Hockey Equipment 101– More Than a Pair of Skates
The biggest issue we encounter with new players or parents is the task of purchasing the right equipment. There are many different pieces and we now that it can feel overwhelming. For this reason we have designed this checklist to make it easy, fun and informative. There are many misconceptions about what is needed and not needed. This checklist will help you ensure that you or your child is adequately protected for the greatest game on earth. The two most important pieces of equipment is your helmet and skates. We always suggest that if you are going to spend an extra few dollars spend it in these areas.
If you play in an organized league you will be required to have a HECC and CSA approved helmet. These certification standards mean that the helmet has been tested and meets the minimum standards. We only carry approved helmets because we believe that no matter what age you are, your head is the most important part of your body. All players under the age of 18 are required to wear a cage or full shield. We have a hard time understanding why anyone would stop using a cage or full shield once they are no longer required too. We suggest using a half shield at the least, to protect your eyes, at any age.
Skates are the second most important piece of equipment. The biggest mistake we see is parents trying to buy a skate that is two sizes to big so their child can grow into them. Unfortunately this will hinder their skating ability and put them at a disadvantage.
Shin pads are designed to protect the knee and shin from collisions, sticks and pucks. You can wear shin pads two different ways; a slightly longer shin pad that cover the outside of the top of the skate or slightly shorter that slide in behind the tongue. There is no right or wrong way; it is all at the preference of the player.
Elbow pads protect you in two ways. The fist is to protect your elbow from hard falls and impacts with the boards and other players. The second is to protect your forearms from sticks and pucks.
Many people do not like shoulder pads as they used to be bulky and restrict movement. That is changing with some innovative designs. Shoulder pads are required for ice hockey except for adult non checking leagues. They are not required for roller hockey. Shoulder pads protect more than just your shoulders. Traditional shoulder pads will offer full body protection from your shoulders, to chest to the top of your arms. Newer styles are more like a shirt that fits snug and protects the chest and stomach only. These are designed for roller hockey.
Gloves protect your hands, fingers and wrists. Some gloves will fit tighter to the hand and others will fit fairly loose. Again, this is a personal choice.
Ice Hockey Pants
Ice hockey pants protect your thighs, hips and tailbone. More expensive pants will protect your lower back and kidneys also. Pants should fit comfortable around the waist and come down to the top of your shin pads.
Ice Hockey Socks
Socks are part of the uniform and cover the players shin guards. They are held in place with a garter belt or a jock short that have Velcro tabs for the socks to hook to.
Sticks, Shafts and Blades
Sticks range from an inexpensive wood stick to get started, to technological pieces of wonder. The options are more than plentiful. You can get a wood stick, composite stick or a composite shaft with a blade.
There are 2 different styles of jocks. The first is the old school jock strap with cup. The second is a loose or compression short with a cup built in with Velcro tabs on the thighs to hold up ice socks if needed.
Mouth pieces are becoming required in more leagues for players under 18. There are many different designs. Some styles are designed to protect from players from concussions or for players who wear braces to being gel moldable for the best in comfort.
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to HockeyX.com for this informative article.
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