Over time, my Itech Concept II full face shield became scratched. It wasn’t really the shield’s fault either. Most of the time, I’d carelessly toss my helmet into my bag along with my other gear. I’m not one of those guys who carries his helmet in a microfiber pillow case. Although I devised a cheap method for keeping the shield fog free, the scratches created a haze of their own. Besides, the plastic bars on the lower half of the mask threw me off. I need consistency. My eyes didn’t like adjusting from window to cage.
I’m too chicken to use a half-shield, so back behind bars I went. The Bauer FM 3000 has been my trusty cage for awhile, but it’s a little districting. On a quest for the perfect cage, I decided on the CCM FM480, chrome edition. I rock a white Bauer HH5000L. Lucky for me it was listed the on compatibility chart as a match for both a medium and large size cage. Because I have a large helmet, I ordered a large cage. That was a mistake. The width fit fine, a little narrow actually. However, the cage extended too far below my chin. As my face is not shaped like Jay Leno’s, I returned the cage for a medium. Exact same width, smaller length. It fit like a glove. The only issue I had was having to remove the small barrels that come pre-installed on the cage. Maybe these rollers are great for CCM helmets, but they only got in the way on my Bauer.
I put the cage to use. The visibility was a vast improvement from the old Bauer cage. The bars were evenly spaced and didn’t have the double bar down the center. I found the chrome finish to be less distracting than the traditional black color. The only issue with the chrome occurred when it caught the light and glared in my eye. Other than that, the cage worked great. Now, during those rare moments I actually look up when I’m handling the puck, I have an improved field of vision. If you’re in need of a cage I’d recommend the CMM 480.
The only other cage I’ve heard great things about was the Bauer 9500/9900 oval facemask. I can’t vouch for it because I didn’t feel like spending $50 on a cage, but I’d be curious to hear from others who have tried both.