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The hockey goalie blocker serves as the protective companion gear to a catch glove. Essentially an oversized foam pad attached to a glove, the blocker allows the goalie to hold a stick while deflecting shots. A goalie’s blocker needs to provide total hand protection while facilitating easy stick handling. A bulky blocker gets in the way, while a skimpy one exposes the goalie to injury. Because the blocker affects stick placement, control over rebounds, balance, and movement in the goalie stance, it’s important to have a blocker that fits as it should—especially with the demand these days on goalies to both shoot and pass.
If you are a brand new goalie, the first step in fitting a goalie blocker is to identify which hand you use to hold your stick. If you hold your stick with your right hand, you wear a regular blocker. Goalies who hold the stick in their left hand use a full right blocker.
Blockers come in four sizes: youth, junior, intermediate, and senior. Purchase your goalie blocker based on the fit of your hand to the palm of the glove. To find your size, measure your hand from the heel of the palm to the tip of the middle finger, and then consult the chart below. Note that the size of the blocker board correlates to the size of the palm. For example, if your palm measurement indicates you need a junior size, then you’ll get a junior sized glove and blocker board.
When your goalie blocker fits properly, you’ll be able to keep a good grip on the stick paddle and maneuver the stick effectively. When fitting your hand to the palm of the blocker glove, we recommend no more than ¼ inch between the tip of the goalie’s finger and the top of the finger stalls. Any more room will prevent you from gripping and controlling the stick properly, and will cause the blocker to tilt or wobble. When choosing a blocker, the following attributes determine the glove that best fits your game.
Blockers vary in the amount of finger protection they provide, so make sure the glove you choose provides enough padding for you. Your index finger is the most vulnerable since it points straight down the paddle, where it is more exposed to shots, while the other fingers are locked around the shaft. When you try on a blocker, be aware of the amount of finger protection the glove offers.
Side hand protection:
While in the butterfly position, the blocker is often angled to deflect pucks to the corner, thus leaving your wrist open to hits. Look for a blocker with an inner padded side deflector. This feature protects the inside of the wrist and creates an additional blocking surface.
Goalie blockers include a curve at the top of the blocker that helps deflect pucks forward or upward, rather than backwards into the goal. The degree of this curve varies slightly to suit individual preferences. Some goalies like larger curves as opposed to smaller ones. Pay attention to the curve design to ensure you’re getting the one that complements your playing style.
Blocker Board Position:
Blockers come with the blocker board placed in one of two positions in relation to the back of the hand. Goalies prefer one position over the other because of the way it works with their stance and style of play.
For the most accurate and protective fit, try on your blocker with your goalie stick and chest and arm protector. Different palms, as well as a blocker’s inside wrist and finger protections, will affect how you hold your stick. Using a stick when fitting your blocker will help narrow the choices to only those that fit best in the hand. Similarly, the blocker board position and glove cuff affect how the glove works with the goalie's chest and arm protector. In a proper fit, the cuff of the blocker glove extends one to two inches over the bottom of the arm protection.
Typically, blockers come in two types: a block-styled board that is the same thickness front to back, and a beveled-styled board that has a slimmer surface across the back of the hand. Beveled styles tend to be lighter. But manufacturers use different layers of foam to affect puck rebound, which may also affect weight regardless of the board style. If you prefer the puck to rocket off the board toward the corners, choose a harder blocker. Goalies who want the puck closer should choose a blocker with a softer board.
The life of your blocker depends on how much you play, how well you take care of your equipment, and the quality of the materials. The force of shots you face also affects how quickly your blocker wears down. Sweat and stick tape deteriorate materials faster, so these factors contribute to how long your blocker lasts as well.
Are you in the market for a new hockey goalie blocker? Shop our full selection of hockey goalie blockers online, or if you’re still unsure which one might be right for you, visit a Pure Hockey store near you
If you’re shopping for other gear, check out our other hockey goalie equipment buying & fitting guides fand purchase with confidence.