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 29, 2012

The JOFA 366 / Visir-ett

When I first began my interest in JOFA helmets, my goal was to own an actual JOFA 366; just like my favorite player, Teemu Selanne.  It took a long time, and a lot of effort, to finally get my hands on one of these! Shown is actually my second 366, the first one I found did not have a front bumper, which was quite a bummer (but gave me a chance to create a great template for creating super accurate modified helmets!).

But it wasn't without more searching, and a bit of luck, that I finally got my hands on a brand new, complete with packaging and hardware, JOFA half shield.  These half shields, from my experience, are nearly as difficult to find as the JOFA 366.

The thing that makes these half shields special, is that they fit on the JOFA 290/390/366 helmets perfectly without any need for adding mounting holes to accomodate a half shield. This particular half shield was said to have been obtained from obsolete equipment purchased by the Tampa Bay Lightning; a sticker dates it from 1995.

Here are some pictures of the JOFA Visir-ett packaging; which includes a vague diagram on how to properly install the half shield.  It comes with four wide head screws; two 9mm and two 7mm.  Also, it includes two black rubber washers; which with a little thinking (no thanks to the diagram), I realized were to fill the sunken holes, where the original screws went.  This apparently makes sure that there is no gap between the shield and the helmet, resisting the chance of cracking due to over tightening. 

When I got this helmet, a few parts were missing; one being the chin strap.  But since I have acquired quite a collection, and have helmet parts, including a bunch of removed straps from modified helmets, laying around; I trimmed and melted the edges of a new JOFA strap, and used my finest JOFA snaps to complete.  Notice that some snaps have little slits on the side of the dome, which you can see if you look very closely above. I'm not sure why some are like this, but they are more difficult to come across.

Finally pairing the JOFA 366 with an actual JOFA half shield really gave me a kick; this is by far my favorite helmet. I remember, as a kid, seeing this helmet, and thinking "that's the coolest helmet I've ever seen".  This is still true, I don't know of any other helmet that has such a beautiful, simple, yet complex, design.

So, for all you out there, who have wondered about the JOFA 366 (like God knows I have), here it is! I hope these pictures are what, some of you, have been searching for; I have not found any complete, high resolution pictures of the JOFA 366, so it is my honor to present them to the internet! Enjoy!

May 28, 2012

The JOFA 366 Prototype

Of all the JOFA helmets I have come across, this is the strangest and most mysterious of them all; this is the JOFA 366 prototype.  I say prototype because this, to my knowledge, has only been worn by pros; and may have been made custom by the factory. I have mentioned before that early model JOFA 366 helmets had a faux leather front bumper, such as this one; but they don't all have this type of padding, and other details I will mention.

To begin, it is immediately noticeable that the inner padding is made from soft beige rubber foam. But look closer; the front rivets holding the padding in place are absent, with no sign of removal.

Now this is where it gets really weird; the ear loops are made from faux leather. It is definitely a factory job, proven by the rivets holding it in place, and the snaps installed on both sides. Even more strange, the cut out for the ear goes over, and around, the embossed edge; where on later versions of the JOFA 366, the cut out leaves a little shelf above the ear.

Look closely, here you can see the rear bumper; notice it is also faux leather, stitched onto the helmet!

If anything proves this is factory made, and not some odd customization; the padding is cleanly cut to fit the form of the helmet, and avoid covering the vents. I wish I knew the story behind this helmet; as well as who used to own and use it!

From my research, I have seen the beige padding peeking out around the edges of JOFA 366's worn by the pros, but until I found this helmet, I didn't take much notice.  I was pleased to find that Mario Lemieux wore a helmet similar to this! Notice, though, in these pictures his ear loops are narrow plastic, even different from the standard JOFA 366; but you can see that the padding is the same, and that the rivets holding the front padding in place are absent.

 Another example shows Denis Savard, wearing a JOFA 366 without front rivets, and what seems to be beige padding around his forehead.

Last, here is Rick Tocchet, wearing a similar JOFA 366, with beige padding, faux leather ear loops and all.  On his helmet, the front rivets seem to be in place; and he also swapped out for a white chin strap.

With all the variations of this mystery helmet, my curiosity only strengthens.  Please comment if you have spotted a similar helmet, or own one; I would love to learn more.

May 26, 2012

Jaromir Jagr Signature JOFA 390

With avid eBay searching, you come across some things you just can't pass up.  Finding this new, Jaromir Jagr signed JOFA 390, with tags, certificate, and picture of him signing it, sold by a rather naive seller; I had to get it!

Here, scanned from an actual picture; Jagr signs the helmet with a silver metallic Sharpie.  Although everything is new on the helmet, it seems Jagr insisted on ripping of the 390 bumper; just as he did on all of his helmets.

Originally, the helmet was without a half shield; but with a little more searching, and patience, I found this lightly used pro stock vintage ITECH half shield.  You can tell it's pro stock by the logos, and the holes drilled into the sides for fixed mounting without straps.  

With a little more investigation, noticing that the pro stock shield doesn't fit without forcing the front piece to bend; I found Jagr, or his equipment managers, drilled a set of holes about a half inch forward so that the holes meet up properly.  So with careful measurements, knowing I won't be coming across another 15 year old pro stock ITECH shield any time soon, I drilled the holes and mounted the shield.  

This helmet will be a part of my collection for years to come; I have not seen another like it!

May 25, 2012

Teemu Selanne Olympic JOFA Helmet Modification

These helmets were inspired by the JOFA 297 helmet Teemu Selanne has worn for over a decade during Olympic and World Cup of Hockey tournaments.

After finding a brand new blue JOFA 390, and some practice with some other helmets (including the helmet I wear in men's league and pick up games); I modified the helmet using a 366 template that I adjusted for full ear loops.  I measured a Bauer helmet to pull the dimensions, making sure the modification is structurally strong, and safe to use.

The only thing left to do is find Suomi decals to finish it!  But living in the states, and having no luck via the web, has left the helmet bare.  Please comment if you have any knowledge how I could obtain these decals!

I trimmed the foam to clear the ear loop holes so that they can move inward without restriction.  I also carefully tapered the edges (a new technique which I have done with all my recently modified helmets), so that the padding does not grab or pinch when putting the helmet on.  It also helps with people, like myself, who wear glasses (yes, I know, it's crazy; I wear glasses while playing with a half shield).

Here I have done the same modification with a white helmet.  This helmet was used, but I refurbished it.  Since the rivets in this older model are silver, I used silver hardware to mount the visor. Also, notice the chin strap, made from the original strap; it has a silver snap and a white buckle (new-er models have black rivets, screws, and snaps).

I did this mod months ago, and during that time, I was unable to purchase white ear loops. Apparently pro teams buy them up, making them nearly impossible to purchase online. So, I just went ahead and installed some black Bauer loops.  I think it looks really cool, maybe even better than the white loops would look. I'm really happy with how this turned out; definitely one of the best mods I have ever done.

Teemu Selanne Rookie Helmet Modification

After finding some old CCM ear loops in my basement, I was inspired to do a Selanne rookie helmet modification.  All I had to find was an old ITECH aviator half shield, which I luckily got on eBay, attached to a JOFA helmet none-the-less.

I used old Selanne cards to determine the visor install. Also, I have always noticed that Selanne's early helmets always seemed to have ear loops that flipped out; I discovered why.  The design of the CCM ear loops causes the rubber to bend outward when installed, due to the points of mounting being closer together than the manufacturers intended.

It was difficult finding a white chin strap for some reason, so I settled with what I could find; and of course I swapped out the snap for a JOFA one.  I plan on replacing the chin strap with a CCM, when I find one.

Teemu Selanne JOFA 390/366 Modification

Using the same techniques as I outlined in my article, "Modifying the Reebok 3K L", I created this Teemu Selanne replica helmet.  Since I have not featured one of my refined Selanne mods, I thought I would share this with you.

This helmet is built as accurately as I could make it; without tearing one of my 366's apart (which is awfully tempting). I think this is sixth modification I ever did, and is shows if compared to my early work.

For parts, I swapped out the Oakley half shield spacers for Bauer spacers, still using Oakley hardware, used Bauer ear loops, and a hybrid of Bauer and CCM hardware to hold the padding in place.  One neat feature I like to add, in order to keep the helmet as JOFA as I can; I took the chinstrap off of the original helmet, and sewed it to create a handmade JOFA strap!