Is There a Size Limit for Hockey Goalies? (NHL & USA Hockey Numbers)

Have you ever had the thought… Why not just put a sumo wrestler in net?

If we just had some sort of object big enough to cover the net, the opponent could never score on us—right?

Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

For the most part, there is a rough height a hockey player should be which gives them a natural advantage on the ice. I wrote an article all about the best height for hockey players here. However, it’s different when it comes to goalies.

In this article, we’ll show you whether hockey goalies have a size limit, why it is or isn’t beneficial to have a super heavy goalie, and we’ll cover the size limits on goalie pads in the NHL and USA hockey.

Let’s begin.

Here’s Whether There’s a Size Limit for Hockey Goalies:

No, there isn’t a size limit for hockey goalies in the NHL or any other hockey league. There is no limit on goalie height or weight. Goalies in the NHL typically weigh just over 200 pounds and are about 6 foot 2 inches tall. However, there is a limit on the pad sizes for goalies.

Why Don’t Teams Use Extremely Large, Sumo Wrestler Hockey Goalies?

You might be wondering, why not just make a fat guy play as goalie?

I think all hockey players and fans have wondered this exact same question. 

The truth is, it actually wouldn’t be that beneficial to have a sumo wrestler (or an extremely obese player) in net. There are two main reasons:

1. NHL goalies have to be extremely athletic. Sure, sumo wrestlers are athletic, but their athleticism is geared towards their strength. For goalies, their athleticism is geared towards their agility and stamina. 

As far as the rest of the “obese” population goes, most wouldn’t have half the athleticism of sumo wrestlers.

2. The second thing to consider isn’t so easy to spot—goalie pads have size limits. This means even if you could get an extremely heavy person to balance on skates, they would be limited to NHL regulated goalie pads. 

This means those “big” goalies pads would actually be too small for them, leaving major areas of their body exposed to the puck. Even if their extra size did manage to get them a couple extra saves, they would likely be leaving the game due to injury by the end of the 1st period.

What’s the Maximum Weight a Goalie Can Weigh?

There actually isn’t a maximum weight that a goalie can be—either in the NHL, or any other league for that matter

However, you’re not going to see many 300+ pound players looking to get in net anytime soon.

There also isn’t a maximum height for NHL goalies either. 

Is There a Maximum Goalie Pad Size in the NHL?

Yes, there is a maximum size for goalie equipment in the NHL.

The sizing for goalie equipment is very meticulous and very specific, and is not a one-size-fits-all sizing across the board.

Goalie equipment sizing rules are often based on an extension of the current player.

For instance, the NHL Rulebook states:

“Each goalkeeper must wear pads that are anatomically proportional and size specific based on the individual physical characteristics of that goalkeeper.”

In other words, what’s right for one goalie may be illegal for another. You couldn’t have a 175 pound goalie wearing a 220 pound goalie’s gear, as it would be too big for his body.

In other cases, there are one-size-fits-all sizing rules for specifics of equipment, as is the case for goalie pads.

The NHL Rulebook states:

“Pads can only be ten and one-half inches (10 ½”) deep.” 

Because there are so many specifics and nuances regarding goalie pad sizes (since they’re different player to player), the NHL has to be on the ball to ensure they’re legal.

With modern technology, the NHL will now create 3D models of each goalie’s gear, put it on a mannequin, and measure it with a 3D scanner in Philadelphia, before being approved by the league.

If a goalie is caught wearing illegal gear, he will receive a 2 minute minor penalty (and will have to change his gear immediately, forcing the back up goalie to replace him). 

He could be subject to further punishment.

For complete details of NHL regulation sizing for goalie pads, you can download the NHL Rulebook (PDF download).

Is There a Maximum Goalie Pad Size in USA Hockey?

Yes, there is also a size limit for goalie pads in USA hockey.

Here’s a summary of what USA hockey section 303 says about goalie equipment sizes:


  • Blocker gloves can’t exceed 8 inches in width or 15 inches in length
  • The cuff of the catching glove can’t exceed 8 inches in width
  • The circumference of the glove can’t exceed 45 inches
  • The catchin portion of the glove can’t exceed 18 inches

Leg Pads

  • The leg pads can’t exceed 11 inches in extreme width or 38 inches in length
  • The boot channel must be concave or flat with no additional attachments
  • Calf protectors must not have be thicker than 1.5 inches
  • The knee strap pad can’t be thicker than 1.5 inches
  • The thigh pads must have a maximum width across the front of the leg of 10 inches

Chest/Shoulder Protection

  • The layering at the elbow can’t exceed 7 inches
  • The shoulder cap protectors can’t exceed 1 inch in thickness beyond the upper ridge of the shoulder and shoulder cap
  • The shoulder clavicle protectors, can’t exceed 7 inches in width and their max thickness is 1 inch

If goalies break these equipment sizing rules, they will be assessed a minor penalty for delay of game.

Who Is the Heaviest Current NHL Goalie?

The heaviest NHL goalie right now is Robin Lehner of the Vegas Golden Knights. He weighs 250 pounds and is 6 foot 4.

The next heaviest goalie isn’t far behind. Anthony Stolarz of the Anaheim Ducks is the second heaviest current NHL goalie weighing 243 pounds.

Who Is the Heaviest NHL Goalie Ever?

Robin Lehner takes the cake for the heaviest NHL goalie of all time. 

As the game of hockey has grown over the years, so has the size of the goalies. 

Taller goalies have excelled at the game in recent years, which means we’ll likely see heavy goalies like Lehner enter the league as starter or back-up goaltenders in the coming years.

Are NHL Goalies Getting Bigger?

Yes, over time goalies are getting bigger. Taller goalies have been increasingly better at the game over the past 20 years. This also means goalies will be naturally heavier.

These Were the 5 Heaviest Goalies in 2002:

  1. Olaf Kolzig (224 lbs)
  2. Alex Auld (221 lbs)
  3. Martin Brodeur 220 lbs)
  4. Roman Turek (220 lbs)
  5. Frederic Cassivi (220 lbs)

These Are the 5 Heaviest NHL Goalies Right Now (2022):

  1. Robin Lehner (250 lbs)
  2. Anthony Stolarz (243 lbs)
  3. Frederik Andersen (238 lbs)
  4. Mackenzie Blackwood (225 lbs)
  5. Karel Vejmelka (224 lbs)

Who Is the Heaviest NHL PLayer?

The heaviest NHL player to play the game currently is Jamie Oleksiak 

He’s also the heaviest NHL player of all time. Standing at 6 foot 7 inches, Oleksiak weighs a grand total of 255 pounds.

Tied for second place is Zdeno Chara and Robin Lehner at 250 pounds.

Who Is the Smallest NHL Goalie?

The smallest NHL goalie to ever play in NHL history was Roy Worters. 

Standing at just 5 foot 3 inches and 135 pounds, he was the NHL smallest goaltender of all time. He was also one of the smallest players of any position to ever play the game professionally.

The smallest current NHL goalie is Jordan Binnington who weighs 172 lbs.

For more information on hockey goalies, check out our other popular blog posts: Goalies Scoring in Ice Hockey and 3 Best Knee Braces for Hockey Goalies.


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