Pure Goalie sat down and went one-on-one with Ron Slater — owner of Slater Lettering and Graphics. Ron is most notably known in the Boston area as the guy who painted Tuukka Rask’s mask. The custom paint job and intricate design continues to rank as one of the best goalie masks in the NHL today, but this was definitely not Ron’s first famous NHL paint job.
For the past few weeks we have taken you for an in-depth look at the different kinds of goalie gear out there in the NHL. We covered the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions which are both rich NHL history and have provided us with some of the most legendary and memorable names the grace the light blue paint.
The Western Conference though, is aptly named. This is not only because of the obvious geographical reference, but because the two divisions seem like the Wild, Wild West compared to the Eastern Conference. Whereas the Eastern Conference is full of storied franchises and long history, the Western Conference is populated with expansion teams and relatively young franchises in new markets. Don’t take that to mean you won’t find all-star talent between the pipes in the West though, as the Central Division features last year’s runner-up for the Vezina trophy, as well as one of this year’s favorites to bring home the hardware.
In last week’s blog, we covered the Atlantic Division and we praised all of the recent Vezina winners that the division has produced—being home of five out of the last seven winners. When we take another step back to look at the Vezina history, the Eastern Conference, as a whole, has dominated the Vezina Trophy voting. Nineteen out of the last 20 Vezina Trophy winners have come from Eastern Conference teams! Yes, that is a real fact. The Metropolitan Division itself has had its fair share of legendary goaltenders. Marty Broduer, Olaf Kolzig, Mike Richter, Ron Hextall, and Billy Smith are all NHL icons who thrived in what is now the Metropolitan Division.
If you love hockey, hockey gear, and the NHL as much as we do at Pure Goalie, you are always conscious of the gear that the pros are wearing out there. For the next few weeks we are going to be bringing you all sorts of information on what the NHL’s goaltenders, both starters and backups, are wearing. We will break it down to percentages, going division-by-division. We will also take a look at potential reasons for why some of these goalies prefer the equipment that they choose to wear, whether it be Brian’s, Vaughn, CCM, Reebok, Bauer, or even…Koho?
As a goalie, getting your skates sharpened is something that is very personal and your preferences play a main role. That said, in trying to determine the standard goalie cut, we’ve decided that there really isn’t one.
Goalie skates are specifically designed with the position in mind. There is a protective plastic cowling that is closer to the ice than a player’s holder, a lack of tendon guard and a flatter piece of steel that is usually (not always) thicker than the steel on a player skate.
I have personally changed the hollow on my skates a few times as I progressed at the position and changed my style. I am often asked by parents of goalies “what is the correct hollow to sharpen goalie skates at?” There is no right or wrong answer to this question because again, there is a lot of personal preference involved.