Allegrino then joined the San Jose Sharks' AHL affiliate, the Kentucky Thoroughblades and moved with them to Cleveland before returning to his hometown with the AHL Binghamton Senators for three years. He is in his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators.
Allegrino was a youth-hockey player and continues to play regularly. Because he has a nephew who plays goaltender in youth-hockey, Allegrino was a logical choice to provide advice on how to safely fit youngsters to play goal.
NHL.com: When your goalie is getting fitted for equipment, let's focus first on arm and body protection. What kind of pointers or tips could you give as far as how the arm and body should fit in the equipment?
Allegrino: Arm and body is one of the most important things for a kid because you want to make sure it fits properly. You want to make sure the elbows are in the elbow cups, and the caps are there. You want to make sure the belly protection comes about to the top of the waist. You want to make sure that the arm itself comes about to the bend in the wrist. You don't want to get it too long. If it's too long, it's going to get in the way of your blocker or it's going to get in the way of your catching glove for sure.
NHL.com: Where should it come down to on the wrist?
Allegrino: Just right at the break. If you turn your wrist up where it breaks, the equipment should end at the bottom of the hand.
NHL.com: You've seen a lot of minor hockey played and you've had a seen long career as an equipment manager in the AHL and the NHL. How can a parent or coach recognize that the goalie equipment is too small for the player?
Allegrino: If they start to get hurt more than normal when they get hit, that's a sign. If they're getting hit on bare wrists or in an unprotected area around the waist, it's because the equipment is moving up with the body. The equipment is like a shirt and you feel and see when it's too short. Move around in the equipment and if it doesn't cover the areas it should cover, then it's too small.
NHL.com: One of the things that tempts parents is to think that they can get another season if they buy equipment that is a little too large. Are there dangers to the player when they do that?
Allegrino: Yes, for sure, because it's going to limit the goalie's mobility, which will also leave more open spots to get hit. It's not going to have that tight fit. If it's too big, it's going to sag and leave more available room to get hit.
NHL.com: It sounds simple: If the equipment moves with the body, but is short at the waist and wrists, it's too short. If it doesn't move with the body, it's too large and if it moves in sync with the body and covers the wrist and waist regardless of movement, it's the right size?
Allegrino: When you're moving, you want that arm and chest to be one with your body. If it's too big and it's sagging, you're going to move and it's obviously going to crease and it's going to open you up to a puck.
NHL.com: It seems like a lot of goaltenders wear bigger pants and/or longer pants than they need. What is the right spot for goal tender pants to be around the knee area and how high should they come up on a goal tender?
Allegrino: The right fit for the knee is pretty much right above the knee. Now, everybody is different. It all has to do with mobility. Generally, what you want to see is the end of the goalie pad about a half inch from the top of the knee. Then the rib protection should cover the lower rib area, just above the belly wrapping around the lower ribs.
NHL.com: Do you prefer belts or suspenders for kids, or is it pretty much the choice of the player as far as what they wear to hold up their pants?
Allegrino: I would say it's personal preference. Some kids will like the belt and some will like the suspenders. I think a lot of those decisions are probably made by the parents. The parents say, "Here, we're going to give him a pair of suspenders on the pants, they look a little bit big." If a kid gets used to having the suspender compared to a belt, that's what they'll go with. They both work ideally for the job they're supposed to do, holding up the pants.
NHL.com: The catching glove and the blocker glove: When a kid puts one on, some of these kid's gloves are much larger than their hand. Is there a proper way to find out how a catching glove should fit and where their fingers should be, like a baseball glove?
Allegrino: Yes, my experience is with my nephew who plays goal. The best thing I can say for a kid wanting gloves is to go into the store and go onto the shelf and pick a few different gloves and make sure you can close the glove.
Every company's mechanics of the glove is different. So, I think the important thing is to try the glove on and make sure you can open and close it. Obviously, the more you use it it's going to break in and feel better. It's all about feel and fit. If that glove feels good on your hand, it's probably going to fit well. If it feels too big and bulky and loose, then it's probably not the right fit for you. That's probably the best advice I could give a kid trying to get a glove. It's all about feel and what they feel when they put it on.
NHL.com: I was glad to hear you say that your nephew played too so you're really familiar with this age group's equipment. One of the things I am afraid is shots to the throat and shots to the collarbone. Are there options for throat protection and different levels of quality and are there options for the upper chest and collarbone area?
Allegrino: There are. You can get an arm-and- chest protector with a built-up neck. I would say most to all of the arm-and-body protectors are pretty good for the collarbone protection for the kid. Obviously, when you get into the pros, the shots are a lot harder so you may have to build padding here and there. But, at the kids' level, most of them are pretty well built for areas such as the collar bone.
You can have a neck roll added to the arm-and-body protector. You can also wear a throat guard which all companies make to hang off the mask. One of our goalies wear it here. I like to see all our goalies wear them because, you never know, it just takes one shot in the throat, right? It's important to have a throat guard hanging from your mask and that helps. And, they can build up the neck roll which also helps.
NHL.com: There's a number of reasons to be concerned about the neck and one of the things we always think about the danger of a skate blade cutting the neck. The goalies are down on the ice where the blades are. That's not something that a kid should go without. Even if it's optional, it should be, from a parent's point of view, required?
Allegrino: I agree with you 100%. I threw one on my nephew's equipment. He said, "I don't like it." But I said to him, "Just try it a few times and then tell me you don't like it." We were playing the other night in Anaheim and our goalie got kicked in the throat. It didn't cut him, but it was a little scary for a minute.
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