Fitting and Selecting Hockey Protective Gear: New vs. Used, Advice for Men, Women and Children.by Scott Noble
Apr 20, 2004 (Updated Feb 23, 2006) Write an essay on this topic.
Popular Products in Sport and OutdoorThe Bottom Line Make sure the gear fits and is appropriate for your level of play.
Picking out that important first set of gear when making the decision to take up the sport of kings can be difficult . . . what, the sport of kings is war? As tough as picking out gear for an army might be, I was actually referring to hockey, the sport of . . . hockey players. Well, it can all be a bit confusing, I mean geez, this is a testosterone driven, high impact sport where players wear stockings and garters. How could it not be confusing?
The problem lies in the fact that all this gear makes about as much sense to a newcomer as the internal combustion engine does to my mom. The first confusing issue is simply a case of what do you need, the second is how should it fit. Well, that first issue is a pretty easy answer than will be outlined in a little thing I like to call the table of contents. The second part of the question . . . well youll have to dig in to find those answers. Lastly, I will touch briefly on what you might consider buying used or new.
At the end of each section will be an italicized section on what to look for in kids gear italicized so shoppers looking for grown ups advice can skip them, not so people looking for advice fitting kids can skip to them. There will be relevant information in the non-italicized sections for everyone. I will touch on what amount of growing room is appropriate and any items that you might be able to buy used or a little cheaper model without sacrificing safety.
Here is that aforementioned laundry list of things you need (a.k.a. - the Table of Contents):
1. Sizing Rules (dont walk into the hockey shop and ask for one of these, this is a section on the confusing hockey sizing system, not a measuring device to check the goalies pads).
3. Shoulder Pads
4. Elbow Pads
7. Shin Guards
8. Hockey Bag
9. Other Odds and Ends (I know that one isnt too specific, but it will be explained in detail and Im hoping the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat until this articles exciting end. There is some important stuff in there!)
10. How to take care of your investment
11. Obviously you will need skates and a stick too. Follow the links to my articles on selecting these items as well: Hockey Skate buying demystified, Hockey Stick Buying Guide
Basic Sizing Rules
One of the most confusing things in hockey sizes is that there are actually three sizing tiers . . . well four if we get technical. Childrens sizes are broken down into two basic groups Youth and Junior. Of these, youth is the smallest size and is sometimes called child (this wasnt already confusing enough I guess).
From there most items go right to adult, however there are a few items that also come in intermediate sizes. Intermediate sizing for forwards will apply primarily to sticks. This size is generally geared towards players who are in the 100 to 150 pound range.
The basic rules of sizing apply to shoulder pads, elbow pads, pants and bags. Helmets come in less of a variety of sizes with most children staring in XS size although there are a few child specific models for even smaller heads.
Gloves and shin pads come in inches. Gloves run from 8 to 15 in size. Shin pads go from about 7 up to the 18 ballpark on the long size. (18 would be long enough for most NBA players I think).
Lastly there are a few brands that will use a numbering system for shoulder pads and elbow pads. This is apparently a European system and is slightly confusing as well. Koho and Jofa use this system which runs in sizes from 1 to about 9 (1 being the smallest, 9 biggest).
And lastly (I was kidding last time I wrote lastly), some pants will also use a European system rather than the more typical small, medium, large. Easton, Tackla and Graf number their pants. No one who is still living actually knows how this numbering system works, but I will try to explain. Kids pants run from 120 to 180 in size. Adult pants are sized from 46 to 58. Weird how the bigger pants have a smaller numbering system, huh?
Anyway, a 46 is an adult XS, 58 adult XXL. A 120 is about a youth large or junior small. A 180 is a junior Large to XL. The numbers in-between you will have to decipher.
Helmets models, much like skates, all have slightly different shapes, some wider than others. It is just as imperative that helmets fit well as it is for skates to fit properly. Sore feet are not a good thing, but sore brains are almost universally considered worse. I guess the only people who dont worry about brain injuries anymore are those who dont have much in that department to protect . . . natural selection at work?
Anyway, back to the helmet. Lids come in a variety of colors shapes and sizes. They generally come in XS, S, M, L and the somewhat rare XL. There are two things to pay close attention to when trying helmets on: first, as previously mentioned, the width of the helmet; second, the length. Hmm, that seems pretty obvious, so let me build on that. The length of hockey helmets is adjustable.
Wandering about the shop trying on 12 helmets in various sizes, brands and models in random states of size adjustment will only leave you frustrated and wondering if you have an off sized head that helmet makers simply ignored. Always make sure that you get help fitting a helmet, as most of them require a screwdriver for adjustment. Once you have a properly adjusted helmet, the length part, you will only have to pay particular attention to the width. Again, just like skates, some helmets will have hot spots. Try on a few different types before settling on one.
Helmets also come in a number of different levels of quality. The most basic helmets are a single density Vinyl Nitrate liner (sometimes referred to as bicycle helmet foam). This is yellow or tan foam and offers the lowest level of protection.
The next level would be a dual density foam liner. Dual density helmets usually have a two-part hard and soft foam liner that is grey or black in color. These offer adequate protection for most casual players.
The best helmets currently made utilize a material called EPP foam. This is a lightweight material that appears to be dark Styrofoam. EPP lined helmets will always have a softer foam or gel liner that contacts the players head for comfort. While at first glance EPP would seem a cheap and inferior material, it actually offers the highest level of protection.
My recommendation for adults is EPP or dual density. Go with what is more comfortable though, not whats cheaper. I would never buy a used helmet. Of all the gear you buy, the helmet is relatively inexpensive and far too important to try to save money on. Also, helmets have an effective life of about 3 or 4 years.
If you do decide to purchase a used helmet, make certain that it has HECC and CSA stickers are on it. This will certify that it is an ice hockey approved helmet and more importantly the HECC sticker will have an expiration date. This date will indicate how much life the padding has before it loses its pliability and becomes unsafe. It the stickers are missing or there is no date, pass on the helmet. Kids under 18 will need the sticker to use the helmet in games in Canada and many U.S. leagues. Lastly, check all of the screws. If they are rusty it demonstrates that the helmet has many miles on it. Doing things that should be simple, like replacing a mask might be nearly impossible.
With kids, helmets are an item that should normally last a few seasons because of the adjustability. For very small children however, this might not be possible. Itech currently makes the smallest helmets on the market that can be fitted with a hockey cage and these are not adjustable.
In most cases however you will want to put children into the largest helmet size that still offers a snug fit. Make sure that the helmet does not move on their head once adjusted. If it is loose enough to move, it wont do the job and you will need to go down a size.
Also with small children the need for EPP foam is not as high a requirement. Single or dual density foam may suffice for some children because the levels of impacts and speed of play are significantly lower. However, it is your childs brain so I will have to let you be the judge of how much protection they really need.
Shoulder pads are meant to protect the shoulders . . . no really they are! OK, there was a reason that I mention that. Several years back, shoulder pads obviously existed solely for that purpose. Lately they have gotten a little more dual purpose in covering the belly and back of players as well. However, when looking at them dont lose sight of the primary goal of shoulder protection.
Shoulder pads come in typical small, medium, large type of sizes. They will generally be about the same size you would wear in a shirt. The main thing to keep in mind when trying on shoulder pads is the actual location of the shoulder cups. If they arent lining up well with your shoulders, they arent going to do much for you.
Comfort would be the next issue. None of them will make you trade in your favorite tee shirt as a daily wear option, but some will certainly feel better than others do. If you are only playing recreational hockey, the shoulder pad is an item on which you dont need to spend a huge amount of money. This is good because the lighter models are generally more comfortable than the expensive heavy duty ones are.
The beefy models that cost more, weight more and arent as comfortable are intended for players who will be taking crushing body checks. In adult hockey there are very few checking leagues, and trust me if you are taking up hockey anywhere after your mid twenties, there is plenty of opportunity to get hurt without going to a checking league.
There are a number of guys that play without shoulder pads in pick up skates and recreational league games that I regularly attend. (Once in a while they get nailed by someone who is skating too fast with their head down like me - and change their opinion on the importance of shoulder pads).
I for one highly recommend them having never broken my shoulder while wearing a pair. I have broken my shoulder twice, once while playing goalie (in really cheap gear) and once while playing football with no shoulder pads. From my two experiences, I can assure you that a broken shoulder is not fun. In fact it even hurts somewhat.
So the bottom line is, get a light pair unless you are in a checking league. The back and belly protection doesnt really need to be that substantial for recreational players either. Unless you know that by your nature that you will lay in front of shooters and take one for the team often, you wont really benefit from the added weight or price.
Womens shoulder pads are a little different from mens. They offer a different cut in the chest area, to help protect womens different shaped chests. There is also a bit more padding in that general vicinity as rumor has it, blows from flying pucks to a womans chest can be quite painful.
Used shoulder pads can be a bit fragrant . . . and I mean that in the worst possible way. If you do find a good pair that fits at a reasonable price, they are one of the items that I would still recommend as sound to purchase used. Check the straps and Velcro as they are often complicated and a missing or broken strap might elude the casual glance. The straps and Velcro are among the first things to wear out. Are they all stretchy still and does the Velcro attach firmly? Lastly make sure there are no cracks in the shoulder caps.
For kids shoulder pads can be a bit more complicated. Still, sizing is still pretty straightforward. You can expect to get a season or two out of them at the most for younger kids and rapidly growing teens. Size them in the biggest set that they can move their arms in without impairments, but make certain that their shoulders are inside the cups.
Bauer and Koho make some models that incorporate extra adjustments allowing you to widen the space between the shoulder cups as children grow. These would be my first choices as you will get a little better fit and possibly a somewhat longer time frame before they will need a new set.
The real confusion lies in what level of padding to buy. Younger children need very little in the way of shoulder protection, however a pad with good belly and back coverage will often help them with confidence. When kids start playing full contact hockey it gets a bit more complicated. Certainly they will need more protection at this level.
If you know what position your child is playing, it can be helpful in the selection. Forwards generally go with a middle of the road set of shoulder pads. They need good protection, but comfort, lightness and unhampered shooting ability will be higher priorities. I like the Bauer Vapor line and Nike V-10 and V-12 line for forwards. Defensemen will bulk up, picking the most comprehensive protection they can find. For Defensemen, Jofa makes great pads, and Bauers Supreme 5000s are very nice.
The models that I mentioned might only give you an idea of a starting spot. They might not fit your player perfectly, but other brands with similar features and construction are available.
Some gear is meant to protect you from chance disasters (face masks, pants), other gear protects you from your fellow players (shin guards, shoulder pads), but elbow pads are probably the most important for new players because they protect you from yourself. Imagine this, you are playing in your first game and fall down. Hard to believe I am sure, but you will fall down. You will fall forward, sideways, backwards and in ways that you didnt know were invented yet.
In my vast personal experience with falling down (both on and off the ice) I managed to break my arm (off the ice). Falling backwards, I landed on my elbow. After six hours of surgery, I now have a six-inch scar and an arm that does not quite fully extend. Surprisingly I had this injury when I was much smaller, a mere 120 pound beanstalk. Hence, at 200 pounds and still falling from time to time, I like elbow pads . . . a lot
Thus, in choosing elbow pads color is of course the most important fact . . . no wait thats jersey selection . . . fit and comfort are very important in elbow pads. Further the style of the elbow pads is also important. Old school elbow pads used a rubber doughnut to keep the elbow from taking the impact of a fall. I would recommend the newer designs, which have a plastic cap. Sometimes it is hard to tell them apart since the plastic is often covered by fabric so you might need to feel the pads to determine what type they are.
Elbow pads come in the standard small, medium, large format. Make sure when trying them on that they fit tightly enough to not twist on your arms. This is the most common complaint of people looking for new elbow pads, they twist around, or my old pair slides on my arm. Obviously if they dont stay put, they wont work properly. Also pay attention to how they affect your arm flex. They should be protective, not inhibitive.
Elbow pads come in a number of different lengths and levels of coverage. Again for a recreational player, you wont likely be getting slashed and hacked with the stick too much so you dont need the top end coverage. I would go with a middle of the road pad that gives good elbow protection and leaves only a small gap between the glove and elbow pads. You can always add slash guards later if you are getting tagged beneath the glove.
Elbow pads would be a borderline decision on buying used. They will likely stink from whoever used them and they do rest directly against the players skin. I wouldnt buy them used for the risk of exotic flesh eating bacteria, but maybe Im just a coward when it comes to flesh eating bacteria.
When looking at used elbow pads, make sure that the plastic elbow cups arent cracked. As with shoulder pads, check the straps and Velcro for damage and elasticity. Lastly, make certain that there is still pliability in the padding.
For kids, the same fitting process should be used. Check to make sure that there is not a big gap between their gloves and elbow pads. At the same time there should be enough clearance that the two arent bumping each other.
Elbow pads will only last a season or two at the most because they need to fit tight and still be comfortable. For this reason, used elbow pads might be a little more realistic option for young players. I would still be somewhat cautious of used elbow pads. Unless you find a pristine pair that didnt get used more than a few times, put you kids in a long sleeve shirt under the elbow pads or have them cleaned (more info on cleaning in caring for your gear).
Along with your helmet, gloves are the one of the two pieces of protective gear that people will see when you are playing. Heres where you can express yourself by buying the most tricked out looking pair on the shelf, right? Well thats one way you could go. Still there are some other issues you might want to consider.
The cheapest gloves have fabric backs. However, these wont last as long, nor will they offer the same level of protection as gloves with a synthetic or real leather backing. Still, that shouldnt crimp any plans for those flash gloves, the fabric ones dont look cool at all.
However, comfort might be an issue with gloves. The palms are actually the most important part of any pair of hockey gloves. There are a couple reasons that this is true. First the palm is what will make a glove comfortable or not. Second, it is the part of a pair of hockey gloves that is most prone to wear. Make sure that the gloves you buy have reinforced palms as this is the weakest spot in any glove.
Calfskin is a pretty common material and is semi-comfortable and fairly durable. This isnt a bad option for a first pair of gloves. Nash is a somewhat more upscale choice offering the best in both comfort and durability. Interestingly there are some entries lately that use goatskin and kangaroo skin which supposedly have natural anti-bacterial properties and will not develop hockey stench. These options, as you might imagine, are very expensive.
Gloves are sized in inches, a few brands using ½-inch increments, but for the most part full inches. They should fit so the players fingers come to the end of each finger in the glove. Make sure that they are comfortable when opening and closing your hand. Try them with a stick before making a final decision since thats how you will use them. If you plan on getting in a lot of fights, its always good to make sure that the gloves come off easily . . . also its good to be aware that fighting isnt really a sanctioned part of recreational hockey and you will be fined and/or thrown out of the league in many cases.
Eagle currently makes the most comfortable gloves so you might want to try a pair on to know what you are missing. Missing? you say, Why wouldnt I just buy a pair of Eagle gloves if theyre that great? Well, they are also the most expensive gloves running in the ballpark of $150 a pair. You can get a very nice pair of gloves for half that amount and easily find passable gloves for 1/3 that cost.
I like Missions M-2 gloves which are towards the low end of the price spectrum at about $60 a pair. Ferlands F-550 is another low price glove that I like - they arent the most comfortable, but are quite durable. The Ferland gloves are about $45 a pair. However, like so many other things, your personal fit will be the most important factor.
Used gloves are another item that I would not personally purchase. Even my own gloves have a stink that doesnt wash off easily after an hour on the ice, but at least it was my stink to start with so I can take some level of comfort in that fact.
If you do decide to go with used gloves pay particular attention to the palms. If there are any holes or worn stitching in the palms it will rapidly get worse. Also inspect the stitching all the way around the palm and fingers making sure that it is intact. Problems at the gussets, the lowest point between the fingers, are also common. Having a pair of gloves re-palmed costs about $50, so repairing an inexpensive pair isnt a very viable option. If you dont mind stitching by hand, some loose seams might not be a big problem. I have sewn my goalie gloves on a number of occasions.
For kids, size gloves by giving them no more than a half inch of growing space at the end of the fingers. Most kids will get a couple seasons from a pair of gloves before outgrowing them. One thing that is important, especially with younger children is to make certain that they can pick up a stick with their gloves on. This is an excellent test to make sure that the gloves arent too big
If you are trying to decide on long or short pants, let me make that decision easy. Long pants are for inline hockey and people will be cruel if you wear them to play ice hockey. They might not knock you over. They might not even make comments in front of you. However, you will be forever branded with the moniker Roller Dude or Inline Pants behind your back and thus, somehow inferior.
Pants come in a couple different basic styles. European style pants are slightly less padded and appear to be a little longer than North American style pants are. Tackla and Graf are two of the European style brands. North American pants in comparison are much more protective and appear more bulky. CCM and Bauer would be the two basic names in North American pants. A few brands are starting to blend the styles a little, Itech being the best example. Their pants are streamlined but filled with great padding.
As far as one being better than the other style, it is more of an issue of personal preference. Speedy, shifty skaters often prefer Euro pants as they give a little added freedom when skating. American pants would benefit hard-hitting players who like a little more coverage.
A first pair of hockey pants doesnt need to be the best on the market by a long shot. As previously mentioned you will be falling down, so do look for a pair that has some tailbone padding. Unless you are going right to the top level of your recreational league (good luck with that) you wont really need the added padding in the front that a higher priced pair of pants will get you. I wouldnt go with the cheapest pants simply because the thickness of nylon is often poor and they deteriorate quickly. But a second tier pair will generally hold up well and have sufficient protection for recreational skaters.
Pants should fit tight enough around the waist that you dont need suspenders to hold them up. Some guys like them a little looser and do wear suspenders, but that is something of an old school fit. The length of the pants is the most important factor as you dont want a gap at your knees. They should come at least to the top of the knee and no lower than mid knee. It is good to try them on with shin guards just to make sure that there is no gap, and you can bend your knees without the pants and shin guards bunching up.
Missions M-2 pants are one of the best deals on the market for new players offering good protection at a reasonable price. Also, Itechs 7000 pants are a nice step up from the basic pants. They are still affordable and are a pair that you will never have to upgrade later.
Womens pants are slightly different from mens pants. They are cut to fit better on a womans wider hips (thats proportionately wider in compared to her waist hips). Can you tell Im married, Im worried some woman will be upset that I caller her hips wider than mine. Point is they are made to better fit a womans lovely curves and also offer a bit more padding in the hip area. Besides pants and Shoulder pads, women generally use the same gear as men.
Good news, pants are something that you can buy used without too much worry about recycled bacteria. Hockey pants fit looser than normal pants and arent worn next to the skin. Pants are also unlikely to be horribly deteriorated. If you go with a used pair, check the condition of the shell, looking for rips and tears on the outside. Check the lining to make certain that no plastic parts have torn through. Make sure the belt is in good condition (although if this is the only issue, a new belt is only a few bucks). Lastly feel all the plastic pads inside and make certain that none of them are cracked or broken.
Kids pants should come to the middle of the knee to allow room for growth. For children it might be impossible to find a pair that the waist and the length fit in a manner that allows them to play without suspenders. If they do need to use suspenders, make certain that they wear their suspenders under their shoulder pads. This keeps the shoulder cups from shifting and inviting injury.
With children it is imperative that they size pants with shin guards. This ensures that they get the longest pants possible without running into conflicts where the shin guards get caught in the pant legs. Itechs 1000 pants are a nice affordable pant for young players as are the Mission M-2. Players in checking leagues will want to upgrade to a more protective pant. CCMs 1052 and 852 pants are very protective.
There are two ways to wear shin guards: over the skate tongue or under it. I would highly recommend that new players get used to wearing shin guards over the skate tongue as it is much easier on skates. Wearing them under the tongue not only miss-shapes the tongue, it can also affect the skate fit.
Shin guards come in one-inch increments ranging from 7 to about 18. Shin pads should come to just above the top of the foot (in shoes) with the players knee directly in the knee cup. Keep in mind that there is a flap above the knee cup to protect the thigh (I have seen people trying on shin guards thinking the thigh flap is where the knee goes). If you can try them on with skates, this is even better.
The front of the shin guard is the most important factor. This is also an item that you might not want to skimp on too much. The shins take a good deal of punishment from sticks and pucks. While most of them will keep you from getting hurt, cheaper shin guards have a tendency to crack, often within the first couple of months usage.
Straps come in a variety of configurations and arent as important as they might seem. I personally use a pair with three straps, but most players dont care if they have any straps on their shin guards. Why? Hockey socks and sock tape hold the shin guards in place. The straps are something of a bonus, or hassle depending on your point of view.
Some Pads come with a bit more protection on the back than others. While substantial back of the leg protection is only important for player who are perpetually lost and often have their back to the play, it is an option on both high and low end pads. However the most important feature is the density of the padding inside the kneecap. There should be a doughnut in the knee and some sort of foam padding beneath the doughnut. Press your thumb in there and decide if you want that protecting your knee or not.
Used shin pads are again an idea that I would not highly recommend. The shin guards go directly against the skin and can be one of the foulest smelling things on the planet. If you do go with used shin guards, check for cracks in all the plastic. Make sure that the lining is intact and the padding is all still pliable. Straps as mentioned are a bonus, so are not a huge factor in used shin guards. If they are bad just remove them.
Children will need to get used to wearing shin guards over the tongue as well. This will give them a little extra room for growth as shin pads worn over the tongue can be a little longer than those worn under it can. Try a couple brands before making a decision. Even though they are sized in inches, one companys inch is not quite the same as anothers inch is. Be careful not to go too long, or the guards will ride up with each stride rubbing the knee and driving your skater crazy.
As with adults, the cheapest shin guards might not last a full season for young players. It is better to spend an extra $5 or $10 than to have to repeat the entire $30 investment in mid season. I would go with the second from the bottom of any manufacturers line as the shin pad of choice for younger children. With kids playing checking leagues, it is time to upgrade towards the top end shin guards. Bauer 5000 and Jofa 9000 series are among the best bets for Bantams and Midgets.
Bags come in a variety of styles and sizes. The most basic bag is a single compartment, large duffle bag. Some nice features you can find on the duffle bags are end pockets, and skate pockets and vents to help gear dry. I prefer a bag with a couple pockets to make things easier to find.
Roller bags are becoming popular, especially with children. Hockey gear can be heavy and is unwieldy for the little guys (and gals). Adults should be aware, roller bags are frowned upon by die-hard hockey players and eventually someone will make unkind remarks in your presence. Roller bags are also notorious for breaking more quickly than regular bags do.
Backpacks are another option that seems to be gaining in popularity. Again, these are more popular with younger players. Backpacks are also popular with inline players.
Bag size should go with your basic equipment size, youth, junior, intermediate, senior. Still they will come in a variety of sizes within those basic frameworks. Look at a few, get one that has the features you like.
Other items you will need
Practice Jerseys are a must. If you are playing drop in hockey you will need a dark and a white jersey. Plain colors with no numbers or logos are fine and will cost about $10 - $20 each. Avoid Yellow and Grey as no one will know what team you are on and the goalie will tackle you for no apparent reason. They run a little bigger that normal shirts so picking the same size as your tee-shirt size will normally fit over your pads. Team jerseys are alright as well, but understand that your official NHL jersey wont look too great at the end of a season of real use. Jerseys get torn and cut regularly in a game.
A Jock, for the ladies - a Jill, is important. I would go with one of the new style jocks that are built into a pair of shorts. The nice thing with these is that you wont need to wear a garter to hold up your hockey socks. If you do go with a standard all-purpose jock, you will have to buy a garter. The all in one jock shorts come in several varieties but all run in the $20 to $30 range.
Hockey Socks are not really socks. They are more like leg warmers. They are basically tubes that are open at either end and serve the major purpose of covering your shin guards. You will need a garter or hockey jock shorts to hold them up.
I would also recommend a thin pair of performance socks to wear on your feet. Under Armour, Nike Dry-Fit and Wigwam Footliners
are a few I would recommend.
You will need a roll of black and/or white cloth tape for your stick. I prefer black on the blade as it makes the puck a little harder for opponents to see. Some guys prefer friction tape which is sticky on both sides. Also, most players use clear tape over their hockey socks to give a tight fit to their shin pads.
If you select a wood stick (which I would recommend for novice players) it is a good idea to wax the tape on the blade. This will keep your stick from getting waterlogged. It will add to the longevity of the blade.
Extra Laces are an important thing to keep in your bag. Laces can deteriorate quickly when people step on them with sharp skate blades. Nothing is more annoying than getting suited up to play and breaking a lace with no replacement in sight.
A Performance Tee such as Under Armour, WSI or Nike Dry-Fit will keep you much more comfortable on the ice than a cotton tee shirt.
Slash Guards are not a requirement but if you are getting hacked between the glove and the elbow pads they are something to consider.
A neck guard isnt a bad idea. This is a simple Kevlar wrap that had a small amount of padding in it. They wont protect you from pucks, but they will keep a skate or stick from cutting your neck. Most Canadian leagues require neck protection for players under 18. A few leagues in the United States might require this as well.
Taking Care of the Investment
It is very important to allow your gear to dry out. Wet gear will not only be less pleasant to play in, but invites all sorts of nasty bacteria to grow. Bacteria are what makes the gear stink, but can also pose a health risk causing sometimes serious skin rashes.
If you live in a dry climate, drying is as simple as taking things out of the bag and hanging them up. My gear dries in about 12 hours in the dry climate of Colorado. If you live in a more humid environment, think about purchasing a gear drier. It is best to use little or no heat when drying gear as heat will cause leather and most synthetics to break down more quickly.
Another good idea is to have your gear cleaned a couple times a year. Esporta.com has a list of their sports gear cleaning locations. I just got the free hookup for my goalie gear from Colorado Clean Gear and can tell you that this is an outstanding service. My entire garage smells fresh and clean four weeks later. This is an especially nice service for used gear.
If you do have minor damage to your gear that is repairable take it to your local hockey shop or fix it yourself as soon as possible. Minor issues can grow quickly and become expensive repair jobs.
If there is one theme in selecting protective gear it would have to be proper fit. Make sure for children to be careful not to give them too much room for growth as poor fitting equipment can be unsafe, and at the very least will be uncomfortable. If your children arent having fun, your money was not well spent.
Hopefully this article has been helpful to you. Please check out my other articles on the links that follow. I will see you on the ice soon. Ill be that big guy coming at you with my head down skating really fast, so be careful out there!
© 2005 Scott Noble All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
You might also enjoy my book on hockey, Hockey for Weekend Warriors. Click here to read the reviews.
A few of my other links that you might find helpful:
Fitting Goalie Gear
Goaltending 101: So you think you want to be a goalie, eh?
Ice Hockey Goaltending 102: First Day Between the Pipes
Goaltending 201: The Fine Art of Cheating
Fitting and Selecting Hockey Protective Gear
Hockey Skate buying demystified
How to Care for Skates
Hockey Stick Buying Guide
Hockey Mask and Cage Buying Guide
Player Helmets & Masks
Bauer 5000 Helmet
CCM 1052 Helmet
Hefter Evolution Helmet
Itech HC100 Helmet
Mission Carbster Helmet
RBK 8K Helmet
Shields and Masks
Itech FX 50 Facial Protection
Oakley Aviator Visor
AFR makes it easier to see . . . or makes you stupid?
Itech Helmet Shield Bag
Bauer Vapor 4 Elbow Pads
Bauer 3000 Elbow Pads
Koho 4460 Elbow Pads
Mission Sub 0 Elbow pads
Nike V-10 Elbow Pads
Nike V-14 Elbow Pads
Bauer Flak Shoulder Pads
Bauer Vapor X Act Shoulder Pads
Jofa Shoulder Pads
Koho 4460 Shoulder Pads
CCM 852 Gloves
CCM 452 Radioactive Gloves
CCM 452 Gloves
Graf HG700 Gloves
Koho 4440 Gloves
Mission M-2 Gloves
Oakley Mace Gloves
Salming PG1 Gloves
Bauer 3000 Hockey Pants
Graf 700 Hockey Pants
Itech HP 7000 Hockey Pants
Mission M-2 Hockey Pants
Tackla 9000 Hockey Pants
Jofa 9040 Shin Pads
Koho 4460 Shin Pads
Mission Warp Sub Zero Shin Pads
Nike V-10 Shin Pads
CCM Outcast Inline Skates
Mission D-2 Inline Skates
CCM 1152 Wheel Bag
CCM Puck Bag
Easton Sniper Stick Bag
ITECH BG1500XL Hockey Bag
Nike Team USA Hockey Bag
RBK 5K Hockey Bag
Sherwoood 1355 Hockey Bag
Adidas Transition Clima Crew
Bauer TUUK Custom
Bauer Protec Toe
CCM Hockey Socks
CCM Neck Guard
Donjoy SE-4 Legend Knee Brace
Easton Top Shelf Stick Wax
The Folding Lace Tightener Almost cool since its easier to hide
Hockey Suspenders make it easier to skate and score!
Itech Jock Garter
Jaybird Hockey Friction Tape
Mylec Sharp Shooter How can a goalie that skinny be so good?
Practice Cone? That used to be my nickname!
Pro Guard Garter Belt: Are you man enough to wear womens underwear?
Pro Guard Odor Eliminator
Pro Guard Water Bottle
Skate Lace Tightener: Perfect for Whimps, Women and Children
Sun Ballistic Hockey Goal
Squirrels arent afraid of Pucks
Under Armour Heat Gear T-Shirt
© 2005 Scott Noble All rights reserved. Unauthorized use prohibited.
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