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Reviewer Details:
32 years old / 5’11 / 220lbs
Location: Calgary, AB
Playing Level: Upper div men's rec league hockey (former minor league rep team player)

I had to replace my old, heavy Vaughn mask as I progressed into higher levels of playing goal. I picked up a Bauer NME8 with CSA mask in Fit3 and I've been using it exclusively for approximately 6 months now.

Fit

I went with Fit3, because Fit2 was showing a bit too much of the back of my head. Maybe I have a weird shaped head, but I have a bit of vertical space in the Fit3. It's definitely within spec, but I'd like it to be a tad bit tighter. I've thought about wearing a skull-cap but it hasn't bothered me that much. The padding in the NME8 feels really nice. Coming from the Vaughn mask, which felt like wearing a bucket on my head, this feels like a light-weight velvet pillow. The sweat band also feels nice against my forehead and errant Velcro isn't irritating my skin like the Vaughn was at the end of it's life. The only thing I'm not a huge fan of is the chin cup within the helmet. Its odd. It feels like it has too much travel and it often ends up wherever I don't want it. I've tried adjusting it, but I'm just not a fan of it's design and positioning.

8/10

Protection

Protection feels good. You still feel the shots off the mask, but it definitely feels way better than I had become used to. A shot off the Vaughn rang in my ears for at least 15 minutes after being hit - not good. Imagine hitting a metal dumpster with a pole. With the Bauer, I still feel the shot impact, but its deadened. My head doesn't rattle or ring. I'm not nearly as worried about being hit in the mask.

9/10

Weight

Such a light helmet compared to what I was accustomed to. Sometimes I forget it's on my head. It feels SO good. Couldn't ask for more!

10/10

Durability

Everything looks good so far after 6 months of use. I dry it out after each session and haven't had any issues. I'm looking forward to using this mask for the foreseeable future.

10/10

Intangibles

I like the view from the standard CSA mask. Way better than my old Vaughn. I feel like I can see better through the bars, they're positioned just right. I wanted the cats-eye but it wasn't available when I was purchasing. I may switch out the cage over time. I settled on the glossy black and then got some custom decals for the helmet - this was a more economical method than buying a higher model and getting a custom airbrushing at my level.

Conclusion

The Bauer NME8 mask is a great bucket for an intermediate goaltender playing rec hockey like myself. I couldn't be happier with my purchase and it's such an upgrade from my previous helmet. I love the weight and the protection. The view is great and I don't feel like I have any bad blind spots.

Overall Rating

9.3/10

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Reviewer Details:
34 years old / 5’9 / 230lbs
Location: San Marcos, CA
Playing Level: Division 5 (copper) Beer League

I've been playing goal for about 3 years. I have owned two NME8 masks in that time, and still use both depending on whether I am playing for my league team or for pickup. I have both of them painted by Brian Shott of BMFS Designs in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The cat-eye cages are both power coated white. I've also added a dangler to both for added protection. Drives me nuts at times, but most of the time I don't even notice it. 

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Fit

I'm wearing the Fit1. I tried on every mask in GoalieMonkey when I was buying my gear, and this (NME Series Fit 1) was one of the only two masks that I found comfortable. The other was the Concept series. The Profile series, all CCM masks and all Vaughn masks I tried on I didn't find comfortable. 

The padding in the mask is a primary reason I like it so much. I've even tried replacing it with Maltese and ended up removing it because I didn't find it nearly as comfortable no matter how many times I tried to reposition the padding. If/when I get to the point where I have no choice but to replace the padding, I suppose I'll have to live with the Maltese.

I am currently using a Maltese chin sling. I found the cup annoying with a beard. Not a fit thing, just didn't like having anything touching my chin.

10/10

Protection

Realizing that "I haven't been injured in this mask" doesn't mean anything regarding how protective it actually is, I still feel this mask is plenty protective for the level of play. I definitely still feel shots and the ears ring for a few seconds if I get hit in the wrong place, but that's much more just from the loudness than anything. Still, knowing that the NME10 and I'm sure other brands are more protective, I'm going to give this a 9. 

9/10

Weight

I don't have anything to compare it to, but I have no complaints either. I'm sure higher end models are going to be lighter though. 

9/10

Durability

I pull the sweatband (Monster Kewl band) out every game and dry the mask thoroughly inside and out. I haven't had any issue with smell or anything like that. I've had the paint chipped in a couple places. In one spot it was from a stick, and then other small nicks you'd expect along the chin and ears just from putting the mask down on the table/bench/etc. That's certainly not the mask's fault though.

I do like that they actually include clear tubing on the cage to prevent the cage from scratching the mask paint. That's a nice touch. 

9/10

Intangibles

I can't reiterate enough how much the padding means to me. I know the Profile is the gold standard in Bauer masks, but I just don't like the standard white padding in masks. The new XPM series is much better, though. 

Conclusion

I have no complaints at all. The mask fits well, is sufficient protection for my level of play, and has good sight lines. 

Overall Rating

37/40

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