Evolution of the Goalkeeper Kit

Discussion in 'Goalie Zone' started by Amey Khanolkar, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. Amey Khanolkar

    Amey Khanolkar FHF Newbie

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    Hi all,

    Just like field hockey has seen tremendous changes since the sport started out (most notably the switch from natural grass to an artificial playing surface), I have always been keen on noting the rules changes that took place with respect to goalkeeper kit. The current rules state that the goalkeeper's hand protectors must have a maximum width of 228 mm and a maximum length of 355 mm when laid flat, palm upwards. Also, there should be no mechanism to retain the stick in the hand protector when the stick is not held in the hand. The leg guards should have a maximum width of 300 mm. I had a few questions regarding the rule changes that have taken place over the years with respect to goalkeeper's kits:

    1. When were helmets made mandatory for goalkeepers? Plenty of archived images show goalkeepers wearing ice-hockey style face masks. I have attached an instance of Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Sikking wearing one such face mask during a match in 1973.

    2. I also have been very curious about hand protectors. Goalkeepers in yesteryears used leather gloves with separate fingers. Many images show goalkeepers even holding the sticks in their left hands.

    2a. Were goalkeepers allowed to hold sticks in either hands, given that today all hand protectors are such that the right hand is the stick hand and the left hand is the blocker? Attached is another image of Indian goalkeeper Romeo James during the 1982 Asiad Games in Delhi holding the stick in his left hand.

    2b. Were goalkeepers allowed to catch the ball with their gloves? I feel like having distinct fingers in the gloves would make this possible. I found one an image of Canadian goalkeeper Ajay Dube making a save while almost catching the ball with his glove during the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

    3. When did the rules change to switch from gloves with "fingers" to the hand protectors (LHP + RHP) that we see today? I think this was around 95 - 96, since the Atlanta 1996 Olympics was the first instance where I see goalkeepers using contemporary hand protectors. I found an image of Indian keeper Ashish Ballal during the 96 Champions Trophy using a traditional right hand stick glove and the new left hand protector (the blocker). Perhaps this was the transition period (image attached).

    It appears to me that previous goalkeeper gloves had both left and right hands as flexible. An image of Ian Taylor is attached from the 1988 Olympic games which shows his Slazenger gloves. I believe over time the left hand glove was made rigid with foam to act as a blocking surface. I have attached an image of Simon Mason in early 1996 for the kit launch using the "fingered" gloves, but with the left hand with significant foam for blocking shots. Similar gloves are seen in the attached shot of the German women's goalkeeper using TK gloves in the 1992 Olympics.

    Of course even the leg guards have changed significantly, from resembling cricket style pads to the modern day high rebound foam and moulded shapes.

    Looking forward to hearing your insight in to the evolution of the kit!
     

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    #1 Amey Khanolkar, Dec 3, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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  2. Nij

    Nij FHF All Time Great

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    While I'm sketchy on the exact details, the major changes are based on (and occurred in approximately the timeframe of) two major developments: the use of artificial turf allowing many new techniques and the availability of foam that was both workable and durable enough to be used for the purpose.

    The rule changes go largely hand-in-glove (heh) with the progress of the game. Each time someone pushes the boundaries of What Hockey Really Is™ enough to have umpires allow it, despite technically or even blatantly against the rules, FIH has made a choice to incorporate it properly or to firmly remind us that yes, they really did mean "must not".
     
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  3. Inselaffen

    Inselaffen FHF All Time Great

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    All players used to be able to catch (and drop) the ball at one point. think this changed only in 1983

    I started using the vaguely padded left hand and it could really hurt. Think cooper were the first to release a left hand glove with a rigid think palm protection
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Amey Khanolkar

    Amey Khanolkar FHF Newbie

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    Certainly looks like the rule makers have tried to keep up with innovations being made to the goalkeeper's kit!
     
  5. Amey Khanolkar

    Amey Khanolkar FHF Newbie

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    Nice pair of gloves! Can't imagine today's goalkeepers using those to stop shots, given the pace at which strikers shoot the ball! I believe Cooper was a well-known ice hockey brand as well (Canadian company). The stick glove (right hand) resembles one worn by an ice-hockey player!
     
  6. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    Those 2 1988 photos also show the moon boots that would have been very, very new at the time. The first foam gear, rather than leather, bamboo, etc.

    1. Don't know. I think I remember footage from 1984 olympics of keeper playing without head protection, only putting helmet on for short corner. But I may be imagining that.

    2a. As far as I'm aware, and I can't find anything in the rulebook to say otherwise, keepers can hold their stick in either hand now. If you got Obo to custom-make a mirror image of their hand protector moulds and a set of gloves from them, that'd be legal.

    2b. Again, I think it would be legal today. As long as it's catch & immediately drop. Throwing it clear would likely get frowned on. I was playing u13s in 1990, with a left glove that was more than flexible enough to grab the ball and throw it. When I got to fill in for the 18s, I got to use their glove, which actually had enough padding to prevent that. It was awesome.

    3. Also don't know. I'm not sure what the 1988 rules had to say about hand protectors, if they specified a glove of some kind, or were just talking about size. Pretty sure the switch in the gear itself was down to increasing use of foam, and getting better at moulding it, rather than just sticking a slab of it on an existing glove.
     
  7. NSW

    NSW FHF Newbie

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    I believe Ian Taylor (GB GK) bought a whole load of ice hockey gear when he landed in LA for the 1984 Olympics. It was based on the desire for him to either log or slide at PC's. There are images of him in open play without a helmet (but with all the ice hockey body armour). I think he put the helmet on for PC's & strokes. Interesting that his pads and kickers still looked pretty flimsy

    As for the Cooper gloves, I thought that they were actually a pretty good evolution. The RH was almost a carbon copy of a standard ice hockey glove but brought an increased level of protection to the fingers and thumb. The LH had a block of foam across the palm. Other brands at the same time were producing similar designs (as can be seen in the photos of both TK and Slazenger)

    Many GK's modified the gloves by adding & taping extra bits of foam either inside or out (camping or yoga mats provided a good source of donor foam material!!). I believe the picture of Simon Mason for the 1996 Olympics shows a heavily battered and modified Cooper RHP (maybe Simon could confirm or comment?). The addition to the LHP seems to be an add-on palm that you could strap to the gloves. I think Monarch also did them and GK's used them in training where multiple shots to the hand could leave a significant amount of bruising to the palm
     
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  8. Amey Khanolkar

    Amey Khanolkar FHF Newbie

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    Very interesting points - amazing to see how the kit has changed over the years! I found an old OBO brochure from their early days with a picture of a goalkeeper kitted in early 90s gear. Love the retro colorful smock! Also, here's another promotional picture of a goalkeeper wearing Cooper gloves!
     

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  9. Theory

    Theory FHF Legend

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    I don't know the answer to any of the questions, but some of these pics are great.
     
  10. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    When I stopped playing as a junior, I was in leather & bamboo gear and drooling over the new foam stuff. When I returned roughly 10 years later, the old club kit had the kickers, legs & box pictured in that obo brochure. Huge difference, huge upgrade even though it was the dodgiest club kit available.

    Whereas the HR legs I looked at during 2003 champions trophy, bought in early 2004 and the ones in the shop today are practically indistinguishable. Not that there should be massive design changes, I think they got design right and stuck with it. Kickers, hands, chest, etc have had improved designs since then.
     
  11. Mick Mason

    Mick Mason FHF Top Player

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    Does the OBO pic show a left foot kicker mated to a right leg pad??

    I remember an Olympics, too long ago to remember the year, where an Australian keeper had an extra pad stuffed up his smock (like a shield of foam a couple of inches thick). It reminded me of the old pads the baseball umpires used to hold in front of them when they were behind the plate. It stuck out because he was always adjusting it like it was about to fall out or something.
     
  12. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    It does show the kicker the keeper had on his left foot (or at least one strapped the same way), but there's no such thing as left & right kicker with those.
     
  13. nemo

    nemo FHF All Time Great

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    Me way back in the day ,( prob 1990 or thereabouts ) all leather and cane padding ..... had the cooper gloves a season or two later which at time were immense , when gloves I think had to have "fingers" even remember the huge foam chest guards and heavy shoulder harnesses.
    But as pitches , sticks and techniques have improved so has the need for improved protection for us keepers.
    Just be interesting too see what might change in ten years time !
     

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  14. NSW

    NSW FHF Newbie

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    Interesting Obo brochure (I haven’t seen it before). The arm guards look remarkably similar to the Cooper SA55 & SA95 products of the early 90’s.

    They needed bolstering on the forearms if you logged on PC’s, but I thought they were pretty good actually
     
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  15. Amey Khanolkar

    Amey Khanolkar FHF Newbie

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    I found an interesting article by Jon O'Haire on the OBO blog in which he talks about how equipment has changed over the years. Some nice pictures in there as well. The blog post is from June 2003. He mentions the old rule requiring goalkeepers to have gloves with "separate and independent fingers" as was also pointed out by Inselaffen.

    Here is the link to the blog post: http://blog.obo.co.nz/equipment-part-2/
     
  16. mbray

    mbray FHF Top Player

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    Love the pictures - played in quite a lot of that kit over the years.... for better or worse....! I remember some of the Mercian kit from 1990/1 seeing it first in a shop in Twickenham with a young Simon Mason. It included moulded foam arm guards (which I still have somewhere).
     
  17. Amey Khanolkar

    Amey Khanolkar FHF Newbie

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    Also found a few other archive images of Simon Mason's Mercian kit. The first image is from the 2000 Sydney Olympics where he is using modern hand protectors from Mercian. The right hand protector is the tube-style stick hand protector (similar to the OBO Hi-Control). The second image is just prior to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In this image, he is sporting a battered up and heavily taped Cooper glove (with fingers) on his stick hand. However, the third image shows that at the Atlanta Olympics, Simon used the modern-style foam hand protectors. I think it was around the time of the 1996 Olympics that goalkeepers switched from the traditional gloves with "fingers" to the modern-day foam hand protectors.

    As a side note, here's an interesting article featuring Simon Mason in the Hockey Paper from November 2016: https://www.thehockeypaper.co.uk/articles/2016/11/29/life-hockey-simon-mason
     

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  18. scmods

    scmods FHF Regular Player

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    Here's me in 1981!

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Theory

    Theory FHF Legend

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  20. Amey Khanolkar

    Amey Khanolkar FHF Newbie

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    Thanks for sharing the photo! Goalkeeping without gloves - was that common in junior hockey back then?

     

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