Choosing appropriate hockey gear is crucial for players to enjoy the sport safely. With players becoming increasingly faster and stronger, proper gear can prevent serious injuries. With high prices on many items, it’s important to find safe but cheap hockey equipment.
Look for equipment certified by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC). HECC certified equipment may be required to play in some areas. The necessary hockey gear typically includes a minimum of:
- A helmet with face mask
- Mouth guard
- Shoulder pads
- Elbow pads
- Knee pads
- Shin pads
- Ice skates
Although the list of equipment is long, it’s important to be well-protected. Most organized leagues and school teams will require players to wear a minimum amount of gear for the player’s safety.
A helmet and facemask should be HECC-approved. These protect a player’s face, skull, and most importantly their brain. Younger players should pick a helmet with a full cage facemask or full visor for the most protection. When buying one, size it correctly with the player’s head. The chinstrap should always be secured during play.
A mouth guard protects a player’s teeth and tongue. The guard prevents a player from biting down on their tongue and grinding their teeth together while playing. Most styles come attached to the helmet or facemask. More expensive custom-fit models may be bought from a dentist.
The various kinds of pads protect players from being injured after a fall, check, or from a flying puck. Buying the right size for the player will allow them to move around but still be guarded from injury. Ensure that they fit the player securely and do not slide up and down the body when the player is moving.
Pick skates that fit the feet properly. At most, allow no more than a half inch of extra space for future growth. Any more space than that will make it difficult to control the skates and can lead to a fall. Skates should have support around the ankles and toes for players to be able to skate effectively. Always let them dry out after being used.
Although choosing a hockey stick depends upon personal preference, select a stick that extends from the player’s chin to the ice when they have skates on. A larger stick will be difficult for a player to control accurately. The style and price of a stick can vary significantly. Players should pick one that they feel comfortable shooting and skating with.
Goalies have gear with a different style. More padding is needed to play the position. Goalies should look for specialized gear such as:
- Chest protector
- Catching glove
- Goalie skates
- Stick glove
- Stomach protector
- Throat protector
Goalie equipment may come as a part of a set. A goalie’s gear should be stored in an upright position after use. Because it is heavier and bulkier, it needs a longer period of time to dry out than normal hockey gear does.
Depending on whether the player is a girl or boy, a sports bra or protective cup may be necessary for all players as well.
Underwear and jerseys should be washed after every use. Some pads may be machine washable and should be cleaned on a regular basis. This will prevent bacteria and unpleasant odors from building up.
Players should inspect their equipment before each game. Breaks, cracks, or rips can lead to serious injury. Purchase replacement equipment instead of taping or creating a makeshift fix.
A player’s age and how serious they are about hockey will help to determine what quality of equipment to buy. Amateur and young players may not need premium hockey gear unless they are competing in a serious league. Basic and cheap hockey equipment is suitable for most beginning players.
Choose retailers with a wide selection of equipment. Taking the time to go into a sports retailer and try on different styles and brands of hockey gear can be helpful. Shoppers should be willing to comparison shop for the best discounts. Often Internet websites can search through hundreds of retailers at the same time.
When it comes to purchasing the equipment, be sure to understand the return policies. Cheap hockey equipment is suitable for children and beginning players, but serious enthusiasts may have specific brands of equipment that they want.
As with any other item of clothing, break the hockey equipment in a little bit before using it in a game. Wear it while skating. Buying new gear and expecting to be able to play a game in it immediately will be difficult. It can also lead to blisters or other signs of discomfort.
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