Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Goalies make mandatory switch to new pants, and some aren’t happy about it

San Jose Sharks v Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 07: Goaltender Mike Smith #41 of the Arizona Coyotes during the preseason NHL game against San Jose Sharks at Gila River Arena on October 7, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 3-1 (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Today is the day NHL goalies must switch over to the new streamlined pants. As you can imagine, some in the fraternity are not happy about the move.

A number of goalies have spoken on the subject. Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith has let his objections be known, as has Chicago’s back-up Scott Darling.

The obvious objections include the timing of the implementation of this new equipment, to safety concerns of wearing thinner pads. Streamlining the goalie equipment is a decision designed to help increase scoring around the league.

“We’re pretty much being punished for getting better at our position,” said Darling, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “While the forwards get better and stronger equipment and better sticks, they’re taking away protection from goalies. There’s nothing we can do about it. You’ve just got to deal with it and adjust and get used to it and then try and stay safe.”

By contrast, Sergei Bobrovsky of Columbus recently said he feels “comfortable” with the new pads, so there are varying opinions on the subject.

The mandatory change date comes with just over two months remaining in the regular season. Smith has certainly been vocal about a mid-season change, calling it “crazy,” especially for the goalie position.

But violation of the rule can be costly -- not just for the goalie.

From, which quoted Kay Whitmore, senior director of hockey operations and goaltender equipment:

Whitmore said the League originally intended to implement the change prior to the start of the season, but there were safety concerns with the new pants that had to be addressed with the manufacturing companies, causing a delay. Nearly a quarter of the League’s goalies already are wearing the new pants.

“We addressed the safety concerns and felt it was the right decision to implement as soon as possible, regardless of the fact that it was midway through the year,” Whitmore said.