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.

May 6, 2011

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.


  1. Have you done this before successfully? If so, can you post photos of some of your modified helmets. This seems a bit too much for me.

  2. Absolutely, how else would I know how to do this? I plan on showing off my helmets on another post. I may also include step by step photos in the future, once I begin my next project.

  3. I figured you've done it in the past. This was a pretty knowledgeable post. A step by step, how-to may be more helpful. Also, would you ever consider modifying a helmet for someone for a fee?

  4. That's not a bad idea. So far I have only modified my own, and one of my friends, helmets; for free. I would have to figure out the parts/labor cost to let you know what that fee would be.

  5. Think about it. I could always buy the parts myself and ship them along with the helmet. Just throwing that idea out there.

  6. For a quote on customizing, modifying, or repair of your JOFA hockey helmet, or any other hockey helmet, email me at:

    Please describe your helmet and the parts you already have, as well as their condition, and I provide you an estimate. JPG picture files may also be helpful. Feel free to express questions or concerns about my service.

  7. Do you have a list of all the different Jofa models with pictures?

    If any other old goalie out there is interested...:
    I am getting a Jofa 390 (Rbk 3K) in carbon/kevlar and a modified "Irbe" cage to go with it.

  8. I'm working on it! I have a lot of new content to add, but I have been busy lately. By the way, where did you find a carbon fiber RBK 3K? I've never heard of such a thing! I suppose someone could make a mold and form them, but that seems extremely pricey!

    I'm currently selling some vintage JOFA 298 Goalie combos on eBay, check them out:

    They are not carbon fiber, but after examination and comparison with a JOFA 290 I have recently aquired, they are definitely made of a more durable plastic than other "player" JOFA helmets; also, there is extra padding in the forehead!

    Keep me posted on this goalie helmet you're getting! I would love to see it! You can always send pictures to me at , and I would be more than happy to post them.

  9. You are right. There is no off-the-shelf carbon/kevlar version of the 3K helmet so I am having one made. Not that pricey if you compare with a normal goalie mask.
    I'll send you a picture when it's ready.

  10. to remove the cage snap/dome screws from the original helmet is the most difficult part without harming it. i tried with a power drill, but the results where not the best... what experience did you have?

  11. i am looking to sell a 366 in red color, a 366 in blue color and a NOS 397 in blue color (teemu's olympic choice)..
    feel free to contact me for pics and offers or special modifying recquests..