As we learn more about head injuries and contact sports, the process of choosing the proper hockey helmet becomes more and more important. While the technical engineering of hockey helmets continues to advance, the bottom line is it’s not a “one size fits all” concept. There is more to purchasing the proper helmet than the “nuts and bolts”. At Sports Etc. we like to highlight a few important pieces to focus on when fitting a hockey helmet. Most notably- proper fit, protection level and life span.
Proper Fit: A proper fitting helmet should fit snugly on the player’s head. Any sign of a helmet rattling around, or fitting too loosely can be a major issue. Hockey players can take a variety of impacts, and a helmet that does not sit tightly on the head can lead to a variety of dangerous scenarios. Mainly, the helmet being dislodged from the player completely.
One of the commonly overlooked aspects of fitting a helmet, is how the cage fits onto the helmet itself. Many helmets are sold in “combo” form, with a cage already attached, but it is important to know that sometimes cage size and helmet size are not always consistent with each other. That is why we recommend buying the cage and helmet separately, to ensure the absolute best fit. The cage should sit right on the player’s chin, and should be firmly locked into the “J-Clips” on the side of the helmet. This ensures that the cage will not be driven into the players chin upon impact- which is a common factor in concussions.
Protection Level: Hockey hits come in all types, sizes and intensities. Often times, it is not necessarily the biggest hit on the ice that causes injury, but the most “awkward” hits. Different types of protection levels are essential in preventing concussions. Most helmets on the market help to protect against linear or direct impacts to the head. The difference between the cheaper and more expensive helmets though, is the quality of the foam used within the helmet. The best type of foam to look for is layered EPP or Poron. Most helmets in the $120+ range contain these materials. Low-end helmets often contain one layer of standard VN foam, which loses protective capability over time as it hardens.
The one aspect that differentiates the BEST helmets, from the lower-end helmets, is a helmets protection level against rotational impacts. Most helmets can withstand a linear or direct impact, and can sufficiently protect the player, but the rotational impacts typically have a more devastating impact on a players head. There are helmets on the market that take this into account- most notably the Bauer Re-Akt helmet. These technologies help the head move independent of the helmet, so the awkward angle impacts, which cause the head to snap around with the helmet are mitigated.
Life Span: Another critical and overlooked area in preventing concussions, is paying attention to the “life span” of a helmet. Routinely, a player can wear the same size helmet for years and years. A lot of times, a youth hockey player can stay in that same size helmet until adulthood. Just like anything that gets worn down over time, a completely. The important piece to look at, is the foam within the helmet. The foam is designed to take repeated impacts, but over time as the impacts increase, and sweat is absorbed and dried out into the material- the foam hardens. As the player takes an impact, this hardened foam is driving into the head, which can cause major head trauma. At Sports Etc. we suggest changing out your helmet every 3 years. hockey helmet needs to be re-examined and at times replaced
Check out more information on 2 of the newest, next generation helmets available now!
The major highlights of the Bauer Re-Akt 200 helmet include:
- Suspend-Tech NG: liner system with textured XRD Foam. This allows the liner to move independently from the inner foam of the helmet to manage all types of hockey impacts.
- FIT PLATE: This is a customizable occipital lock with recovery alloy technology that allows for a truly custom fit with added comfort around the back of the head. Heat formable.
- VTX Technology: The exceptionally lightweight foam absorbs high and low energy impacts. The integrated XRD and VTX foams create some of the most innovative and comfortable helmet padding to date.
Sports Etc Performance To Value Rating- 9 out of 10. One of the most protective helmets on the market. Innovative technology, which combines protection against rotational and direct impacts with high density foams, and the suspend-tech liner. Extremely comfortable fit, with a very secure fit around the back of the head.
Bauer IMS 7 Hockey Helmet
The New Bauer IMS 7 hockey helmets combines the assets of 2 of hockey’s most innovative helmet makers. Utilizing and improving the proven Seven technology so popular in the M11 “Messier” helmet along with the know-how that’s made Bauer the #1 manufacturer of hockey helmets, the Bauer IMS 7 helmet provides a comfortable, protective, reasonably priced choice for players at any level