When it comes to protecting a goalie, arguably the most important piece of protective equipment is the jock.
Related: finding the right youth goalie jock
Finding the best goalie jock can be a bit tricky, however, depending on your style / level of play.
Overall, in coming up with the overall best goalie nut cup — to truly test the jock you’d have to sit in front of a pretty hard slap shot and I’m just not willing to do that. So, with that in mind, like injury recovery the best form of rehab is prehab. Do your research before purchasing a jock and buy something that tends to be a bit more on the protective side and you’ll be just fine.
In order to set the tone for this article, I present to you a photo of Brian Elliot’s busted up piece. Do we have your attention?
— Brian Elliott (@KidElls1) November 21, 2014
So, how do I find the best hockey goalie cup?
During your search, keep a couple of things in mind.
First, mobility. When it comes to protecting this critical area, the more protection you opt for, in theory the less mobility you’ll have.
Though, that wasn’t necessarily the case with the Warrior Ritual X Pro cup I tried. In years past, and even still, going for more protection down there can lead to a little less mobility.
Second, yet one of the most important factors in finding the most protective jock that will fit your level of play and playing style is fit. In the case of goalie helmets (and most other pieces of goalie equipment), I’ll take lower quality equipment over expensive gear that doesn’t fit right 10 times out of 10.
Quick note on the above comment, I won’t wear Jim Craig’s 1980 leg pads just because they fit well. Within reason, well fitting equipment will outperform great equipment that doesn’t fit at all.
Double Cup Protection: the best kind of hockey goalie jock
It goes without saying that two is generally always going to be better than one.
Many NHL goalies wear double cups, actually, without an official poll I’d be willing to bet that all NHL goalies wear double cups. You can’t tell me you’d sit in front of a Shea Weber slapper wearing one thin shield down there. Some NHL goalies (Dubnyk) actually wear three cups.
Now, not everything the pros have is available to the public. For the cups here, we’re going off of readers and personal opinion, so please make your own full judgement before purchasing.
#1: The Warrior Ritual X Pro
Without a doubt, the Warrior Ritual X Pro goalie jock is one of the very best available to the general public.
This system is not only incredibly protective, it’s equally as comfortable (Out of the package this jock looks like a cooking pan, it’s huge).
Available at Goalie Monkey, an added bonus of this system is the capability to add your own cup inside. Some users have added a custom kevlar cup for bonus points (I haven’t, just kept the stock unit).
#2: Vaughn Ventus SLR Pro Carbon System
I’ll undoubtedly take flack for ranking this jock system as number two on this list, but the truth is I haven’t used the cup. When I mentioned earlier that in order to truly test the cup against a shot, I’m not interested in sitting in front of pucks on purpose.
The two biggest pros of this system are A) the true double cup setup and B) the unit claims to offer a thicker molded main cup for bonus protection. Anything helps.
The largest difference between the Warrior unit and the Vaughn is going to be frontal protection. On the Warrior, the molded foam over the front of the entire system offers bonus coverage on those shots and don’t directly hit the cup area. Personally, I think this is a great benefit as I go with a “tuck” style on my chest protector and this area can get a bit open.
#3: Brian’s GNETIK Cup
Hard to get your hands on (at the time of writing, this cup was out of stock everywhere I checked), the Brian’s Double Cup would be the base model of any double cup on the market.
Known for the actual goalie pads themselves, Brian’s doesn’t put a ton into things like cups and sticks. With that being said, this jock still offers a double cup setup for those who play more confidently with two cups vs. one.
As with all goalie jocks, the B-Star GNETIK cup does offer an adjustable waistband. Personally, I’d like to see a little more protection around the sides and above the cup, but to be fair goalies have gotten away with systems like this for years. I would be willing to be that the majority of NHL goalies actually wear a setup similar to this with a beefed up (kevlar, or something similar) interior cup.
Cheaper, budget cups for the mens league goalie
Now, take this with a grain of salt. If you’re playing 55+ senior league, chances are you’re not out buying the most expensive cup on the market.
Use your own judgement here, as it’s not everyday you’ll wear a shot down there (knock on wood), but many goalies get away with a cheaper, single cup for their entire career. With that same thing being said, it only takes one to go out and buy the Sherman Tank of goalie jocks.
Personally, I really like the Supreme / Vapor line from Bauer. I’ve used their Reactor cup for a number of years (before upgrading to the Warrior unit) with great success. They’re comfortable and they get the job done. Plus, these jocks tend to be around $50 or so cheaper than double cup setups.
#1: Bauer’s Supreme Cup
The Bauer Supreme Cup is a slight upgrade from the base model cups they’ve offered in the past. This cup still offers excellent protection for the recreational goalie. As I mentioned above, I’ve personally used the Reactor / Supreme / Vapor series of cup for awhile and I loved the fit.
This cup is incredibly comfortable, doesn’t shift around and holds it’s place quite well. A great bonus is the added protection above the cup, which fits quite well when used with the chest protector “tuck” system.
You can buy a Vapor / Reactor or a Supreme and the cup is essentially, if not exactly, the same thing.
#2: CCM 500 Series
With nearly all of the same features (it’s a jock, what more do you need, right?) as the Bauer line of base model single cup setups, the CCM 500 Series is a molded cup system that allows the goalie to interchange the cup with something of their choice (or, add a second, smaller cup).
Actually, I do know of a few goalies currently playing at a high level of junior / college who wear this jock. I haven’t dived into the details of whether or not they’re using a kevlar cup inside, or some other type of protection — but if it works for them it should work for you.
Ultimately, finding the best goalie jock comes down to your level of play
Spending time worrying about a hard shot where it counts will only negatively affect your play between the pipes.
Find a cup that suits your level of play (mainly, the level of shot) and go with it without worrying about it.
If a shot happens and it hurts, which, it’s going to hurt — upgrade. Focusing on injury will only increase your odds and decrease your level of play, it’s just not worth it.