One of the biggest debates in hockey is if you should use a cage or visor. In this article I will go through both pieces of equipment and highlight some of the main advantages and disadvantages of both. Please keep in mind that different countries have different rules on cages and visors, the UK will only allow players over 18 to use visors (everyone else must use a cage).
The main advantage of a cage is the full facial protection, cages offer full protection of the face seriously decreasing the risk of injury. They are low maintenance and do not require any extra bits to prevent them from fogging, you also have no need to worry about scratches.
- Full face protection
- Low maintenance
- Not risk of fogging
- No problem with scratching
Although cages offer the player great protection and low maintenance, they also obstruct the players view from the park and also eye contact with their teammates.
Looking through a cage
Some players can easily adjust to looking through the cage without a problem but others would prefer it wasn’t there at all. Other disadvantages of using a cage is the weight, they are made from metal which doesn’t make them light and comfortable to wear. The weight also make them annoying to left up and wipe your face or take a drink as the cage won’t stay up without being held up. Depending on which model cage you buy, you may have to worry about rusk if you don’t look after it. Some of the cages can also be generally uncomfortable to wear.
- Blocks view of puck and eye contact with team
- Can be heavy
- Annoying to lift up when on a break or trying to have a drink
- Can rust
- Generally uncomfortable for some
Visors are probably the most popular option on the market. As they give you a great field of vision, players feel more comfortable with this. As they are made from different forms of plastics rather than metal, they are MUCH lighter than a cage. They also make it much easier to wipe your face down and take drinks without any fussing around with a massive metal cage.
Looking through a visor
- Great field of vision
- Light weight
- Wipe your face or drinking is quick and easy
One of the main advantages of a visor is also a serious disadvantage, they don’t really offer you any real protection from pucks and sticks on the ice, practically the whole of your lower face will be exposed leaving your vulnerable to some really nasty injuries. There are countless hockey players with broken noses and missing teeth. This leads to another disadvantage as if you don’t play hockey full time, I don’t think your work place would like you coming in with missing teeth and broken facial bones. This could have a knock on effect at work and lead to some seriously financial issues (not to mention the cost of having teeth replaced and bones repaired). Visors are also not as durable as a cage, they can be scratched (which will make using them annoying as hell) you also need to make sure they don’t fog up during games which can be equally annoying (anti fog and anti scratch visors will still fog as scratch but not as easily as visors without this feature). Replacement parts for your visor can also be very hard to find.
- No real face protection
- Your job might not want an employee that looks like they’ve been fighting all weekend
- Cost of repairing broken teeth is not cheap (even in the UK)
- Not durable
- Fog up and scratch which is annoying to play with
- Hard to find replacement fittings
Visors also come in different shapes colours and sizes, some may cover just your eyes and some might go slightly lower down your face. Others might also be close to your face while some are fairly far aways. This can also be seen as a risk area where pucks might be able to get into. PS: Not all colours of visors are allowed in different countries and leagues.
Other option ?
Another solution to the whole cage or visor debate is to go for a combo (cage and visor). These will give you some of the advantages of both the cage and the visor. With models like the FX50 or the Bauer Concept II, you get the vision of a visor and the protection of a cage. This also mean that you unfortunately get the disadvantages of both as the combos are very heavy, will scratch and fog up and are also annoying to left up while wiping your face or having a drink.