Look around the rink anytime and you are bound to see kids of all ages wearing leg pads that are too large. Below is an article from Mike Vaughn with his thoughts on pad size,the myth larger pads are better and potential problems for goalies with pads too large. Original article found on Vaughn’s website (www.vaughnhockey.com).
Virtually every day we receive a question asking what size of pad should a goaltender wear. Even though there is a mathematical guide for fitting a goal pad, it is still a very personal decision as what a goaltenders likes plays an important part in any equipment decision.
Many of the popular trends are based on misconceptions and lack of proper information. The trend is for goaltenders to wear larger pads with large thigh rise areas. This trend is further promoted by what we all see many professional goaltenders wearing. The physical size of most professional goaltenders these days does dictate that they wear pads this large but this will not work well for most goaltenders. The fact is pads that are too large, especially in the thigh rise area, can cause many problems. Pads that are too tall interfere with skating. Also, while in a basic stance the tops of the pads hit together and cause the five hole to close slower. When going down to the ice, if the tops of the pads touch too soon, it pushes the knees farther apart causing stress to the groin area, thus making if more difficult to balance on the edges of the pads. On top of these facts, pads that are too large simply cause a goaltender to have to move more weight and mass causing slower reaction times. Several pro goaltenders have had nagging groin injuries and it is easy to relate this to wearing oversized goal pads. These types of problems are even more pronounced for a goaltender that is smaller.
Why then have companies promoted pads with extremely tall thigh rise areas? Most pads made today have two base sizes, a 33″ and down and a 34″ and up. It then becomes a simple matter of adding to or taking away from the thigh area of a pad to make the size bigger or smaller. It is simply the least expensive way to deal with pad sizing as little cost is involved in tooling, testing and engineering. The best performance is going to come from products that fit the best. All Vaughn pads are made on a progressive scale created from actual anatomical measurements to provide the best fit for a person wearing a given size. At times it will still be necessary to have pads custom sized for a goaltender based on their leg measurements, as not all people are the same. A goal pad can even be slightly big with no detriment to performance if that is to a goaltender’s liking, but the idea of wearing pads overly extra large is not in the best interest of a goaltender’s performance but only a myth. The best performance from any product will always be found in equipment that is properly fit.