Families in hockey understand the feeling that comes with heading to the store to buy a new set of equipment after another growth spurt in the off-season. However, wearing appropriately sized gear is necessary and helps keep players safe and on the ice so that they can continue to enjoy the sport and build their skills. For those new to the sport it can seem overwhelming but it doesn't have to be.
Wearing appropriately fitting gear is the first factor that should be considered when evaluating new equipment to purchase. Using second-hand, lightly used gear is a great way to save money but any equipment should be carefully inspected to ensure it is still safe to wear. Equipment that is in good condition and well-maintained can last for years and serve many players. Comfortable, well-fitting gear helps to reduce the risk of injury and elevates the enjoyment for the player.
The most expensive equipment is not always necessarily the best for your child. Plan a budget for what you need to buy and consult with a sporting goods retailer for advice. Many associations offer an equipment drive or exchange for their members to take advantage of.
Each piece of equipment plays a role in helping to protect a specific area of the body, which is why it’s important to have gear that fits now, not gear that your child will grow into. It should have a snug (not tight) fit and not shift when in motion. If gear is too large it will shift around on the body, restricting movement on the ice and not fully protect the body as it’s supposed to. Sizing will be generally the same but could vary slightly based on manufacturer.
Most equipment comes with an adjustable feature that allows players to loosen or tighten their gear. With either Velcro or straps, this can increase the lifespan of equipment as players grow. It is recommended to bring any equipment with you to the store. For example, if you’re looking for new elbow pads you should bring your shoulder pads and gloves to see how your arms will feel to get the best comfort level and protection coverage.
Once you have all of your equipment, it’s time to get dressed! Start with your compression shirt and shorts before putting on the athletic cup, and hockey pants, which can be held up with suspenders if they are too loose on the waist. The shin guards should fit over the shin and knee and go underneath the socks. You’re done with getting your lower half ready so now you can tie up your skates. Next up is sliding on shoulder pads before the elbow pads, the last piece of equipment before the jersey. This gear should all feel tight and secure. Put your jersey on, secure your helmet, grab your gloves and hit the ice!
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