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Are you wearing a Cheever's Mask? Liner Safety

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Are you wearing a Cheever's Mask? Liner Safety

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Last night, I went to bed at my normal time and with the normal routine. I happened to check the wrong thread right before bed and it kept me up all night thinking. Unfortunately, TGN doesn’t pay and now I am just going to have an exhausted day at work…

Helmet safety is NOT something I am an expert on. None of us probably are. I think you need a PhD in physics / engineering or 30 years of experience in the industry to really be an expert on this subject. I think I can hold my own with the other goalie “prosumers” out there and I have tried to champion the cause on TheGoalNet’s social media.  It’s a topic I am always trying to learn more about and do anything I can to help the cause. I personally don’t think safety should have a premium price tag on it. 95% of goalies that ever strap on the pads are not going to get paid to wear them or earn college scholarships from them. It’s my opinion the industry needs to make sure everyone that loves hockey also has a proper quality of life.

This issue has boiled over at the NHL level. According to TSN, the NHL is finally going to conduct their own study. This will give the goalies some independent data outside of what their rep tells them or they could find in product marketing collateral.

Will this first generation of testing be perfect? Probably not. Will the “loser” of the study find areas to scrutinize the testing methods? You bet, get your popcorn ready. Is this a step in the right direction? Absolutely and I’m elated to see it. The NFL has been posting the VT 5 Star ratings in the NFL locker rooms for years and the NHL is behind by only rolling out their version now.

Marketing video from D3O, not the scientific test from the article

So this post that kept me up all night was the Material Database and the research paper @Rossuncovered. To summarize the findings, at 15mm (.6 in) of thickness, D3O, XRD, and traditional EVA foam all do a great job. At 10mm (.4 in) of thickness, EVA is not a sufficient padding and you need XRD or D3O. Dropping the thickness down even further to 5mm (.2 in), only D3O provided proper impact resistance. The testing method was a laboratory drop test.

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The reason this kept me up is that it reminded of the NME VTX Deconstruction post. I wish all gear could be taken apart and reassembled like this. It’s very educational. During this process, I came to appreciate how thick the mask padding is on the VTX. It’s clear that Bauer designed a liner that works with the shell to provide impact protection. By contrast, Rubatex liners were traditionally used for a bit of comfort and to keep the mask in place. They were not engineered to aid in impact absorption. The idea of a thicker liner to help with safety is another Armadilla pioneering concept from @Don Straus. Sadly, it had been forgotten about until recently. 

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So if we look at the NME  VTX liner, its 12-14mm thick depending where it is on the shell. It’s a mix of black medium density foam, black high density foam, molded foam, and XRD. Based on the findings of the research paper, this means the VTX adequately should pass a standard drop test. We also need to keep in the mind that the liner is providing a secondary layer of impact protection. The shell itself is supposed to act as the impact energy redirector. The liner does not need to absorb as much as if it were the only method of padding.

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TGN Measurements

This is NOT meant to be a sales pitch for Bauer. I’ve just had personal expierence with this mask for over 12 months and it’s raised my awareness on the topic. Other companies are looking at this too.

CCM is using D3O, which might be the best available material on paper, and OTNY / Sportmask have ECO Pro foam available too. But, I absolutely commend Bauer on the liner design of this helmet. When I take a clapper to the forehead, it sounds and feels more like a puck to a chest protector than a puck to the mask. I don’t have the testing equipment or training to properly test this mask independently… but it feels like Bauer and the other companies looking at engineered liners are on the right path. The research of this paper seems to validate that. The NHL data will be another major data point to consider on the topic.

But here’s the part that kept me up all night… to my knowledge, the VTX has the thickest padding on the market. It also has probably has the most engineered liner on the market. So if you’re wearing a more traditional mask with basic cream or black foam and the padding is only 6-8mm thick, are you really only wearing more than the shell? Is your mask any more protective than the Cheevers mask?

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Definitely enjoy these posts.

I've been using the VTX since October and luckily haven't had too many instances to test the impact absorption of the unit.

I did take a decent snap shot in close last night that hit me between the eyes (and bent my cage as well). Barely felt it. On my C2 lid, I wouldv'e had a bit of ringing from that type of shot.

I do like how manufactures are taking a more hands on, serious approach at re engineering the foams that comes with their masks, it's just too bad that anything really decent is locked away behind a $1,000 price tag.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, coopaloop1234 said:

it's just too bad that anything really decent is locked away behind a $1,000 price tag.

Ahem, Bauer 950XPM?

Image result for bauer 950x

Sits on the $600 price point from GoalieMonkey. (960XPM is $900)

It's a solid helmet, even though I'm not supposed to I've played beer league in this a couple times and all was fine. The positioning of the holes in the cage is a little weird but a non-certified cat-eye option is also available. My only complaint with the helmet is that the cage is a little soft. I've removed the stock cage in favor of a GoalieParts one.

Edited by ThatCarGuy

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Thank you for - again - trying to push the topic of head safety to the forefront. I am really hopeful that the NHL goes ahead with their testing, and implements a PROPER testing method. Something other than just the antiquated 'drop test' that measures the foam compression. 20+ years ago our local university developed a headform with built in sensors that could measure the force transmitted through the mask, to the headform/user. It was amazing, at the time, to see the wide range of numbers created with the controlled test.

With the advancements made in the field of diagnosing/reading head trauma, the blending of the cause/effect knowledge would go along way to establish a baseline for true safety (what the mask was hoped to do) rather than just a venue to build dangerous, ineffective costumes.

It's been over 10 years that I've stepped away from the manufacturing, and it's still surprising how few have made even the slightest effort to raise the bar. The 'Cheevers' comment is not that far off. There is way more to it than just foam thickness. It - as with all design projects - needs to be a concert of all the bits and pieces. Not just the liner. Not just the shell. Once the new standard (hopefully NHL, CSA, HESS, ETC) is established, designers will work with their bag of tricks and build legit parts that comply. Whatever creative path they choose to get there. This is something that was desperately needed decades ago.

Price is a concern, but to have the efforts go into something as important as protecting your brain, it might be money better spent. It's about time protective headgear manufacturers put as much effort and fresh thought into their gear as the leg pad and glove industry have. I always found it puzzling why so many would not skip a beat to go and buy the newest $1000+ set of pads each year, and bemoan having to pay dollar one for their mask, and expect it to last for eternity.

The protective body gear is nice, but I'd choose to staple phone books to my legs, and have my brain properly protected. I'd rather limp than drool. YMMV.    

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1 hour ago, TheGoalNet said:

But here’s the part that kept me up all night… to my knowledge, the VTX has the thickest padding on the market. It also has probably has the most engineered liner on the market. So if you’re wearing a more traditional mask with basic cream or black foam and the padding is only 6-8mm thick, are you really only wearing more than the shell? Is your mask any protective than the Cheevers mask?

Isn't the first line of defense the shell though? I thought layup/construction/quality of shell materials are most important. Further to that, isn't that the knock on the big mask companies (i.e Bauer) anyways, that they're mass-produced using sub-par shell materials? 

I definitely agree on an advancement beyond the basic mask foam that's been used for decades, but D30/XRD whatever inside of an NME4 doesn't change the fact that it's a POS plastic mask.

I'm not trying to be confrontational in any way, to me this is the line of thinking that seems most prevalent regarding masks.

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53 minutes ago, motowngoalie said:

Isn't the first line of defense the shell though? I thought layup/construction/quality of shell materials are most important. Further to that, isn't that the knock on the big mask companies (i.e Bauer) anyways, that they're mass-produced using sub-par shell materials? 

I definitely agree on an advancement beyond the basic mask foam that's been used for decades, but D30/XRD whatever inside of an NME4 doesn't change the fact that it's a POS plastic mask.

I'm not trying to be confrontational in any way, to me this is the line of thinking that seems most prevalent regarding masks.

 I don’t ever mind being challenged or questioned. It’s how we learn and it’s great content. It just needs to be politely like yours

Yes, the shell is the 1st line of defense. It’s the most expensive part of the mask. It’s the part that everyone puts all their attention into researching. It’s why many people prefer artisan masks instead of mask produced ones. 

But... This is the point I’m hoping to achieve. Maybe we’ve been conditioned to think about this all wrong...

Maybe we put too much emphasis on the shell. When the liner is just as important or should be the perfect compliment to a shell. For most people, it’s an afterthought. 

I look at this as a car breaking. If a car is driving at 30 mph it might need 10 ft to break. If your going 90mph you might need 50ft to break. When there’s energy transfer and ineretia involved, there’s a certain distance ( or thickness in our case ) that needs to be achieved. It’s why thicker padding is better than thin padding at absorption. 

So the puck hits your mask at 75 mph. That’s a realistic clap bomb for an average A or B level men’s league guy. You have a top of the line composite mask. Hypothetically, that mask could be 75% efficient at transferring the pucks energy away with the rebound. That means 25% of that energy is going right to your brain. 

With cream foam, maybe 5% can absorbed and 20% hits your skull

With engineered foam, maybe 20% is absorbed and your head only eats 5%

Thicker foam creates that car breaking example and gives the energy more time to stop 

All my percentages are made up to create a point 

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1 hour ago, Don Straus said:

Thank you for - again - trying to push the topic of head safety to the forefront. I am really hopeful that the NHL goes ahead with their testing, and implements a PROPER testing method. Something other than just the antiquated 'drop test' that measures the foam compression. 20+ years ago our local university developed a headform with built in sensors that could measure the force transmitted through the mask, to the headform/user. It was amazing, at the time, to see the wide range of numbers created with the controlled test.

With the advancements made in the field of diagnosing/reading head trauma, the blending of the cause/effect knowledge would go along way to establish a baseline for true safety (what the mask was hoped to do) rather than just a venue to build dangerous, ineffective costumes.

It's been over 10 years that I've stepped away from the manufacturing, and it's still surprising how few have made even the slightest effort to raise the bar. The 'Cheevers' comment is not that far off. There is way more to it than just foam thickness. It - as with all design projects - needs to be a concert of all the bits and pieces. Not just the liner. Not just the shell. Once the new standard (hopefully NHL, CSA, HESS, ETC) is established, designers will work with their bag of tricks and build legit parts that comply. Whatever creative path they choose to get there. This is something that was desperately needed decades ago.

Price is a concern, but to have the efforts go into something as important as protecting your brain, it might be money better spent. It's about time protective headgear manufacturers put as much effort and fresh thought into their gear as the leg pad and glove industry have. I always found it puzzling why so many would not skip a beat to go and buy the newest $1000+ set of pads each year, and bemoan having to pay dollar one for their mask, and expect it to last for eternity.

The protective body gear is nice, but I'd choose to staple phone books to my legs, and have my brain properly protected. I'd rather limp than drool. YMMV.    

Thanks for chiming in. Your insider opinion is always value add!

Agreed the drop test is just a validation of the material as a component. It doesn’t validate the entire assembled unit. Hopefully the NHL testing does what it needs to. 

I’m happy someone found the academic results though. It’s something to start with and an easy way for comparing the materials. 

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1 hour ago, ThatCarGuy said:

Ahem, Bauer 950XPM?

Image result for bauer 950x

Sits on the $600 price point from GoalieMonkey. (960XPM is $900)

It's a solid helmet, even though I'm not supposed to I've played beer league in this a couple times and all was fine. The positioning of the holes in the cage is a little weird but a non-certified cat-eye option is also available. My only complaint with the helmet is that the cage is a little soft. I've removed the stock cage in favor of a GoalieParts one.

It’s good to see XRD foam at that price point, but I think @coopaloop1234 ‘s point is that the top end masks should maybe be $600 and everyone would be safer 

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1 hour ago, TheGoalNet said:

It’s good to see XRD foam at that price point, but I think @coopaloop1234 ‘s point is that the top end masks should maybe be $600 and everyone would be safer 

Exactly what I was going for.

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3 hours ago, ThatCarGuy said:

Ahem, Bauer 950XPM?

Image result for bauer 950x

Sits on the $600 price point from GoalieMonkey. (960XPM is $900)

It's a solid helmet, even though I'm not supposed to I've played beer league in this a couple times and all was fine. The positioning of the holes in the cage is a little weird but a non-certified cat-eye option is also available. My only complaint with the helmet is that the cage is a little soft. I've removed the stock cage in favor of a GoalieParts one.

That $600 us dollars too, up here in Canada that is in the $900 to $1000 range.

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Just now, Snowman30 said:

That $600 us dollars too, up here in Canada that is in the $900 to $1000 range.

Ah, I forgot about Canadian economy... In that case, a decent mask can not be had for under $1000 CA.

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I assure you, I am not wearing a Gerry Cheevers mask. 

I've tried on many new masks in that magic $1000 range and I cannot believe what passes for adequate protection. We absolutely soil ourselves if a pad manufacturer moves a strap or adds some plastic fantastic slip and slide to their gear, but somehow this continues to fall by the wayside. I've been concussed off the ice, it's a lousy feeling and the aftereffects, as you all know, are unpleasant.

I'm at the point where I am honestly thinking about grabbing a bunch of masks, including one from my own collection and going after my own data. Maybe contact a few people in the media, and see what's what. Something stinks, I'll tell you that. 

I work in an industry that was built around blood laws. A great number of people had to get hurt (or worse) in order for safety to progress. A lot of people have paid the price making it one of the safest industries in the world.  I'd rather not continue to see that from the game that I love.

Edited by aircanuck

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4 hours ago, Snowman30 said:

That $600 us dollars too, up here in Canada that is in the $900 to $1000 range.

The 950 retails for about $670 up here, 960 is $999.  Thankfully not everything is just a straight conversion. 

I've had good performance out of my masked marvel, the few bombs I've taken have not rattled me by any means, but I'm definitely going to take a closer look at the foam. I think it's supposed to be some upgraded rubatex, but still some form of rubatex. 

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2 hours ago, aircanuck said:

I assure you, I am not wearing a Gerry Cheevers mask. 

I've tried on many new masks in that magic $1000 range and I cannot believe what passes for adequate protection. We absolutely soil ourselves if a pad manufacturer moves a strap or adds some plastic fantastic slip and slide to their gear, but somehow this continues to fall by the wayside. I've been concussed off the ice, it's a lousy feeling and the aftereffects, as you all know, are unpleasant.

I'm at the point where I am honestly thinking about grabbing a bunch of masks, including one from my own collection and going after my own data. Maybe contact a few people in the media, and see what's what. Something stinks, I'll tell you that. 

I work in an industry that was built around blood laws. A great number of people had to get hurt (or worse) in order for safety to progress. A lot of people have paid the price making it one of the safest industries in the world.  I'd rather not continue to see that from the game that I love.

I have limited band width and capital... but I would happily support any proper testing in anyway that I can.

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On 1/9/2019 at 8:19 PM, Mroy31 said:

The 950 retails for about $670 up here, 960 is $999.  Thankfully not everything is just a straight conversion. 

I've had good performance out of my masked marvel, the few bombs I've taken have not rattled me by any means, but I'm definitely going to take a closer look at the foam. I think it's supposed to be some upgraded rubatex, but still some form of rubatex. 

My goal is not to make anyone panic about their current helmet. I don't have the testing equipment or the scientisit to prove this theory out, but it's a point I wanted to raise to the community. 

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1 hour ago, TheGoalNet said:

My goal is not to make anyone panic about their current helmet. I don't have the testing equipment or the scientisit to prove this theory out, but it's a point I wanted to raise to the community. 

For sure, I'm not really worried about my current mask since I've had enough physical evidence that it's doing a good job, but it's something I'm more aware of since shopping for this mask and considering what a future mask may be. 

Here's my head in a Bauer 960XPM M/L, which doesn't fit my face, rattles around too much. So I'm pretty much slotted into a more custom type of company (with some aesthetic bias as well, but there are enough out there nowadays that it's not an irresponsible bias). Just wish more of those companies were getting into engineered foam liners. 

20181122_184751.thumb.jpg.43699c8b3f291f9fd06c939c84e73b4e.jpg

Would love to just transplant that foam into my mask as some future refurb if the cream stuff starts to harden. 

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Just now, Mroy31 said:

For sure, I'm not really worried about my current mask since I've had enough physical evidence that it's doing a good job, but it's something I'm more aware of since shopping for this mask and considering what a future mask may be. 

Here's my head in a Bauer 960XPM M/L, which doesn't fit my face, rattles around too much. So I'm pretty much slotted into a more custom type of company (with some aesthetic bias as well, but there are enough out there nowadays that it's not an irresponsible bias). Just wish more of those companies were getting into engineered foam liners. 

20181122_184751.thumb.jpg.43699c8b3f291f9fd06c939c84e73b4e.jpg

Would love to just transplant that foam into my mask as some future refurb if the cream stuff starts to harden. 

Yes, a poor fit definitely creates it own issues! Did you try and a VTX Fit 3?

And if you like this mask, but a refurb with Eco Foam or something could be a great future idea

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4 minutes ago, TheGoalNet said:

Yes, a poor fit definitely creates it own issues! Did you try and a VTX Fit 3?

And if you like this mask, but a refurb with Eco Foam or something could be a great future idea

They didn't have a fit 3 in VTX, I think that's what I wore in the Itech NV7 I had a while ago. That mask had an engineered foam liner too, mix of black and red foams if I remember correctly

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@TheGoalNet NME VTX Fit 3 on my pumpkin head. Rattled around on my face just like the M/L 960, might be able to make up some room by loosening the chin cup, but I don't think it would be thaaaat much haha. Just confirming what I already believed, probably gonna be getting custom masks the rest of my life. 

20190216_200734.jpg

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17 hours ago, Mroy31 said:

@TheGoalNet NME VTX Fit 3 on my pumpkin head. Rattled around on my face just like the M/L 960, might be able to make up some room by loosening the chin cup, but I don't think it would be thaaaat much haha. Just confirming what I already believed, probably gonna be getting custom masks the rest of my life. 

20190216_200734.jpg

Wow! I’m legit impressed with the size of your dome! 

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So, I now have 3 masks in rotation. They range from beefy modern padding, thin modern padding, to old school minimalist padding, 

At this moment, I can definitely stand behind my thoughts keeping your head further from the shell feels safer to me. Unfortunately, I don’t have any data to prove this. I’ll definitely keep adding to this post as I use all 3 masks to try and add more info or anecdotal info 

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On 2/25/2019 at 7:08 AM, TheGoalNet said:

So, I now have 3 masks in rotation. They range from beefy modern padding, thin modern padding, to old school minimalist padding, 

At this moment, I can definitely stand behind my thoughts keeping your head further from the shell feels safer to me

You know how I feel about padding distances from the shell. All three of my masks won't give up any of that precious distance. I think data would be nice to support this, let's see what can be done! 

IMG_0368.JPG

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Posted (edited)
On 2/25/2019 at 7:08 AM, TheGoalNet said:

So, I now have 3 masks in rotation. They range from beefy modern padding, thin modern padding, to old school minimalist padding, 

At this moment, I can definitely stand behind my thoughts keeping your head further from the shell feels safer to me. Unfortunately, I don’t have any data to prove this. I’ll definitely keep adding to this post as I use all 3 masks to try and add more info or anecdotal info 

I can attest to keeping the head away from the shell. In my Itech and Bauer NV7's, I used to hear ringing and I'd feel the puck off the dome. Usually it'd give me a momentary pause during a game of a "what just happened".

Since about 2014 or so, I've worn a baseball cap under my helmet backwards. The fitted type. The thinking was Yadier Molina and other baseball catchers do it. I wanted to see if I can get the cage a bit further from my face and give it some room at first.

The first time I took a puck off the head, I didn't feel a friggin thing. I have yet to hear a ring, or even feel like I need to stop and gather myself either.

It's not for everyone, but the ball cap and helmet helps with the sightlines out the cat-eye, and I usually can tell where off the mask it hit and find the puck before anyone else seems to.

I'm probably going to try a thick, and I mean thick! sweatband, but I have so much confidence in the masks now- I don't see why I should mess with a good thing.

And yes, I leave the brim on the hat- and the backplate rests on it.

Edited by tubby34

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