The Profile 960 mask has had many generations dating back decades when it was originally created by legendary Canadian mask maker Jerry Wright and made famous by Itech. With the new flagship Profile mask, Bauer kept the iconic 960 look while incorporating a number of changes to the shell and liner bringing the mask to a new level of protection and comfort.
The shell of the 960 features that classic Bauer look that has been seen on everybody’s favorite Junior, College and Pro goalies since the 960 was originally made by Itech. While it may look the same as previous generations, the shell of the 960 features an all new construction. The use of Bauer’s Power Core Epoxy allows for a lighter build with superior protection. A new Smacwrap composite damping solution is integrated into the fiberglass and carbon fibers which allows for improved vibration and impact damping while making for a lighter mask overall.
To prevent chipping and cracks, the 960 uses an updated edge wrap running around the perimeter similar to that seen on the XPM. Because of all the new technologies, the shell of the new 960 is more rigid than the old one, while cutting down on excess weight.
The most notable upgrade of the 960 is seen in the liner. The Poron XRD liner on the previous generation XPM mask is an open cell foam, meaning it was very absorbent and tended to soak up sweat and lose its pristine light cream colour, even gaining weight after a couple uses. Bauer resolved this issue on the new 960 with a liner over the Poron making it less sweat absorbent.
One issue I found from wearing the XPM mask was that the XRD liner acted as an insulator, muffling sound making it hard for me to hear what was going on around me. With that, I found that the XPM was a fairly hot mask overall as breathability wasn’t the best since there was previously nowhere for all that heat to go. In the new 960, Bauer looked to resolve these concerns with their Airflow liner, adding channels into the padding in the back of the shell behind the ears increasing breathability and improving the acoustics.
This IX foam at the back of the shell is also slightly denser meaning the backplate won’t dig in quite as far nor will it rip or damage the padding the way it did in some XPM masks. Bauer elected to stick with the soft XRD foam that was utilized in the previous XPM mask. It runs throughout the cheek, temple and crown providing a plush, comfortable fit. A perforated VN foam is seen in the lower jaw and chin area that gives the mask good breathability.
The backplate of the new 960 also features a new construction method. A very stiff Thermo-Comp outer shell is used giving the it good structural support and impact protection. The foam lining the backplate is often overlooked in many other masks however, Bauer made sure that this was an area where they went above and beyond. They use a thicker perforated VN foam similar to that seen in the jaw and chin. A Poron XRD insert makes for a comfortable fit in the occipital bump of the back of the skull. The backplate also uses moulded occipital support padding made of a slightly denser foam lining the bottom of the backplate helping to securely lock your head into the mask.
The chin cup seen on the 960 uses a shallow design similar to that seen on many other Bauer masks. It uses a Poron XRD insert which has that same coating as the rest of the liner in an attempt to stop it from absorbing as much sweat and water as the previous XPM mask.
Bauer ditched the 37.5 technology sweatband in favor of an updated Thermocore construction. This new sweatband which works to keep you cool throughout the whole ice time while absorbing sweat and drying quickly.
Much like the shell’s shape, the cage uses Bauer’s classic profile wire shape seen on masks dating as far back as when they were under the Itech name. On the new 960, Bauer uses their enhanced puck view wire. I found that while the sightlines of the new 960 were very similar to that of the older XPM, the wire itself has a slightly more matte silver finish rather than the traditional chrome. Much like the way white cages work, this duller wire doesn’t allow light to bounce off of it quite as much reducing glare and making it easier to see out of compared to the XPM as well as other masks on the market. That being said, you can still buy a white cage for even better glare reduction and style points.
The sizing system of the new 960 has been adjusted too. Like that of the VTX, the Profile 960 now has three sizes with a true Small, Medium and Large. This new sizing method allows the Profile line to fit more goalies eliminating the issue that some had in the previous XPM mask where they fell between sizes.
All in all, Bauer made a number of significant improvements when building the new 960 mask. I find that this new mask is noticeably lighter than the XPM mask while being even more comfortable. The new liner is just as soft, supple and protective as that of the previous generation flagship Profile mask all while being more durable and breathable. The denser IX Foam at the back of the shell with its airflow cut-outs makes a huge difference in acoustics and the breathability of the mask. I found the elastic chin cup strap made for a more natural feeling comfortable fit that didn’t make my chin feel stuck in any one position. Finally, the new backplate with its redesigned occipital support along with the three sizing options gave the mask a more dialed in fit than the previous 960 XPM. If a goalie looking for elite level protection, the new 960 should definitely be a top contender.
Reviewed By: Cedric Hastings
Bauer Profile 960 Goalie Mask Gallery