JOFA Helmets | Halos of Hockey

Gretzky, Lemieux, Jagr, Selanne, Savard, Sundin, Forsberg, Fleury, Kurri, Housley, Palffy, Salming and Stastny are some of the NHL greats who have worn the JOFA emblem proudly upon their foreheads during some of the highest scoring and most important seasons and careers in NHL history. This blog discusses the JOFA helmet, the different models, who men who wore them, their significance, where to buy and sell them, how to fix and modify them, and why they are icons of hockey excellence.

Jun 4, 2011

The Reebok 366K

Concluding my post, "Modifying The Reebok 3K L", here is the final result of my modification; an exact replica of Teemu Selanne's famous JOFA 366 lid with soft ear loops and Oakley straight visor, uniquely branded by Reebok.

The helmet really turned out nice. Greg, who funded this project, was very pleased. He told me he will only be wearing the helmet during practice and stick time; worrying about those loose cannon players out there. I can't blame him, this helmet ain't cheap, and you most definitely can't replace it easily.

I really liked the labeling on this helmet. You might not be able to read it clearly, but the sticker at the top says, "Reebok - Powered By JOFA"; how cool. I'm glad Reebok is giving JOFA's original designers some credit. One strange thing about this helmet is that it is not certified by either HECC or CSA. I guess this is why this helmet is only sold in Europe.

I sure hope Greg gets some attention with this helmet; it is sure to have hockey equipment aficionados perplexed. I guarantee there is not another player in the world rocking this lid; other than Selanne that is!

Modifying The Reebok 3K L

Recently, one of my readers, Greg, commented on my post "Modifying The JOFA 390", suggesting that I modify his Reebok 3K L (large) for a fee. It sounded good to me; I thought it would give me the chance to check out the new Reebok version of the JOFA 390, while also co-creating a one of a kind helmet. Greg also asked me if I could take some process photos and send them to him, so I did. Anyways, I thought I'd share these photos with the world, giving you readers out there an idea of what the process looks like, as well as showcase Greg's new "Reebok 366K" helmet.

The first step is disassembling the helmet. I kept the front part wrapped up to prevent scratches while separated. Notice the Reebok branding; Greg said he ordered this helmet from the UK, which made me kind of nervous doing this mod, as this model would not be easily replaced if I were to make a mistake.

Next, I drilled and pried out the rivets that hold the padding inside the helmet. The picture shows the parts side by side, with a little pile of broken rivets in the middle. Fortunately, I was able to remove the rivets with no problem, leaving the holes nice and clean without any "blowout".

This picture shows the bare part, ready for modification. By isolating this part of the helmet, it makes it much easier to handle and work on during the process. The front part is untouched, as it does not require modification.

Using painters tape as a drawing surface, I traced a template I made from an actual JOFA 366 on both sides of the helmet. This way, I can be sure that the sides are nice and symmetrical.

With the cut lines laid out, I then go ahead and cut along them with an X-ACTO knife. I remove the bottom half of the tape to indicate the area that is being removed; leaving the top half covered with tape to preserve a nice line to scribe across, while also serving as a layer of protection from handling and cutting.

The next step is fully scribing and sanding the new ear contours, as shown above. Also shown is the removed ear protection laying next to the part.

This picture shows the finished part after detail sanding; where all the rough edges have been sanded away, producing what is apparently the original manufactured part.

The ear loops take a little modification as well. Here's a look at them before installation.

After rounding up the appropriate hardware, and trimming the padding to fit, I am then ready to finish the modification. This picture shows the helmet without a chinstrap because the picture was taken before I received the part. The only thing left to do is re-assemble the helmet, install the visor, and trim the chinstrap. Check out my next post for the final product. I'm really happy about the way this helmet turned out; and so was Greg!

The JOFA 390 Jaromir Jagr Edition

Following up on my previous post "Jaromir Jagr's JOFA Helmets", I decided to show some pictures of my JOFA 390 Jaromir Jagr Edition helmet. These pictures should give you a better look at Jagr's helmet, as it is difficult to get any high-resolution photographs of his old lid. This version of the JOFA 390 is an exact replica of the helmet Jagr wore during his best seasons in the NHL. This helmet is currently up for bidding on eBay, shipping worldwide.

Notice in this close up the visor mounts. I installed the visor pro spec, where the visor is bolted on both sides. The stock visors swing up and is held down with snap straps and J-hooks; similar to a full cage. The visor is an Itech HLC Deluxe, a beefed up version of the old HLC. Although it is not the same exact model that Jagr used, I think it's better; the logo has Penguin's gold lettering on black, and of course, the visor is brand new. It's virtually impossible to find a brand new Itech 3 point visor without modern Bauer branding. The installment on this visor was a very difficult project; I found the only way to mount it securely is to remove the front part of the helmet, install the visor, and then re-assemble the helmet.

Another thing that makes this helmet unique is its condition; this is the only new, old logo branded JOFA 390 I have ever come across. I'm happy to have found one in this condition, but I feel obliged to sell it; I'll let someone else go scuff it up!

May 6, 2011

The JOFA 666 Pro Custom

Behold, the JOFA 666; a custom modified JOFA 390 from my collection. The reason I have named this the JOFA 666 is because this mod is an evolution of the JOFA 366, and because this is a "Beast" of a helmet!

What makes the JOFA 666 special, aside from the tinted Oakley pro modified visor install and its mint condition, is the evolved ear loops. This custom install of pro ear loops, common on most helmets, makes the JOFA 666 the most comfortable JOFA helmet since the JOFA 235.

Someday, I may sell this helmet. It would be incredible if Selanne or Jagr were to actually buy it from me! Enjoy the photos, these are the only pictures ever taken of this helmet.

Modifying The JOFA 390

With some patience, skill, and craftsmanship, it is possible to modify a JOFA 390 helmet (above, left) to replicate the pro ear loops like that of the JOFA 366 (above, right); the result is a much more comfortable, pro style, JOFA helmet. The modification also voids the JOFA 390's HECC and CSA certification, especially when done incorrectly; so unless you are a professional, or playing men's league, do not waste your time and money removing the ear protection from your JOFA 390 helmet.

The first step in modifying your JOFA 390 is gathering the tools and parts for the job. These tools include: medium Phillips and flathead screw drivers, a handheld power drill, a 1/8" drill bit, a 7/32" drill bit, small nose pliers, strong kitchen or shop scissors, an X-ACTO knife, a box knife, extra blades for both knives, painters tape (masking tape will also work), a pencil, a thin or medium Sharpie marker, a metal straight edge ruler (smaller the better), medium and fine grit sand paper, a sand paper block, and a cigarette lighter. In addition, a Dremel (small, hand-held rotary power tool) with a rotary sanding bit and refills can also be helpful; but is not necessary. Most of these tools can be found at a local hardware store.

You also will need some helmet parts, including: a pair of ear loops (I recommend Bauer), two short helmet screws, two cage snap/dome screws, 4 wide/short backings (or medium/short backings with washers), and a chin strap (two parts with plastic snap). These parts can be found online at various hockey equipment retailers; they may also be available at your local hockey shop, saving you the price of shipping and handling, while also supporting your local shop.

Next, disassemble your JOFA 390; removing the front piece, making sure to collect all the screws and backings and set them aside. It is also advised to first remove the cage, if applicable. 

Once the back piece is isolated, drill out the rivets on either side of the ear protection using a 1/8" bit, making sure not to damage the helmet; the pliers may be used to break the rivets and pull them out. Now, the foam padding should be loose, set that aside until later; cleaning the helmet padding while removed is recommended. 

Use the template I have provided to scribe out the ear protection using an X-ACTO or box knife with a sharp blade; be patient, it is easy to mess this step up. The best way to mark the cut lines (indicated above in red), as well as protect the helmet from scratches and cuts, is to apply the painter's tape over the ear protection, and draw the cut lines with a pencil - later refining them with a Sharpie marker, on top of the tape. I like to use my shop scissors to cut the bottom half off first; be sure to work your way to the edge, as you can not replace removed material. After you are close to your template lines, sand the inner edge making sure not to scuff the helmet; straight lines can be achieved by using a sanding block. Repeat this process on the other side, trying to mirror the first side as close as possible.

Once satisfied, remove the tape, and trim the padding to match the new profile using scissors and a box knife; use sand paper to smooth. 

To prepare the ear loops, match the center of the flat rubber to the center of the hole, one side at a time; adjust them so the flair transition on the ear loops just touches the bottom of the helmet, then mark the ear loop with a Sharpie. Once marked, find center, and drill through the ear loop using the 7/32" bit; then cut off extra material, leaving a uniform material thickness on all sides.  

Finally, use the specified hardware to re-assemble the back piece, sandwiching the ear loops between the foam and the plastic. Make sure you add the chinstrap to the ear loops before assembly. Use the cage snap/dome screws on the back holes and the regular screws at the front; large backings should hold the foam in place. Now, put your helmet back together, replacing the front piece using the hardware that you set aside. 

The result should look nearly identical to Selanne's JOFA 366 helmet with soft ear loops. Replication of the standard JOFA 366 is next to impossible due to the plastic ear loops, and the need for snap rivets through them. Hope this helps you JOFA fans out there who have wanted a Selanne-style JOFA 366. Just remember, take your time, use photo references if unsure, and be safe using the knives (make sure to push away from yourself).

This is my first modified JOFA 390. I used photo references for this mod; I wish I had better photos at the time, because I over-cut it slightly at the top of the ear; otherwise it is just about spot on. I also mounted an Oakley straight visor, just like Selanne's, and added official NHL helmet decals to complete the look. Selanne has his side logos rubbed off, and his Ducks decal is placed higher on the helmet, over the divide; I didn't want to mess with that, so I just placed the Ducks decals over the ears. Due to my large cranium, and because I want my helmet to fit me, I mounted the visor further forward than Selanne's to allow air flow to prevent fogging. I will show how to correctly mount visors on the JOFA 390 on another post.

The JOFA 390

The JOFA 390 is the most widely known and available JOFA helmet ever made. It was first manufactured in the early 1990's, as a redesign of the JOFA 280; sculpting a new, rounder, front piece, with aerodynamic intakes. I have mentioned this helmet before; the JOFA 390 has ear protection, molded into the back piece of the helmet, differentiating it from the JOFA 366 pro model. This design makes it quicker and easier to manufacture; research suggests that JOFA produced this helmet more than any other model. The helmet was most commonly sold with a JOFA 381 cage like the photo above.

NHL Pros, such as Jaromir Jagr made this helmet extremely popular during the 1990's.  Many of you may have worn a JOFA helmet when you were little during this time; chances are that helmet was a JOFA 395 (size 6-1/2 - 7-1/4), which is the junior version of the JOFA 390, sold exclusively with ear protection and a JOFA 386 junior cage.

Mats Sundin, the highest scoring Swedish player in the history of the NHL, is another pro who wore the JOFA 390 helmet during his professional career. He wore the JOFA 390 while he played for the Quebec Nordiques from 1990-94, as well as his early years playing for the Swedish National Team.

The JOFA 390 was also worn by Peter Forsberg during the early 1990's, during his play for Team Sweden as illustrated. I believe he wore a JOFA 390 on and off throughout his early career, switching it out with a JOFA 366, which is most definitely the more comfortable and exclusive of the two helmets.

Here is Forsberg wearing a JOFA 390 helmet with what is likely a JOFA 998 visor/cage combo (right); this must have been extremely early in his career to have worn a full face mask.

Saku Koivu is another NHL star who wore a JOFA 390, however, he did not wear one in the NHL; only in his early Finnish SM-Liiga and Olympic and World Championship play with Team Finland in the early 1990's.

In recent years, JOFA has changed their logo, somewhat modernizing it (left), and continued producting the JOFA 390 model well into the 2000's; until they were bought by RBK/Reebok Hockey in 2004. Reebok continues to manufacture this model (right), replacing the JOFA graphics and removing the front bumper displaying "390"; appropriate, since they now call this model the RBK 3K. Unfortunately, the RBK 3K is currently only being sold over seas; probably as not to conflict with Reebok's marketing of their new line of helmets, worn by many pros today, notably Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, and The Sedin Brothers.

May 5, 2011

The JOFA 290 / 298

After discussing Denis Savard's JOFA 266 helmet, I found it appropriate to follow up with an overview of the JOFA 290. This helmet emerged after the JOFA 280, and was worn nearly exclusively by European players. You may tell from the photos, the JOFA 290 was a popular choice amongst international competition, especially Scandinavian teams, during the early 1990's. 

Notice above that Selanne's helmet has a different front piece than that of his famous JOFA 366 (JOFA 390 without ear protection), where the JOFA 290 has an "Armadillo" pattern on his forehead rather than the styled intakes of the later produced JOFA 366/390.

Here we have the JOFA 290 being worn by Niklas Lidstrom playing for Team Sweden, and Mats Sundin playing for Djurg√•rdens IF(black and white), early in their careers around 1990-92.

The visor that Selanne, Lidstrom, and Sundin are using is the JOFA 995 visor.  As I made note of this before, the JOFA 995 is the only visor that fits the JOFA 290-390 helmets without modification including the addition of custom mounting points.

The blue JOFA 290 helmet above is outfitted with a JOFA 267 cage, which was specifically designed for goaltenders. This image also reveals the sizing specifications, 290SR 6-3/4 - 7-3/8, which is identical to that of the JOFA 390 helmet.

Tommy Soderstrom, one of the finest goaltenders to come out of Sweden, wore this JOFA 298/267 combo during most of his career. Notice the photo of him playing for the Flyers looks as though he has stretched the cage out at the sides. I have not yet found a skater that has worn the JOFA 298 in the NHL; it seems that, given the choice, the pros preferred the JOFA 366 and 390 helmets.

Above is a Tommy Soderstrom's JOFA 298 with a JOFA 275 cage that he wore while playing with the Philadelphia Flyers. I will assume this particular helmet was worn early in his career considering his use of the JOFA 267 cage later on.

Today, the JOFA 290 is still being sold, well kinda. Reebok manufactures a junior helmet sharing styling traits with the JOFA 290, sold in Europe as the Reebok 1K.  Notice that the foam padding looks like styrene with mesh padding adhered to it, not the same as JOFA's traditional dual density, soft foam padding found in nearly all their helmets.