WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED? HOW DO I KNOW WHAT SIZE TO BUY? WHERE DO I BUY GEAR?
Ice Hockey is a pretty rough sport that consists of twelve players fighting over a little 3" puck that can be launched like a missile. Add skates and big sticks and you have the potential for injury. Playing over ice also increases the risk as ice can cause both shock and serious internal injuries.
The following specialized ice hockey equipment pieces are required for this game.
1. Ice Skates: The first thing that you must understand is that there are 2 different types of skates - those for figure skating and those for ice hockey. Player's skates have a smooth edge from the front of the blade to the rear. Goalie skates are nearer to ground for better balance and are designed for the side to side movement. Be sure to check for ankle stability. Choose a skate that has extra features to support your ankles.
2. Helmet with Cage and Mouth-guard: One of the most important equipment purchases you will make is the helmet. Most helmets function the same but look very different. The biggest difference is the type of face mask it includes. Whether plastic or wire, most masks do not block your vision during play. Find what works best for you. There is no right or wrong type of cage.
3. Hockey Stick: Originally made of wood (ash, birch and willow), sticks are now primarily made of carbon fibers and graphite. These materials provide added flexibility and durability. When you're standing in shoes, your stick should come at least to your nose. Always be ready with two sticks as hockey sticks sometimes break.
4. Hockey Pants: These specially designed pants provide cushioning for the thighs and legs and include stiff plastic inserts for impact protection. Most models also provide kidney protection and are somewhat loose fitting for freedom of movement.
5. Hockey Gloves: These provide protection to the outer part of the hands. The palm area is thin for better grip on the stick. Goalie gloves are different and are not interchangeable.
6. Shoulder Pads: For protecting upper torso, chest, shoulder blade, collar bones and rib cage. Be sure to check for the right combination of padding and range of motion.
7. Elbow Pads: Equipped with adjustable Velcro straps, these pads cover the forearm, elbows and triceps and help avoid injury from falls and pucks. As with most protective equipment, elbow pads are required in most every league. Available in Junior, Intermediate and Adult sizes.
8. Shin Guard: Knees are the most vulnerable since the risk of falls are great. Protecting your knee caps and frontal bones with the shin guard is absolutely essential. To fit shin guards, bend your knee at a 90-degree angle so the blade of the skate is flat on the floor. Start measuring at the center of the kneecap, all the way down to the top of the skate boot. The measurement in inches should match the length measurement of the shin guard.
9. Neck Guard: Serious neck injury can be prevented with a Neck Guard. An errant flying puck or opponent's skates and sticks can result in season-ending injuries.
10. Jockstrap (men) or Pelvic protector (women): This piece of protective equipment is quite self-explanatory. Let's keep ourselves properly protected.