Hockey goalie masks are designed to protect the head of the goalkeeper from injury. The first goalkeeper mask was made from fiberglass and designed by Jacques Plante in 1959. Modern masks are still made from fiberglass, but they have undergone extensive upgrades to further protect the goalie and enhance their ability to play.
The introduction of a goalie mask has greatly changed the way that goalkeepers play hockey. Since they have adequate protection, they can fall on their knees without the risk of a puck hitting their face. Prior to the helmet introduction goalies would stay standing as much as possible to avoid getting hit. However, the majority of puck saves can only be done while the player is on their knees because it provides a larger buffering space. It is very difficult to block an incoming puck shot by just using your hockey stick, so helmets have made goalies much more valuable players.
A goalkeepers suit is very different compared to his hockey player teammates. Not only is the mask different, the hockey sticks and protection pads are also different because the goalie is more injury-prone compared to other players. Pucks are fairly small, but their high traveling speeds make them extremely dangerous. Without the proper protection a moving puck could easily give a concussion or lacerate the face.
Although early helmet designs greatly protected the face, they did not provide complete protection until recently. In the past, hockey players who got hit by a puck could still experience lacerations and concussions. Thankfully, modern designs and materials have allowed helmets to be designed in a far safer and more efficient fashion. If a player does get hit in the head, they will probably experience slight discomfort compared to a severe concussion. However, wearing a mask does not guarantee 100% safety for a goalie, and some players have still experienced concussions if the puck is traveling too quickly.