly goalie or a hybrid goalie. Butterfly pad is flat face, pre-curved in shape and allow flexing in it. On the other hand, hybrid pad is flex cut and vertical in shape and ensures pad to stay in position. Also, choosing the right size is must for a comfortable game. The leg pads are divided into senior leg pads, intermediate leg pads, junior keg pads and youth leg pads.
We can also customize our leg pads or buy online from various websites. However, it is advised to measure the pad size. We can check the leg pad size by doing three simple steps:
- Skate size
- Ankle to knee measurement
- Knee to thigh measurements
Since, the whole role of goalie revolves around protecting goals and blocking balls or pucks. Goalkeeper becomes most important part of the team. It is not just important to score goals but also to stop goals of rival team. He is one man army and hence, his performance and protection can influence the game a lot. Protective goalie pads assist him in doing his work efficiently.