Best Goalie Neck Guards + Throat Protectors

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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 of quick questions to help clarify the difference between throat protectors and neck guards for hockey goalies. If you want to jump ahead to the best neck guards, click here!

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 string. 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 a 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 best goalie neck guards on the market. 

Highest Rated Goalie Neck Guards 2023

When it comes to using a neck guard, goalies want three things. First, overall protection. Second, overall comfort. Third, how intrusive is the neck guard? If the neck guard is bulky, bottom line is that it just will not get worn. When we reviewed the neck guards for this piece, these are the things we rated each product on.

Neck guard rating system for goalies:

  • Overall Protection – how protective is the neck guard? Is it Pro Level, or entry level?
  • Comfort – how comfortable is the product? The most popular neck guards are by default also the most comfortable.
  • Intrusiveness – is the neck guard bulky? If it negatively affects movement, it will not get used.
  • Total Score – adding each of the three rating categories up, we came up with a final score to determine what actually is the best neck guard on the market.
ProductOverall ProtectionComfortIntrusivenessTotal
Warrior X3 Pro Neck Guard10/109/1010/1029/30
Bauer Pro Neck Guard8/109/1010/1028/30

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.

Warrior X3 Pro Neck Guard

Without question, the single best neck guard for goalies is the Warrior X3 Pro neck guard. This neck guard fits similar to the older, Maltese style of neck guards, and it comes in two different models.

The model we prefer and recommend is the Warrior X3 Pro. If you’re looking for a cheaper version, the Warrior X3 base model is 1/3 of the price.

Here’s the thing about neck guards. Not every goalie wears them. Most are intrusive and not comfortable.

Bauer Pro Neck Guard

Bauer Pro Neck Guard

The Bauer Pro Neck Guard scored at 28/30 in our final neck guard rankings this year, just one point behind the Warrior X3.

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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.

Check the price of the CCM BNQ Shirt at Pure Goalie.

Check the price of it at Goalie Monkey.

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 was underpromised 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. 

Best Goalie Throat Protectors

Throat protectors are similar to kneck guards in the fact that they are designed to protect your neck, but a throat protector hangs in front of your helmet.