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When to replace a mask?


AMDG
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I have been playing with my Protechsport mask since the beginning of the 2010 season.  I play for roughly five months, twice a week in a recreational league with about half comprising of ex Senior A players.  

I've never thought of replacing my mask until coming across expiry dates on masks in hockey stores.  My mask doesn't have any cracks or visible damage.  It has taken routine shots and sticks over the years, but nothing that is visible.  

So my question is when are we supposed to replace goalie masks?

I've tried on Bauer masks and found them very comfortable.  It was the new NME VTX and the Profile 950X.  I realize that the top level protection for the Bauer masks are the 960XPM and the NME VTX.  But how much more protective are these two next to the 950X and the NME8?

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The mask itself and the padding are separate things and each have their own integrity.  But, they work together as a duo and the padding will break down and dry out way quicker than the mask itself, all things being equal.

A lot of masks can be prolonged with new padding so long as the mask isn't chipped or cracked or broken.

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14 hours ago, estogoalie said:

If you haven't replaced the foam in the 8 years that you owned the mask, you should definitely do it now. Or just buy a new mask if you feel it's time.

So, that's kind of one of my questions: when do you know that it's time? 

16 hours ago, cwarnar said:

No... But padding is essential for impact distribution.  Michel will refurb it for you.  Have him double check the shell as well

Even if there is no visible damage to the shell of the mask, can there be damage that's not visible?  How will he be able to check the shell?

The foam seems to be a good order, nothing torn, ripped, missing or cracked.  But perhaps it has hardened slowly over the years and I would never be the wiser about it.  I'm more concerned about the shell failing, but from what you guys are saying the foam is important too.  I'm just surprised to come across expiration dates on masks.  Is that just a way to sell more masks?  Or perhaps avoid ongoing liability?  Or is it really that the structure of the shell does break down over time, and/or the foam as well?

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@AMDG As for invisible structural issues, that's something that no one can predict.  But the guy who built your mask will be able to tell for sure if it's got any issues.

As for expiry dates on masks, it's like a lot of other things out there including car seats.  They don't expire per se but the liability for company in the event of a failure is absolved.

I would highly recommend changing the foam (either thru Michel or if you want DIY EcoProFoam and Resilient Foam are 2 options). Then it's really up to you about a new lid

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7 hours ago, AMDG said:

So, that's kind of one of my questions: when do you know that it's time? 

Even if there is no visible damage to the shell of the mask, can there be damage that's not visible?  How will he be able to check the shell?

The foam seems to be a good order, nothing torn, ripped, missing or cracked.  But perhaps it has hardened slowly over the years and I would never be the wiser about it.  I'm more concerned about the shell failing, but from what you guys are saying the foam is important too.  I'm just surprised to come across expiration dates on masks.  Is that just a way to sell more masks?  Or perhaps avoid ongoing liability?  Or is it really that the structure of the shell does break down over time, and/or the foam as well?

Regarding the foam, as a rule of thumb, I try not to go more than 4 years without changing the foam. When I compare the new and old foam, it's easy to see the difference. Old one his harder and stinkier. New foam is not as "compressed" as the old (and smells/looks better of course ;) )

Regarding the shell, that's up to you. If it looks good with no cracks/chips then I'd say you can still use it. For me, I've had ReidiC masks the last 20 years, they are made of ABS plastic, so never any chipping or cracking ;) Swapping the foam is simple too, since it's held in with velcro. I don't know why all the other mfgrs glue it in. How are you supposed to swap it out? I think WALL uses velcro, for sure in the W4 (I had one briefly), not sure about the higher end like the W10 tho. I think I'm going to switch to WALL in a few years as ReidiC is pretty much out of business (I think I'm their last customer ;) )

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Technically most traditional masks are single impact, i.e. one shot, stick, whatever, and the mask needs to be inspected. With glued foams, this requires repadding to check the structural integrity of the interior of the unit. Although not likely to occur, any single impact to the shell could cause interior cracking behind the padding leading to catastrophic failure. Easier to inspect the mask with the "mechanically attached foam". Royal pain in the Ass, not practical by any means but never the less truth. That being said, very good idea to periodically have a mask builder/expert inspect your mask.... once a season or more if you are consistently taking shots of the mask. 

This holds true for all protective headwear made from plastics or epoxy resins and foams. I understand that nobody in the world abides by this and there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but that doesn't make it any less true, it only takes 1 impact to damage the structural integrity of a helmet and you never know which impact it will be that causes it.

sorry to be a bummer. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

@AMDG Before you do anything, send your mask back to Michel to give it look.  Let him work his magic on it before spending more money than you have to on another mask.  Maybe your mask is still perfectly fine and just in need of a new harness, cage, hardware, and padding.  Should he deem your current mask needs replacement then I would make the decision to either place another order with Michele if you like his masks(keeping in mind the wait period) or going with an off the shelf mask of your choice.  

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So a question on material used for the shell of goalie masks.  Is carbon good or not good for goalie masks?  I'm reading conflicting reports.  And what is Innegra?  I see that the Bauer Profile line of masks have carbon but no aramid fiber:

   Profile 960XPM - fiberglass, 12k carbon outer layer, and Innegra

   Profile 950X - fiberglass and 12k carbon

The Bauer NME line seems to be pretty good:

   NME VTX - fiberglass and Textreme (not sure what this is)

   NME8 - fiberglass and aramid fiber

Now the price point is also a little curious.  Obviously the top two masks (960 & VTX) are the most costly.  But the 950 is priced higher than the NME8.  Not sure why.  Can anyone talk to the level of protection between these masks?

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  • 2 years later...

Little bump to this thread with a question of my own. With the season starting up soon, I was going through the bag and noticed my helmet's (Bauer NME 8) HECC expired last September. Being a Canadian, we don't use the HECC, but it did make me realize that I bought the mask just over 9 years ago.

Apart from the eyeball test, the mask seems fine cosmetically. Only real issues I get is ears ringing on shots to the shell, a small dent on one of the middle vertical bars (cert cateye), and I've only replaced the sweat band on the inside of the mask.

So golden question is, should I start looking to replace the mask or look into foams and the like, and will foams help with ringers?

Edited by dretti33
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3 hours ago, dretti33 said:

Little bump to this thread with a question of my own. With the season starting up soon, I was going through the bag and noticed my helmet's (Bauer NME 8) HECC expired last September. Being a Canadian, we don't use the HECC, but it did make me realize that I bought the mask just over 9 years ago.

Apart from the eyeball test, the mask seems fine cosmetically. Only real issues I get is ears ringing on shots to the shell, a small dent on one of the middle vertical bars (cert cateye), and I've only replaced the sweat band on the inside of the mask.

So golden question is, should I start looking to replace the mask or look into foams and the like, and will foams help with ringers?

Foam can potentially help with a ringer. If the foam is still original, it may be broken down and less protective at this point. 

 

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3 hours ago, MangoRhinehart said:

Foam can potentially help with a ringer. If the foam is still original, it may be broken down and less protective at this point.

 

100% agree, but I'm not sure if the issues I get are from the foams or the shell. And with the bucket being that old, would $100 worth of foam now be more worth it then a new bucket that should last me longer?

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I'll echo some of what others have said...

For me - the sticker doesn't mean anything (unless you are playing in a league where the sticker is required). There is day to day/skate to skate maintenance everybody should perform: check for cracking/delamination, tighten screws, CLEAN THE FOAM!/sweatband, replace hardware (including the cage) and foam as necessary... type stuff that frankly a lot of us probably overlook (or rather at least don't do religiously). The second part of the equation is know the layup of your mask: polyester resins have a shelf life and even if you are consistently passing the sniff checks/doing the routine maintenance from part one - should be replaced after a certain amount of time has passed. If you use a mask that uses epoxy resin in the layup - that is not thought to degrade much if at all over time. The more confident you are in the materials used - the more confident you can be that the mask is still useful. 

It all comes down to feel good/making an informed decision. If you aren't comfortable making a call based on all the above - have someone knowledgeable take a look at it for you... this probably means not the dude/dudette from the local shop who probably just wants to sell you a new lid.

18 hours ago, dretti33 said:

Little bump to this thread with a question of my own. With the season starting up soon, I was going through the bag and noticed my helmet's (Bauer NME 8) HECC expired last September. Being a Canadian, we don't use the HECC, but it did make me realize that I bought the mask just over 9 years ago.

Apart from the eyeball test, the mask seems fine cosmetically. Only real issues I get is ears ringing on shots to the shell, a small dent on one of the middle vertical bars (cert cateye), and I've only replaced the sweat band on the inside of the mask.

So golden question is, should I start looking to replace the mask or look into foams and the like, and will foams help with ringers?

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5 hours ago, chile57 said:

I'll echo some of what others have said...

For me - the sticker doesn't mean anything (unless you are playing in a league where the sticker is required). There is day to day/skate to skate maintenance everybody should perform: check for cracking/delamination, tighten screws, CLEAN THE FOAM!/sweatband, replace hardware (including the cage) and foam as necessary... type stuff that frankly a lot of us probably overlook (or rather at least don't do religiously). The second part of the equation is know the layup of your mask: polyester resins have a shelf life and even if you are consistently passing the sniff checks/doing the routine maintenance from part one - should be replaced after a certain amount of time has passed. If you use a mask that uses epoxy resin in the layup - that is not thought to degrade much if at all over time. The more confident you are in the materials used - the more confident you can be that the mask is still useful. 

It all comes down to feel good/making an informed decision. If you aren't comfortable making a call based on all the above - have someone knowledgeable take a look at it for you... this probably means not the dude/dudette from the local shop who probably just wants to sell you a new lid.

I'll admit to not being religious on the checks but after any ice time with a shot to the head I made sure to check the helmet thoroughly. I definitely kept up with the cleaning of the helmet tho, cant afford the stinky alternative. The sticker was purely a reminder of how long I've had the bucket for and totally agree. I'm not the one to run out and get new gear, but you do only get one brain so when it comes to helmets I'm more proactive on replacements.

I have no idea what resin they use on the mask, but the NME 8 I would assume doesn't use the same resin as a pro level mask. With that being said, I might play out this season with the mask since I'm in no rush to spend $400+, and I'm playing in a bit more casual of a league. 

Thanks for all your inputs

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Admittedly I don't know much about Bauer construction/layup since the days of the Jerry Wright masks (which is why I didn't chime in on your mask specifically). If I had to hazard a guess - like @MangoRhinehart said - I'd assume polyester (since that'd be a good way to ensure you keep buying their masks on a regular cycle). Good luck.

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