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Blockers are traditionally made with few parts, and that factor hasn’t changed. However, one change they have made over the years is the foams used for protection.
Blockers come in four different sizes, same as catch gloves.
Youth: 5-6 y/o
Junior: 7-9 y/o
Intermediate: 10-13 y/o
Senior: 13- Adult
1. Blocker Board - The blocker board is the main visual part of the blocker. This is where the visible design and pattern are. It is constructed with multiple layers of foam, either glued or stitched together. Sometimes there is a ramp on the board to help deflect pucks more efficiently.
There are multiple positions that a board can fit on the glove. The the higher the board rests, the more coverage there is between the board and arm floaters. It is also easier to get the board to seal with the ice because it can go down at an easier angle. The drawback to this position is less control of the board. This shifts the center of balance from right above the backhand to slightly under the wrist.
The traditional position sits right above the backhand and makes it easy for the goaltender to quickly move the blocker into position for saves. It also gives better stick control because there is no off-center weight to throw off the positioning.
Board sizes are standardized by the NHL at 8” in width and 15” in length, including the bindings. The board is not to have raised ridges and must be rectangular in shape. (NHL 11.7)
2. Side-hand protection - Side-hand protection has become more extensive in modern blockers. Instead of a single foam side-board, the protection has been turned into an additional blocking surface. These new boards feature multiple layers of high density foam for protection. The side-board is made rigid by the way it is attached to the front board and glove.
This blocking surface is used primarily when the goalie is in the butterfly, when the blocker is turned to the side and pulled to the body. The side-board with the blocking rib allows for a new blocking surface that can safely be utilized to block pucks.
3. Blocking rib - The blocking rib is a new modernization of the goalie blocker. This rib increases the rigidity of the side-board. With this blocking rib, the side-board is a reliable blocking surface. This is best utilized as described above, with the blocker pulled to the body and turned sideways.
4. Glove - The glove is the portion of the blocker that the hand fits into. This is the area with the most wear of the blocker. There are different types of palms that can be used in blockers, featuring extra grip fabric and leather.
5. Finger Protection - Finger protection has been vastly improved in top of the line blockers. Finger protection is located at the tip of the finger stalls. It is constructed from high density foams and attaches from the front board to the glove. This protection helps in two situations. The first is when pucks are deflected off the stick and roll up into the fingers. The second situation is when covering the puck, which protects the hand from sticks. The thumb protections must not exceed 7” inches in length.
If you’ve ever used a blocker with no, or little finger protection, you will understand how important it is to have. Taking a puck off the fingers can be game changing, as you won’t be able to grip your stick properly.
6. Cuff - The blocker cuff is on the underside of the glove. This is where the hand enters the blocking glove. This cuff protects the bottom of the wrist from contacting the ice. Most often the cuff is made extra wide to allow the arm floaters to fit into the glove. This creates a more complete seal with the board and floaters to maximize protection and coverage.
You want to use the wide portions of the floaters and the blocker together to create a larger blocking area.
7. Adjustable strap - The adjustable strap of a blocker runs under the cuff and tightens around the wrist and lower palm. This forces the hand to the board, giving better balance and control of the glove. Due to the combined weight of blocker and stick it is important to have good control of the glove.
Listed above are the working parts of the blocker, which are used to defend the goal, and more importantly protect you. Some blockers, namely the Warrior G2 Linecome with removable gloves that allow the glove to better dry, and change board positioning more easily.
Now that you know what a blocker is, and what it’s made of, it is time to learn how to fit your blocker properly.