As a hockey goalie, protecting your neck and throat is one of the most important things you’ll do. Yet, it’s one of the most common areas that we see goalies skip on both.
Before we jump into the meat and potatoes of this article, I want to answer a couple quick questions to help clarify the difference between throat protectors and neck guards for hockey goalies.
Do hockey goalies have to wear neck guards?
No. Goalies do not have to wear neck guards, nor do they have to wear plastic throat protectors. In fact, at the NHL level, many do not wear either.
Do NHL goalies wear neck guards?
More NHL goalies wear neck guards than not, yes. With that being said, however, NHL goalies change their gear so frequently that it’s hard to identify a specific number of professional goalies that wear neck guards.
What’s the difference between neck guards for goalies and throat protectors?
Throat protectors, often incorrectly referred to as neck protectors, are built of plastic like material called Lexan. Lexan is a high impact plastic designed to withstand the impact of a hockey puck, up to the NHL level. Neck guards are built of high density foam, or a combination of high density foams. Goalie neck guards are often called clavicle protectors as they cover both the neck and clavicle area.
How do you put a neck guard on a goalie mask?
While the plastic shield on a goalie mask is often referred to as a neck guard, it’s actually called a throat protector. A throat protector is attached using three pieces of sting. To attach this to your helmet the most effectively, start by tying the middle of the throat protector to the bottom of your wire cage. Then, with the entire helmet and shield laying flat on a table, attach a piece of each string to the right and left sides of the cage and plastic throat protector.
In this article, we’re going to cover two different pieces of equipment. Both fundamentally do the same thing, but are very different in their construction.
If you’re not here for neck guards, often referred to as clavicle protectors, you’re looking for goalie throat protectors. We’ll cover those as we move along down this article.
First off, neck guards.
Here are the top goalie neck guards on the market.
- CCM BNQ Shirt / No Shirt Style Neck Guard
- Maltese Neck Guard
Best Goalie Neck Guards on the Market
As of June 2018, Maltese is no longer making neck guards. Yes, we still cover them in this article. The reason for that is this, if you’re covering goalies and not mentioning Maltese, you cannot be taken seriously as actually understanding the products that goalies want in their bag.
To date, a large number of the professional goalies we train still use the Maltese neck guard. With that being said, there are products that compare to the Maltese on the market today. We’re actively testing several, and will update this article with up to date comparisons when we have enough data compiled.
CCM BNQ Shirt / No Shirt Style Neck Guard
This is one of our most recommended neck guards for goalies — but it comes with a caveat. It’s also a shirt. So, if you’re a goalie who values minimal clothing on under your gear, I would stay away.
The CCM BNQ comes in both a shirt and a standalone neck guard unit. See our photo of just the neck guard below.
Option number one the CCM BNQ Shirt senior and youth sizing. Available at both Pure Goalie and Goalie Monkey.
Option number two the CCM BNQ Neck Guard, in junior sizing. Available at both Pure Goalie and at Goalie Monkey.
The reason we list this as our number one most recommended neck guard for goalies is simply because of it’s versatility. It’s not often that you find a high quality product built for youth goalies AND higher level goalies with the only difference being size.
For youth goalies, a shirt style neck guard helps keep the protective equipment centered and in the right place. For those of you reading who are playing in your teens and beyond, the shirt simply offers more consistent protection.
We tested this neck guard extensively during the summer of 2020.
CCM BNQ Shirt Style Neck Guard Review. Wash this shirt a bunch. The biggest advantage of this system is that it’s a shirt. The biggest downside is that, it’s a shirt. If you’re not planning on keeping up on maintaining this neck protection system, don’t bother. The material of the shirt is mesh and with repeated use without proper care, it becomes crusty and VERY uncomfortable.
Maltese Neck Guard
Up until they went out of business, the Maltese Neck Guard was bar none the single best piece of neck protection on the market. Maltese used a unique foam that was used and LOVED by goalies up to the NHL level. The brand had a near cult like following for good reason, the product under promised and over delivered.
Seriously, if you owned a Maltese, you’re most likely not looking to buy a different neck guard. Unless, on the off chance you wore that neck guard out.
Enough about neck guards, let’s transition into the throat protectors.
Here are the best goalie throat protectors available to the public.