2016 is a big year for Bauer, with a whole new Supreme line and whole new Profile mask line. While a new Supreme line is common every two years, a brand new Profile mask line isn’t; Bauer has been selling the Profile 960 mask for many years now, along with price-point options in the 950 and 940 for the last couple years. The 960 has been around long enough th at it’s become a staple in the goalie world, but Bauer has developed so many new technologies—12K carbon, XRD, 37.5®—that now seems an appropriate time for them to revamp it.
With major changes in the construction, let’s take an in-depth look at the 960XPM.
The Profile 960 mask has been the most popular mask at pro, college and junior levels, because of it’s protection and iconic look. Bauer, in my opinion, has always made the most visually appealing masks; more than just a piece of equipment, their masks look like battle armour.
The new Profile 960XPM takes a little bit of a different look; however, not totally different as it resembles older models of Itech 960 masks.
There are many components put into the shell of the 960XPM. Firstly, is the fiberglass base. If you’re playing hockey at any competitive level, we highly suggest you wear a mask made with a fiberglass base.
Bauer reinforces the forehead and chin of the fiberglass base, using their INNEGRA™ fiber—a shock dampening composite weave. INNEGRA™ was more recently used in the TotalONE NXG and Reactor 6000 sticks, because of its ability to dampen the vibration of a puck hitting the composite stick. Atop the INNEGRA™ are layers of carbon to stiffen the shell, and a carbon edge wrap to reduce chipping of the shell.
The outer layer of the 960XPM is 12K carbon. 12K refers to the thousands (K) of fibers that are woven. The most common industrial carbon is 3K, so you can imagine the strength of 12K. What’s pretty cool about the black 960XPM is that it isn’t actually black paint, but instead a clear coat over the 12K carbon. Up close, this gives a really cool look and distinguishes itself from other masks.
An integral feature of the 960XPM is the vibration dampening tape. The function is fairly self-explanatory but, when a puck makes impact with the mask the tape will spread the vibration throughout the shell, rather than just the impact zone.
Now, the liner is where the changes between the 960 and 960XPM are most noticeable. The old 960 used the pro level cream VN foam. It was nothing very fancy, but it was comfortable and it worked really well. This year, comfort has been taken up a notch with the use of a foam combo.
Bauer combines their XRD foam and super soft VN foam. Atop the mechanically attached liner, XRD foam is laid in the high impact zones: the forehead and crown, the temples, and the back plate. If I take my finger and push the XRD foam, it will push inward, but as soon as I release my finger the foam will recover to it’s normal state. Put into an on-ice scenario, the XRD foam absorbs the impact and allows the mask to move back when you take a puck to the mask, rather than your head immediately shooting back.
XRD foam is also incorporated into the chin cup, for comfort and protection.
For some additional comfort, Bauer incorporates perforated super soft VN foam in the cheeks, back edges, chin, and the back plate.
Using their new 37.5® Technology, Bauer has also designed a new sweatband. 37.5® will keep your forehead dry throughout gameplay, while keeping your head temperature at an optimal level. Also, 37.5® material dries up to 5 times faster than similar materials. Check the link at the bottom of this blog to see how 37.5® works!
Like the old 960, the 960XPM keeps the same stainless steel round-wire certified cage; however, wire wrap is linked onto the top and bottom bars of the cage, to prevent paint chipping from pucks to the cage.
Unfortunately, due to Health Canada regulations, non-certified cages cannot be purchased within Canada.
Bauer is making many goalies happy with the new fitting system. Before, the 960 used to come in one fit; many goalies would still buy the 960 for its iconic look, even though it didn’t properly fit them. Now, Bauer offers two sizes: S/M and M/L. This gives you a better chance at finding a properly fitting, iconic looking Profile mask.
In my opinion, the Profile 960 was a mask I thought never should’ve been touched. It was the Holy Grail of goalie masks. With that being said, Bauer has established themselves as risk takers, i.e. OD1N. In the eyes of traditionalists and old school beauties, the 960XPM is a big risk at ruining something that was perfect; fortunately, it is safe to say the 960XPM is an improvement on the 960. Barring it fits your head shape, it’s extremely comfortable and its sight lines are actually a tad better than the 960, due to the altered fit. Nice work, Bauer.
37.5® Technology: how does it work?37.5™ material is made up of millions of tiny particles that are embedded into the fabric to increase the surface area. These particles act like "hot rocks" in a sauna allowing sweat to evaporate, rather than just being wicked away from your body. These "hot rock" particles attract sweat and evaporate it when your body heats up. Because evaporated sweat is a gas, it finds its way into the air, allowing the fabric to stay almost unbelievably dry, even during heavy use.
Shop the Bauer Profile 960XPM Goal Mask
Bauer Profile 960XPM Goal MaskD Gallery