No Red Lights: Hockey: Intermediate Vs. Senior Goalie Pads - Goalie News And Instruction By Roxanne Gaudiel

Intermediate Vs. Senior Goalie Pads

A recent question was brought to me the other day and given the tightening family budget, the increasing costs of goalie equipment and the construction of pads today, I think it is a very timely and pointed question:

Can my son use intermediate pads over senior pads?

There are many reasons to go for the intermediate pads. 
1) They are cost effective. Intermediate pads typically costs $200-$300 cheaper than senior pads.

2) They are 11" in width. After the 2005 lockout, the NHL decreased the width of pads to 11" from 12". A great move in my opinion as pads were not only becoming increasingly bigger, but also when pads are water soaked and more warn in, they tend to swell. I was also a very big proponent of the smaller pads when I was growing up.  I had a pair of John Brown Excel's... and I loved them!  They were intermediate pads, 29" and completely made of foam.  I could fly in them!  I was actually faster than some of the players during the skating drills.  That maneuverability increased my foot speed tremendously, so any size I was lacking, I had to make up in positioning and in quickness.

But despite the attraction of the smaller intermediate pads - there are still the negatives.
1) Inside knee protection - This is by far the most important area of protection for any goalie.  Goalies are rarely hurt from pucks hitting the face of the pad (no matter what the size or level of the pad), but any injuries to the knee are both painful and resonate within the goalies' psyche.   If anyone has ever been hit directly in the knee from a slapshot, you know what I'm talking about.

And injuries do not necessarily have to come from the puck. Bruising the inside of the knee because your knee cradle is inadequate is equally as damaging.  When the pads move out of place or are not big enough, the goalie can bruise their knee just by going down into a butterfly and hitting the ice. When repeatedly going down on a bruised knee, the goalie may begin to hesitate and even second-guess going down because they remember the pain they will feel. This is the absolute worst part about intermediate level pads -- they just aren't designed with as much inner-knee protection as senior pads.

While pad construction for youth goalie pads has improved dramatically from when I began (yes - I began with the yellow Cooper-All pads and the two piece shoulder pads!), many of the lower-end pads still have inadequate knee protection. Other avenues are available to solve this problem (i.e. knee pads), but those can be covered in another post.

Hope this is helpful!!

Yours in Goaltending,