one of the more controversial aspects in modern goaltending equipment is the thigh rise of the goal pads. the thigh rise is the area above the knee rolls that extend upwards to protect the goaltenders thighs between the pads and his pants. a relatively modern picture shows where we were at not to long ago:
note the pad face that is above the knee rolls. juxtapose this with pads currently used in the nhl:
with the heavy reliance of modern goaltenders on the butterfly save, goaltenders began to request larger and larger thigh rises, +1 (inch), +2, +3 and even a whopping +4. the advantages of a giant thigh rise are obvious: 5 hole coverage in the butterfly. to combat the ballooning height of goal pads, the league passed one of its more confusing rules on goaltending equipment:
“The leg guards worn by goalkeepers shall not exceed eleven inches (11’’) in extreme width when on the leg of the player.Each goalkeeper must wear pads that are anatomically proportional and size specific based on the individual physical characteristics of that goalkeeper. The League’s Hockey Operations Department will have the complete discretion to determine the maximum height of each goalkeeper’s pads based on measurements obtained by the League’s Hockey Operations Department, which will include the floor to center of knee and center of knee to pelvis measurements. Each goalkeeper will be given a Limiting Distance Size based on these measurements. The Limiting Distance Size will be the sum of the floor to knee and 55% of the knee to pelvis measurements plus a four inch (4") allowance for the height of the skate. The Limiting Distance Size is a vertical measurement from the playing surface and will be measured with the Limiting Distance Gauge. Any pads deemed too large for a goalkeeper will be considered illegal equipment for that goalkeeper, regardless of whether or not they would have fallen within previous equipment maximums. "
i like to juxtapose this with classic goaltending equipment, take a look at billy smith here. he don’t need no stinking thigh rises: