Whether you’re just starting out in hockey and looking to buy your first cage, or you’re a seasoned vet in the market for a flashy new Oakley Pro Stock visor, there are several options to consider when looking at masks and shields in today’s market. No one likes a puck off the face, so it’s important that you invest in the right form of protection to match your level of play and personal preferences. Here are some helpful tips to consider.
Types of Masks & Shields
Wire cages are the most popular option. They cover your whole face, don’t fog up like plastic shields, and allow you to have good visibility out on the ice. On the downside, steel tubing isn’t exactly the lightest option you’ll find, but it is negligible compared to the overall weight of the helmet.
Shields, which are made up of high-impact-resistant, anti-scratch clear plastic, are never a bad choice if you want to see the ice with unobstructed vision. When considering different styles, you have two options on the table: a full shield, or a half shield. Full shields -- or “fish bowls,” as some players call them -- cover your whole face. Half shields protect the top half of your face to just below your nose (what the pros and junior hockey players wear). If you go with a full shield, be prepared for some occasional fogging, as well as the occasional chirp from your teammates.
Tinted Half Shield:
If you’re looking to pay homage to Alex Ovechkin circa the early 2000s, you’ve got to go with a tinted half shield. The most popular option is a smoke tint, which helps cut down on any glare coming off the ice.
Still not sold on a certain cage or shield? A combo mask may be your best bet. Combo masks utilize the components of a wire mask down low and a plastic shield up top to help increase vision without paying the price of fogging up.
For a full wire cage, you can generally go a size down from your helmet. If your chin strap doesn’t feel properly fitted, you can always adjust the tightness/looseness using the cage’s side straps. Combo masks and full shields are generally fitted along the same lines.
Half shields are generally made in one-size-fits-all fashion. At the end of the day, if your eyes and cheeks are covered, you’re good to go. Buyer beware: don’t complain if you take one off the tooth.
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