So as a caveat to today’s pick up game that Liz wrote about in the other post from today, I got the chance to test the new Bauer VTX goalie mask. When I say test, I really mean I bought it, and this is what I found after using it a few times.
I purchased a new mask, because the previous mask had started to deteriorate. I had had a Wall W-8 in size large. After a previous pick-up game I had set it to dry in its usual place. When I picked it up 2 days later the foams and sweatband were still soaked with sweat. I tried to pull off the sweatband but not only the band come out but, so did the velcro that holds the band in, and the VN foam came off the mask. I began to pry around the mask and more of the foam began to peel off the mask shell. Even the back plate foams began to separate. So after some careful deliberation and discussion I decided to get a new mask.
Now I can already hear some goalies, saying just replace the foam. I had considered that, but given that my arts and crafts skills aren’t great I didn’t want to risk messing up my mask further.
I went to the local Goalie Monkey, and decided to try both the Bauer Profile and NME VTX masks. I ended up going with the VTX because it fit better than the Profile mask, and I was really impressed with the protective foams and light weight.
The mask comes in 3 fits similar to the last lines of the NME masks. I fit the “fit 3” mask, which I think is essentially a large mask.
Testing: Once I got the mask home I fitted it correctly and attached the dangler. Since then I’ve used the mask twice so far, once in a lesson and today during the game.
In the lesson I was able to get adjusted to the mask and overall it was an improvement over the Wall mask. The VTX felt much more form fitting while offering awesome protection. The lesson went well, and I didn’t notice the mask at all which is what you want. Having never used a Bauer mask before I really enjoyed it, and noticed that the sight lines were an improvement over the Wall Mask.
The pick-up game today is where things got a little interesting. During the game I took two pucks to the mask, all while I was standing. One was a wrister from the bottom of the circle which hit off the chin, and probably got some of the dangler as well. The second was a wrister from the top of the slot which hit me square between the eyes. A final shot hit me in the throat/ collar bone but, I don’t think it really has any bearing on the safety of the helmet. Overall no damage or injury was sustained from the shots to the mask. It held up well without a mark, dent, or ding to the cage or shell. That being said I should insert a disclaimer that while I think this is a good helmet, nothing can truly prevent a concussion.
Overall, I think the VTX is a solid mask and I think it was definitely worth the investment. Are there other masks that are just as good, if not better? I’m sure there might be but I’m really happy with the quality of this mask so far.