A collection of Washed Up Goalie's masks through his career

Product Review: Bauer NME8 Goalie Mask

I’ve been playing hockey for over 25 years. Looking back I have worn a helmet that fits properly for maybe 3 of those years. That is until I used a gift card I got for Christmas and bought a brand new Bauer NME8 mask.

A little history

My first helmet in Squirts was a Jofa 280 with a Jofa 51-270 cage. For a dangler I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, and used a clear visor. Somehow it worked. The helmet was huge on me. I didn’t have to unbuckle it to put it on, and is still a little large on me today.

My parents realized pretty quickly that the Jofa bucket was too big, and for PeeWees I wore a classic Bauer 4500 helmet with a Cooper HM50 cage. The helmet was snug, fit great. I wasn’t staring at any bars. I wore this helmet till late into Bantams when I got a Promasque. This was my first real goalie mask. The guy at the pro shop, the now defunct Hockey Unlimited on Chicago’s South Side, was a huge advocate of these masks. He loved the air bladder because it allowed for a custom fit, but also added more cushion when hit in the head. This Promasque had a hinged back, and was quite comfortable, but was a bit wide for my narrow face, and bounced around when I shook my head. The way it sat on my head, on of the horizontal bars  was right in my sight line, and probably could have been fixed with some strap adjustments.

I wore that Promasque until midway through my junior year of high school when I bought an Eddy GT mask. I really liked this mask, and it was narrower on my head, but still too big, moving around when I shook my head. It even popped off my head from a slap shot once. Properly fitting masks don’t pop off your head from slap shots. The horizontal bar was also obstructing my view. I again bought this mask at Hockey Unlimited.

This Eddy mask was a workhorse for me, but was only replaced after suffering a sever concussion my freshman year of college. I was run by an opposing player, taking quite the hit. While recovering from my concussion, I chose to make another helmet change, this time going with Cooper SK2000 with a Cooper HM30 cage – the Hasek helmet. I made the change because I felt I wanted something that would protect me like a player, rather than a goalie as I saw being run a bigger danger than shots to the head. I loved the Hasek helmet. It was light, I had great visibility and mobility, and my sight lines were not obstructed. My parents and coaches urged me to go back to a traditional mask after suffering a mild concussion late in the season off a shot in practice.

My last mask before buying the Bauer NME8 was a Heaton mask. I’m not sure of the model. I bought the mask online without trying one on at a local store (because there weren’t any where I went to college). I can not stress enough that you should try equipment on at a local pro shop before ordering online to ensure you are ordering properly fitting equipment. I wore this mask for close to 20 years, but it was too big for me. It was constantly moving around on my head despite tightening straps, and the horizontal bar obstructed my view.

Bauer NME8 review

My son gave me a gift card to Pure Hockey for Christmas. We’ll ignore the fact that he used my money to get the gift card – it’s the thought that counts. I put that card towards replacing my almost 20 year old mask. I went online to do some homework first because I wanted a mask that would help minimize the chance of sustaining another concussion. I looked at all masks.

One of the things I really likes about the NME8 was the fact it has 3M cushioning tapes embedded in high impact zones. To most this is a so what, but I was working at 3M when I bought my mask, and knew all about the tapes, commonly used in cars to protect sensitive electronics. I understand the science behind them, and believe in their ability. I also liked the Vinyl Nitrile foam with comfort padding on the inside. Simply put, it was more comfortable than other paddings when I tried it on. Another positive of the padding is it comes out easily for cleaning.

I went to the Bauer Own The Moment store in Bloomington, MN, to try the different fits on. This is the first mask I have that fits properly, because the only helmets I’ve worn that fit properly were combos. I love the snugness of the mask, and love the cat eye cage. I’ve wanted one since I was in high school, but rules at the time didn’t allow it in high school or NCAA play. After college I considered getting a cat eye cage for my Heaton mask, but never did.

I’ve taken a few shots to the head, and have had a player run into me (by accident), and have been impressed by the mask. I didn’t have any ringing in the ears, the mask didn’t move around on my head and more importantly – no fogginess in the head.

This is a comfortable mask that offers, in my opinion,  unparalleled protection for the price. It’s a great mask for a washed up beer leaguer like myself.

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