I just picked this up a few hours ago off a gentleman through kijiji – it’s in terrific condition, and I purchased it for a good price. It looks like it has only been used a handful of times.
Itech doesn’t make the 961 Pro anymore, they have replaced them with the NV7. The only way you can get one of these is by purchasing used, or having one custom made – like the NHL goalies do. Since I don’t have $2000 lying around to spend on a custom mask, this will do just fine.
The Itech 961 is considered to be the BEST mask ever made for a goalie’s cranium. Why? Because of the full layer of hand-laid Kevlar integrated into the mask – Kevlar is that wonderful invention by Dupont that the police/army uses in their bullet-proof vests.
Other masks that have Kevlar only integrate it into the forehead and chin – the 961 Pro has it embedded in the entire mask. The Kevlar reduces the weight of the mask as well.
Currently, I’ve been using my Van Velden goalie mask since Bantam – well over 14 years of service. My Van Velden is a great mask, and it still has many years of service left in it. I did a refurbishment on the mask back in 2003. I felt it was time for a change though, and to upgrade my helmet to a newer/safer technology – the production date on this Itech 961 Pro is March 16th, 2006.
I’m not sure if I want to sell the old Van Velden, or keep it as a back up – or possibly refurbish it again.
But for now, I have a mask that offers superior protection against the hotshot OHL wannabes that fly in (trying to impress their dumb blonde girlfriend in the stands) and take a slap-shot from ten feet away.
…I just have to focus on embarrassing him now; rather than worrying about the potential skull-fracture if the puck ricochets off my forehead. ;)