The Northland “Dome” Hockey Helmet

May 29, 2009 by Tyler  
Filed under Hockey Equipment

Northland Dome HelmetA while ago I wrote a series of posts entitled the Worst Hockey Equipment Ever. Within that series I noted that the Cooper XL7 helmet was the worst hockey helmet ever produced. While I still stand firmly behind my decision to proclaim the Cooper XL7 as the worst, there is a close second.

The Northland “Dome” Helmet that is probably best known for being worn by none other than Lanny McDonald, is rather ugly itself. I had several requests to feature the Northland “Dome” Helmet as one of the ugliest pieces of equipment and, I admit, there were days when it did seem uglier than the XL7.

I’m not sure if it was just me, but I think the helmet’s ugliness was lost on me due to Lanny’s flaming red mustache. Had McDonald not had such an enormous red mustache, the hideousness of the Dome Helmet may have overtaken that of the Cooper XL7.

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22 Comments on "The Northland “Dome” Hockey Helmet"

  1. Tony - Blues country on Mon, 25th Jun 2007 9:22 am 

    Stan Mikita, Pit Martin, Guy Lafluer, JC Trembly, Dennis Potvin, Jean Potvin, Wayne Babych, Ron Ellis, Andre Boudrias, are just a few off the top of my head who wore this helmet …..60-70′s …… Northland the Lange versions.

  2. stephen barbosa on Tue, 16th Oct 2007 4:18 pm 

    i’m 39 years old and i’ve played in roller hockey and ice hockey leagues since i was 11. recently i was invited back to play in an alumni roller hockey all star game in the league i grew up playing in. the one question all of the guys had was if i still had my northland “dome-fish bowl” helmet. i never realized i was being made fun of. to tell the truth, i wouldn’t have traded it for any other helmet because it was actually very comfortable. i figured if hockey greats wore it then why couldn’t i? i am in disagreement with a prior post on here because i do not believe that guy lafleur ever wore this helmet. towards the latter part of his career i think he experimented with a winn-well.

  3. Scott on Fri, 19th Oct 2007 10:11 am 

    The Northland Dome as the worst helmet of all time? Please! it’s not even close! Look at the piece of crap that Butch Goring wore for his entire career! I think it was one of the oldest Winn-Wells made but I may be wrong. And what about the Jofa that Gretzky wore? Those are surely uglier and probably provided far less protection than the Dome. I wonder if Dennis Potvin ever saved any of his…….maybe they’re on his mantle at home ;-) .

  4. stephen barbosa on Tue, 20th Nov 2007 6:30 pm 

    i agree 100%. in fact the islanders equipment manager used to tape butch goring’s helmet with either white or blue tape depending on home/away games because he only had the one helmet of it’s kind. i’m not sure if it was a winn-well. the winn-wells of the 80′s and 90′s were pretty cool. mark messier wore that kind. gretzky’s helmet was a jofa and it was pretty ugly. lots of players wore that one too.

  5. SCOT on Mon, 14th Jan 2008 12:41 am 

    There is no way this is an ugly hockey helmet.
    It is sized, not adjustable
    It is solid, not 3-5 pieces as your modern adjustables.

    For god sakes, we routinely skate with $200 sticks, but are skating with the same cheap adjustable helmets fro $50 modelled from leather days protecting the one part of your body you are screwed without!!!

    It has a nice shape- you can do that if you mold a helmet individually.

    Eventually we will come back to sized helmets- therr are enough players, and everyone now needs a lid. There is no reason industry can’t provide a 40$ sized helmet, without srerws and plates and ungly clacking noises with every move.

    bring back the molded to size helmet!!!!


  6. stephen barbosa on Wed, 30th Jan 2008 6:45 pm 

    hey scot, thanks for sticking up for us “dome” helmet alumni. speaking of which my annual roller hockey alumni game is scheduled for march 8th and 9th and i’ve already been asked to don the “dome” once again for old time sake! i agree about the one piece design. don’t get me started on those crappy $200 and $300 sticks. they’re awful.

  7. Dan McGarry on Wed, 6th Feb 2008 5:06 pm 

    The Northland helmet was originally designed by Stan Mikita and was the safest helmet on the market. It could be purchased with two types of interior protection, the regular foam or a suspension style similar to football helmets of the period. With the suspension style protection it was also light and had superior ventilation.

    The last player to wear this model was I believe Mike Foligno.

    And yes Lafleur wore one during his first two years with the Canadiens.

  8. stephen barbosa on Thu, 11th Dec 2008 4:42 pm 

    well folks my annual alumni hockey game is coming up and i must say that i’ll be donning my “dome” helmet once again! photos will follow.

  9. Nathan Stickles on Sun, 31st May 2009 7:36 pm 

    I got a pretty big kick out of the article on the Northland bucket. I was lucky enough to play Stan Makita in the CBC’s 72 Summit Series movie and got to wear one of the elusive helmets. I wanted to steal it but I thought it may be detrimental to the filming so I regrettably left it behind. However that helmet got me thinking and my friends and I put a team together for a tournament and we purposefully brought the worst helmets we could find. Helmets ranging from several models of Jofa, every cooper helmet from the SK series to XL7′s to others with the built in ear tabs. My favorite was the one that I wore, it was an SK2000 a la Mark Messier, however when I went to put it on the padding fell out and a teammate decided to tape the two halves to my head. After lacing up a chin strap and putting on some logos and a CSA approved sticker I was awarded best worst helmet.

  10. Frank Piepers on Sun, 26th Jul 2009 1:47 pm 

    I used the Lange “Stan Mikita” helmet in the 70′s and still use it today in beer league hockey. There has never been a better helmet made. The suspension in the helmet (not foam)made this a superior, and safer product by far. There should be a remake of these. As for being ugly, I beg to differ. Some of the designs today are just horrible looking. I will always be a fan of the so called dome helmet thank you.

  11. miss_georgia (Georgia T) on Fri, 31st Jul 2009 4:33 pm 

    Twitter Comment

    Fashion sense? In MY hockey?.. Well, sort of. RT @nhldigest Remember the old Northland Dome helmets?

  12. SundayNightMets (How Bout Them Mets!?) on Fri, 31st Jul 2009 4:41 pm 

    Twitter Comment

    @nhldigest I loved those helmets… Looks like retarded crash test dummies.

  13. bmswpg (B MacPhee-Sigurdson) on Fri, 31st Jul 2009 4:42 pm 

    Twitter Comment

    @nhldigest I remember Lanny and Potvin with this bad boy most of all…

  14. HelmetHead on Fri, 25th Sep 2009 9:09 pm 

    You guys forgot Johnny Upton!!!

  15. eben stevens on Sat, 31st Oct 2009 9:44 am 

    i got a mikita helmet in the 70′s, and just this week it developed a ‘crack’. it fit my head snugly, not like the ‘piss pots’ that are currently on the market, from ALL manufactures.

    is there a place where they are still available ?

  16. Mike on Sat, 12th Dec 2009 10:03 pm 

    I believe Mike Foligno of the Maple Leafs was the last bearer of the almighty Northland

  17. Rob Cormier on Sun, 17th Jan 2010 12:35 am 

    I wear a Gretzky stlyle Jofa in men’s league hockey(my uncle gave it to me).I love it and I think it is sharp looking.I agree it does,nt offer the best protection but it is super light.I would actually prefer to play without a helmet if rules permited.I always leave my helmet in my bag when I play pickup hockey.Crazy I know but I find it very comfortable.

  18. Brian Kurtz on Tue, 26th Jan 2010 10:50 pm 

    I disagree with you about the “dome” helmet, its a classic. ask any Stan Mikita fan. I bought mine new in 1975, wore it through college hockey (with a cage)and still wear it today in my local mens league. I regularly get positive comments on it from guys new to the league. I love it so much I even at one time bought a brand new helmet just to remove, and reproduce (color photocopy) the two certification stickers. Then re adhearing them to the new helmet and returning it for a full refund. DONT TELL ME I CANT WEAR MY HELMET CAUSE IT DOESNT MEET SO AND SO’S CERTIFICATION….BS
    I only found this site/ article because I was searching to buy another vintage “dome” helmet……

  19. John on Thu, 11th Feb 2010 1:38 am 

    Hey does anybody know where to find the masks that came with the Northland helmet? It had big eye holes like current goalie masks, but it came straight down with NO chin cup and a little padding strip on the bottom bar of the mask, wish I could show y’all a picture. I wore won in prep school hockey in the mid 80′s, help me out if you can.


  20. don vap on Sat, 8th May 2010 9:11 am 

    I have personally felt that the rounded one piece helmet was perhaps more protective and preventive than conventional multi-piece helmets which present with multiple angles.

    Given the number of concussions and flexion neck injuries which occur, perhaps the Makita design should be revisited.

  21. Helmets, Game Speed And The Shifts That Dramatically Changed The NHL – - OptaVision3D Projectors | www.optavision3d.comOptaVision3D Projectors | on Wed, 21st Mar 2012 7:03 pm 

    [...] hero and good ol’ Ontarian Paul Henderson, who began wearing a Northland model similar to this one, a style that had also been used by Stan Mikita. Henderson fiddled with it a bit, adding a football [...]

  22. Joe C. on Tue, 11th Sep 2012 11:53 am 

    The Northland dome was my favorite helmet of all time. To this day it fit better than any helmet I have had. I also like the Bauer 4500 style and fit which is what I have now.

    The “dome” was a one piece helmet and was the most protective I thought. Cascade now makes the M11 helmet that is a true one piece as well and I think as close to what you will find to the “dome” on the market today. I have my son in the M11 for that reason.

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