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!

Mar 15, 2012

Teemu Selanne's JOFA Helmets

Paying homage to Teemu Selanne's 1400th career point, and his career in general, I present a collection of Selanne's JOFA helmets throughout the years. 

Below: Teemu celebrates his 1400th career point; a result of relentless hustle against the Red Wings.

Finnish Championship League - SM-liiga

1988-1992 Jokerit

Selanne wears a beautifully painted JOFA 366 with vintage CCM ear loops; complete with a JOFA half shield. His helmet is painted because he won the Aarne Honkavaara trophy for scoring the most goals during SM-liiga regular season play.

Team Finland - Suomi

1991 Canada Cup / IIHF World Championships

Selanne wearing a Kurri-style JOFA 51.234 helmet with a JOFA half shield; notice the install and the mounting slot on the visor. (Right) As depicted by his rookie card, Selanne wears a JOFA 290 with a JOFA half shield.  Note Selanne's disregard for chinstraps.

1992 Winter Olympics / Right: 1996 World Cup of Hockey

I would have not known this except for a Finnish trading card I have, but Selanne wore a JOFA 390 helmet with a JOFA half shield during the 1992 Winter Olympics. (Right) Selanne wears a well promoted JOFA 366 helmet with vintage CCM earloops and JOFA half shield.

2002 Winter Olympics

The JOFA 397 makes its debut; Selanne wears a full black ear loops and chinstrap, completed with an ITECH aviator half shield. Anyone know what the hell is RisiFrutti? Neither do I.

2006 Winter Olympics / Right: 2008 World Cup

Selanne wears his JOFA 397 helmet with a skinny, and oddly mounted (doesn't seem safe to me, and he's missing teeth) Oakley half shield with white decals. (Right) Wearing what is my personally favorite JOFA helmet setup; Selanne wears his JOFA 397 back piece with a new Reebok front; finnished (no pun inteded) with a more-safely mounted Oakley pro modified aviator half shield.

2010 Winter Olympics

After breaking his jaw, Selanne wore his JOFA/Reebok 397 with an Oakley aviator visor and ITECH jaw protector.

National Hockey League - NHL

1992-1996 Winnipeg Jets - NHL

After being drafted into the NHL, Selanne continues to wear his custom JOFA 366 with vintage CCM ear loops; however he trades in the JOFA half shield for an ITECH aviator. Notice his visor mounting; he seems to have an assortment of holes screws in his early years.

Here he uses a cleaner visor mounting option; using a horizontal visor mount utilizing the top slot in his half shield.

Look closely at these helmets.  They not only differ from his later JOFA 366's because of the faux leather forehead bumper, but the padding inside the helmet is beige! I'm not sure, but I believe that either early versions of the JOFA 366, or the pro stock version, has this type of padding. Not shown in these pictures; but the bumper on the back of the helmet is stitched faux leather, not the strip of rubber most of us are familiar with. I plan to feature one of my 366's that are similar to this soon!

In his later years with Winnipeg, Selanne begins to wear a JOFA 366 with the black foam padding inside. Also, in these pictures, you can see that he is using a "half-on-half-off" half shield mount, where the top holes go through the front piece of the helmet, while the bottom screws are mounted below, into the back piece. I really think his "wings" are funny in these years; the CCM ear loops naturally want to flip out when installed.

1996-2001 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - NHL

After being traded to the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Selanne continues to wear a JOFA 366, now with the more familiar "366" bumper than has become synonymous with his image. He trades in the funny looking CCM ear loops for a more refined Cooper/Bauer ear loop. I'm guessing these purple JOFA 366 helmets were made just for him; it would make no sense for JOFA to normally produce such a color.

Around 1998-1999, Selanne traded his old ITECH half shield for the, what used to be, state-of-the-art 1xcel aviator half shield

2001-2003 San Jose Sharks - NHL

After embarking on his experimental days playing for non-Anaheim teams; Selanne's first stop is a stone's throw away in San Jose. He keeps wearing his JOFA 366 bucket, now with new San Jose decals; but seems to remove the 1xcel decals from his half shield (could this be because of a sponsor issue?).

Sometime during the 2002-2003 season, Selanne tried out a Nike (Bauer/Cooper) helmet. This, until proved otherwise, was the only time he wore a non-JOFA helmet in regular season play.

2003-2004 Colorado Avalanche - NHL

After playing some of his lousiest seasons with San Jose (I blame his teammates), Selanne continues to struggle with scoring playing for the Avalanche during the year before the lockout. Oakley apparently bought 1xcel, so Selanne begins to wear a Oakley aviator half shield.

2005-2006 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim - NHL / Right: 2006-Present Anaheim Ducks

After his stint with San Jose and Colorado, Selanne returns to the Ducks. During his first season back, he scores 40 goals and 90 points in 80 games (told you, I blame his teammates!).  He begins to wear a short Oakley straight half shield. Notice the photo on the left; the Oakley decals are unexplainably red.


Due to licensing restrictions that disallowed the JOFA brand to be displayed in the NHL; the NHL, and probably Reebok, force Selanne to choose between continuing to wear his JOFA 366 helmet, or trading it in for a modern helmet. Selanne decides to simply remove the ink from the JOFA logos on his helmet, and with out words tells Reebok, "**** you!".

Selanne now wears an Oakley straight half shield, giving him more nasal protection than the short visor.


At the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, the NHL instates a new helmet number guideline, requiring players to wear their number on the front of their helmets, as well as the back. This apparently makes it easier for the officials and broadcasters to identify the players. I don't know if Selanne likes this change; considering he has not opted to change his helmet for his entire career!


1993 NHL All-Star Game / Right: 2000 NHL All-Star Game

It seems the All-Star Game is Selanne's favorite time to experiment with helmets! For his first NHL All-Star Game, Selanne wore an un-modified JOFA 366, with a 366 bumper (not faux leather), and surprisingly no trademark visor! (Right) Selanne wears a red JOFA 366 with All-Star decals and a 1xcel aviator half shield; it's hard to make out, but it looks like the bumper reads 390 - I wonder if he had this helmet modified!

2003 NHL All-Star Game

Now for a truly rare sight; Selanne wore a CCM HT852 helmet with an Oakley aviator half shield during the 2003 NHL All-Star Game! Traitor? Naw, I would guess there was some sort of endorsement by CCM that required him to give up his JOFA 366 for a night. (Right) Selanne warmed up during the 2007 NHL All-Star Game wearing a modern Reebok helmet and no visor. I believe he switched back to his JOFA during the actual game.

So there you go! The history of Teemu Selanne's JOFA helmets! 
Please comment with links to better pictures, missing pictures, or other varieties I may have missed! I really hope you Selanne fans out here enjoy this!

And, of course, keep it up Teemu! One more season! At least!