How to Buy Equipment

How to buy hockey equipment-

Hockey equipment should provide protection from head to toe; it should fit comfortably and should not compromise your on ice performance or your range of motion. Some things to think about when buying hockey equipment are:  age of the player, weight, height and level of play. When shopping for equipment the most important thing you can do is TRY IT ON!  Make sure the athlete is the one trying on the gear, and they have on the type of clothing he/she would be wearing underneath it while playing.  A proper fit is important to prevent injury, to allow for comfort and to maximize on ice performance.  Don’t be afraid to shop around, different brands have different styles and cuts; the most expensive gear is not always the best gear.  Have an employee help with fitting, they are there to help and know how the equipment should fit.   Some equipment must meet certified requirements, which may mean buying all used gear may not be possible.

Check our our Equipment 101: Tips for Buying Hockey Equipment

How to buy Skates-

Most hockey skates are sized 1 to 1 ½ sizes smaller than your normal shoe size.  Different brands of skates fit differently and have different styles and cuts.  When buying new skates you should wear a sport sock, one that you would wear while playing.  Once the skate is on, kick back the heel to the back of the skate.  The toes should barely touch the toe cap.  Lace up the skate and walk around.  The foot should feel comfortable, and with the toes extended flat they should just feather the toe cap.  A break in period is required with new skates, so there is a lot of potential in a used pair.  Buying a good used pair of skates does not compromise the fit, or the performance of the player.

How to buy a Helmet-

Hockey rules require that your helmet is CSA (for Canada) or HECC (for the USA) certified.  Helmets which are certified are indicated with a specific sticker.  A helmet should fit snug; this prevents shifting and therefore maximizes protection.  With your helmet opened to its largest setting gradually begin to downsize the helmet until a comfortably snug fit is achieved. Once the helmet is on, the chin strap should be adjusted so that it just makes contact under the chin.  The helmet should rest on the forehead so that the rim is one finger width above the eyebrow, and makes contact with the top of your head.  Try on different brands of helmets for fit and comfort.

Wire Cage, Face shields or Combination masks– Players choice, either way the mask should fit snugly to the chin.  When the player’s mouth is closed the chin should fit comfortably into the chin cup.  Make sure that the helmet and mask are compatible and are both certified under the requirements of your organization.

How to buy Shoulder Pads-

Properly fitted equipment will not resist movement nor will it shift during play.  Some players prefer more padding then others and often this depends on the position of the athlete.  Typically defensemen prefer a larger pad, where the forward prefers lighter weight pad.  The centre of the player’s shoulder should line up directly with the center of the shoulder caps.  A good shoulder pad provides protection for the collarbone, upper chest, ribs, back and upper arms.  Range of motion is important and can be tested by lifting your arms above shoulder height to ensure the pads do not dig into the neck.

How to buy elbow pads-

When fastened securely, there should be no gap between the elbow pad and the bicep extension of the shoulder pad or the cuff of the glove. Some players prefer a shorter glove and therefore should choose a longer elbow pad.  The elbow pad should not restrict movement of the elbow.  Test range of motion by bending the arm at the elbow, watching for restriction. Your elbow should fit comfortably into the centre of the elbow pad cup, and should not shift while in play.

How to buy Shin pads-

Shin pads are sized to your height and are designed to fit over the kneecap to just above the skate top.  Shin pads are measured from the center of the knee to the instep brackets of the skate tongue.  Your kneecap should fit directly into the center of the kneepad cup of your shin pad.  Shin pads which are either too long or too short will result in the knee or instep being exposed and unprotected or will decrease range of motion and more than likely be uncomfortable.

How to buy Hockey Pants-

Measure the player’s waist.  The bottom of the pant should overlap the top of the player’s shin pad kneecaps by 1-2 inches and extend up to cover the kidney and lower ribs.  The player should have a good range of motion, if the player can comfortably squat and the padding remains in position, then the pants fit properly.  Pants should fit loosely and comfortably but should be secured firmly by a belt around the waist.

How to buy a Neck Guard-

The neck guard should be snug but not uncomfortably tight.  It should completely cover the throat, and with the bib style the upper chest area as well.

How to buy Gloves-

Player’s preference, some players prefer a shorter glove and others prefer a longer glove.  Either way be sure that the gap between the glove and the elbow pad is minimal in order to maximize protection.  Measure the distance between the fingertips and the elbow pad to determine glove size. Tightness is again player’s preference, but the finger tips should not go completely to the ends of the glove.  Glove should offer freedom of movement, and generally fit like a looser winter glove over the fingers.

How to buy a stick-

There are several things to consider when buying a stick; what type of shaft you would like; aluminum, graphite, wood, or composite etc., the flex in the stick, and the degree of the blade curve.  Personal preference plays a huge role in a players stick. First you need to determine whether the player shoots right handed or left handed.  While wearing skates hold the stick with the point of the blade touching the ground directly in front of you, the stick should be to the point of your chin or just below it.  If you do not have your skates on, place the toe of your stick on the ground between your feet, lean the stick straight up and down so that the handle of the stick touches the tip of your nose.  Different players prefer different lengths of sticks, often forwards prefer shorter because shorter often allows for better puck handling.  

Jill/Jock & Gartner or Combo

Fitted according to waist size, it is important that the player chooses the appropriate size cup to ensure the most effective protection.  The Jock/Jill should be tight enough that the protective cup doesn’t move around as the player moves, but at the same time shouldn’t be uncomfortable.