Hockey gear overview
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Hockey! And more than that: goalie!
At the core of this trip is the challenge of playing ice hockey as a goalie in every state and province. The other parts of the adventure are trivial by comparison; how hard is it to drive a bunch and go hiking every once in a while? The goaltending complicates matters greatly.
There are two main factors to deal with. First, the size, and second, the smell.
Were it not for the goalie gear, I could probably do this trip in a sports car. Maybe even in a Lambo. Instead, I needed a car with some room. The Subaru Outback is perfect — not for no reason is it a popular choice for goalies.
Dealing with the smell is a matter of discipline and modern chemistry. I am not at all a fan of super-stinky hockey gear, and I’ve played enough games to know how bad it can get if not confronted. That’s why I always, always, always make sure to unpack my gear and set it out to dry after games. Then I give it a healthy dose of Febreze, which is a powerful antagonist to eau-de-goalie.
With that one-two punch, things come out smelling like roses. Or at least, not like death.
Of course, hockey bags are vented, and few things can entirely eliminate the smell, so I ended up not stowing the bag in the passenger cabin. Instead, it rides in a nifty cargo box attached to Sam’s receiver hitch.
The gear itself is a fairly standard setup.
- Bauer Supreme One80 Composite Stick
- Vaughn Velocity 7400 Leg Pads
- Vaughn Velocity V4 7600 Goalie Pants
- Hackva 2608 mask — carbon fiber and Kevlar!
- Vaughn Velocity Blocker
- Vaughn Velocity Catcher
- Vaughn Velocity V4 7600 Chest Protector
- Bauer Supreme skates
- Rbk goalie neck protector, plus Vaughn Lexan dangler
- Everything else: Reebok Premier 2 Pro Knee Protectors, Under Armour Heatgear shirt, Eagle goalie cup, Sham Sweatband, and so on.
Back when I started playing, I went with top-of-the-line, pro-spec everything. Those pads were durable, but the trade-offs were an agonizingly lengthy break-in period and decreased mobility. This time around, I went with lower-spec, lighter-weight gear. It boasts significantly improved mobility at the expense of slightly inferior protection. Even so, I don’t feel I’m putting myself at risk of injury. I just feel the puck more.