In the break room on Saturday night, my colleagues and I were discussing goalie masks, and my friend Janz asked a very good question. Why do goalies wear that full cage? Wouldn’t it be easier to see and track the puck if they were wearing something made out of a transparent plastic?
At first we figured it was a safety issue (metal cages are stronger?) but then someone pointed out that they make bullet proof glass. Surely there is some substance in existence that is just as strong as a metal that wouldn’t be as much of an obstruction as the cage.
My friend Roman suggested that the maybe a solid, welder’s-type mask would make it too difficult to breath. I thought that was a good point, except that you could always leave the cage for everything below the nostrils while leaving the bullet proof glass over the eyes.
To demonstrate his point that the cage must make it difficult to see a puck, Janz held one finger about three inches away from his eye saying, “I can still SEE of course, but this is very annoying to see around.” I conducted his experiment, and had to agree. It’s more difficult to see when there is a solid object in front of your eye. For sure.
Janz did a little investigation yesterday on the interwebs, and he couldn’t find the answer to our question, but he DID somehow wind up watching the video of Clint Malarchuk’s gruesome injury as a result of his search. Janz is very traumatized now, and I’m scared to continue his research. I once accidentally saw a still photo of that accident, and I couldn’t sleep for a week. No WAY I’m typing “goalie safety equipment” into google.
I put in a call to Crunchy, but so far he hasn’t responded. Our investigation has hit a dead end.