Originally, all players used the same sticks, but soon the goaltender’s stick featured a thick paddle on the bottom half to assist in stopping pucks. Today, with goaltenders handling the puck often, goalie sticks feature curved blades like regular sticks.
Originally, all players used the same sticks, but soon the goaltender’s stick featured a thick paddle on the bottom half to assist in stopping pucks. Today, with goaltenders handling the puck often, goalie sticks feature curved blades like regular sticks.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Goalie Sticks

Goalie sticks from the earliest to the current day.

CHIN

© Dave Sandford/Hockey Hall of Fame


The first goalie pads, similar to those used in bandy and cricket, appeared at the turn of the century. As protection became more important, these were replaced by Bigger, stronger pads. Initially, these were made of leather or horsehide filled with felt, deer hair or sponge. But these materials would soak up the water from the ice and become heavy. By the late 1980’s synthetic materials became popular adding more protection and becoming much lighter to allow for greater mobility.
The first goalie pads, similar to those used in bandy and cricket, appeared at the turn of the century. As protection became more important, these were replaced by Bigger, stronger pads. Initially, these were made of leather or horsehide filled with felt, deer hair or sponge. But these materials would soak up the water from the ice and become heavy. By the late 1980’s synthetic materials became popular adding more protection and becoming much lighter to allow for greater mobility.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Evolution of the Goalie Pad

The evolution of the goalie pad.

CHIN

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Emile "the Cat" Francis is credited with the creation of the goaltender’s gloves. Originally, goaltenders wore the same gloves as the forwards’ gauntlets. However, when Francis skated to the New York Rangers net in the 1943-44 season, using a first baseman’s baseball glove, he changed the game. Although the new equipment was immediately protested, NHL President Clarence Campbell gave official approval and the "catcher" or "trapper" was born. The glove would morph over the years, but the design today is very similar to the original glove. Francis can also take credit for introducing the "blocker." He taped an outer layer of sponge rubber to his stick hand gauntlet. This quickly evolved into a full leather glove padded with felt, sponge and eventually shatterproof plexiglass.
Emile "the Cat" Francis is credited with the creation of the goaltender’s gloves. Originally, goaltenders wore the same gloves as the forwards’ gauntlets. However, when Francis skated to the New York Rangers net in the 1943-44 season, using a first baseman’s baseball glove, he changed the game. Although the new equipment was immediately protested, NHL President Clarence Campbell gave official approval and the "catcher" or "trapper" was born. The glove would morph over the years, but the design today is very similar to the original glove. Francis can also take credit for introducing the "blocker." He taped an outer layer of sponge rubber to his stick hand gauntlet. This quickly evolved into a full leather glove padded with felt, sponge and eventually shatterproof plexiglass.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Golie Gloves

Golie Gloves

CHIN

© Hockey Hall of Fame


Many people think of Jacques Plante and his historic donning of a fibreglass facemask on November 1st, 1959 as the first time an NHL netminder wore a mask. However, history tells a different story. On January 7th, 1930, the legendary Howie Morenz fired a shot at the Montreal Maroons net and Clint Benedict took the full force of the shot in the face, breaking his nose and cheekbone. When Benedict returned to the Montreal net, he was sporting a makeshift mask. Primarily made of leather, it resembled a boxing face guard. The experiment only lasted two games; Benedict had great difficulty seeing around the thick nosepiece and he discarded it.

The famous story of the introduction of the mask to the NHL, however, belongs to Jacques Plante. Plante was already an established star in the NHL, a past winner of the league’s MVP and Top Goaltender award when he broke ranks and tradition by appearing in a NHL game wearing a mask. After he was cut by an Andy Bathgate shot, Plante defiantly announced he would not return to the ice unless coach "Toe" Blake allowed him to don his mask, which he had used in practices. Blake was unenthusiastic but without a back Read More
Many people think of Jacques Plante and his historic donning of a fibreglass facemask on November 1st, 1959 as the first time an NHL netminder wore a mask. However, history tells a different story. On January 7th, 1930, the legendary Howie Morenz fired a shot at the Montreal Maroons net and Clint Benedict took the full force of the shot in the face, breaking his nose and cheekbone. When Benedict returned to the Montreal net, he was sporting a makeshift mask. Primarily made of leather, it resembled a boxing face guard. The experiment only lasted two games; Benedict had great difficulty seeing around the thick nosepiece and he discarded it.

The famous story of the introduction of the mask to the NHL, however, belongs to Jacques Plante. Plante was already an established star in the NHL, a past winner of the league’s MVP and Top Goaltender award when he broke ranks and tradition by appearing in a NHL game wearing a mask. After he was cut by an Andy Bathgate shot, Plante defiantly announced he would not return to the ice unless coach "Toe" Blake allowed him to don his mask, which he had used in practices. Blake was unenthusiastic but without a back-up goaltender, he had little choice. Plante put on a mask he had made himself and returned to the Montreal nets where he led his club to victory. His story is historically remembered as the "first" because he continued to wear it.

The mask was met with great opposition, surprisingly from other netminders. Many thought wearing a mask meant the goalie was frightened. Others disliked the mask because they felt it was restrictive in terms of their field of sig ht, or that it was hot. However, a high-profile goalie like Plante introducing it certainly had some weight and eventually goalies around the league began wearing them.

The facial protection for goaltenders would continue to evolve. Once masks became common, the next step was decoration. Boston Bruin Gerry Cheevers started a trend when he decided to paint stitches on his mask each time he was struck in the face by a puck or an errant stick. The stitches represented every cut the mask spared him, but the mask soon filled with stitches and became a decorative design. The popularity of this mask touched off a chain reaction around the league and soon most goaltenders sported painted masks.

© 2001, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Painting the Mask

"Chico" Resch and Gerry Cheevers (on the left) began the trend of painting the mask, which added color and personality to the game. Also pictured, Gilles Meloche and Gary "the Cobra" Simmons.

CHIN

© London Life-Portnoy/Hockey Hall of Fame


The Evolution of Goalie Equipment

The evolution of goalie equipment: Lorne Chabot, Bill Durnan, Turk Broda, Jacques Plante, Johnny Bower, Ken Dryden, Grant Fuhr, Patrick Roy, Curtis Joseph.

CHIN

© Hockey Hall of Fame


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Investigate the role that hockey plays in Canada’s national identity
  • Explore the history of hockey in Canada
  • Investigate how the evolution of hockey equipment used by Canadian hockey players improved the quality and safety of the game.
  • Explore the evolution of the rules of hockey in Canada
  • Identify significant people involved in hockey in Canada
  • Identify historically significant arenas and rinks in Canada
  • Describe the involvement over time of Aboriginal peoples in hockey

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