You may know all the rules of the game, but if you or your child is interested in getting out on the ice, you should know more about the equipment you’ll need. Getting the right gear not only keeps you safe, but it can also help you perfect your game. Learn more about what equipment you need to get started, including goalie gear.
Your Hockey Player Equipment List
Image via Unsplash by Matthew Fournier
It’s important for any hockey player to have the appropriate equipment so they can play the game while preventing injuries. You’ll need a fair amount of gear to get started, but luckily, most equipment lasts a long time. Here are a few essentials that you need to pick up:
You can’t play hockey without a stick. In, time, your stick will feel like an extension of your arm. Because each individual is unique, each hockey stick needs to be, too. The most important factor is the height of your stick. The top of the stick should rest below your chin when you’re standing in skates.
The flex, which is the stick’s stiffness, is the next factor to consider. Each stick has a flex rating, which is the force required to actually flex the stick. When choosing your first stick, consider one that has a flex rating of half your weight. For example, if you weight 180 pounds, look for a stick with a 90 flex rating.
Depending on the material you choose, sticks can get pricey, with carbon fiber sticks being the most expensive. If you’re not ready to spend hundreds of dollars on a top-of-the-line stick, you can find wood, fiberglass, or mixed-material sticks that are perfect for starting out.
Helmets are a pretty crucial piece of equipment to prevent head injuries. Especially when you’re just learning how to play, you’ll have your fair share of spills, so your helmet should be high quality. Find a helmet that fits comfortably and isn’t too tight or too loose. A loose helmet can get knocked off, while a tight helmet can cause headaches.
You aren’t required to wear any protection for your face, but you can opt for a helmet with a visor, a cage, or both. Starting out, you probably want to wear a helmet with a cage for extra protection. Most cages are removable, so you can take it off when you feel comfortable.
A neck guard does exactly what it sounds like — it protects your neck from injury. Although this piece of equipment isn’t required for adult players, children will probably need one.
Not all ice skates are created equal, and the difference between a high-quality and cheap pair is very noticeable. If you’re buying skates for your child, it’s OK to go with a more affordable pair since they’re just going to grow out of them. But if you’re shopping for yourself, it might be helpful to go ahead and get a quality pair that will last for a long time.
Some factors that you need to look at when choosing skates include:
- Your weight.
- Skate size.
- Skate width.
- Boot stiffness.
Make sure your skates provide plenty of support to prevent twisted ankles and unnecessary pain.
The main function of gloves is to protect your hands and wrists from hacks and slashes. Ultimately, the type of gloves you choose is up to your preferences. Find gloves that allow you to easily grip your stick while remaining comfortable.
Shins are especially prone to injury, so it’s a good idea to keep them protected. Choose guards that cover as much of your shins as possible. If you use shin pads that are too short, you’re exposing more of your leg to injury.
If you like your teeth, you need a mouthguard. While most leagues don’t require mouthguards, it might be a good idea to add one to your starter pack anyway.
When you fall, you’re probably going down elbow-first. Elbow pads will keep this part of your body protected from more serious injury.
There are some leagues where shoulder pads aren’t required, but especially in those that allow hitting on the ice, they may be something you prefer to keep your body protected as much as possible.
Jock or Jill
A jock or jill is used to keep your groin protected against contact, but it also holds up your socks with either garter clips or Velcro.
Padded hockey pants keep a large portion of your body protected. It’s important to find a snug (but not too tight) pair that won’t fall down when you’re on the ice. The last thing you need is to worry about is tugging up your pants as you’re on your way to score the game-winning goal.
Goalie Hockey Equipment
Goalies need slightly different equipment to stop goals and stay safe. Here are a few pieces of must-have gear for goalies:
- Blocker: The blocker is a glove with a large rectangular pad on the outside that blocks shots. It’s usually worn on the stick hand.
- Catcher: The catcher is very similar to a baseball catcher’s mitt. It’s a padded glove that goalies use to catch pucks.
- Leg pads: Goalies take a lot of hits from pucks, so it’s important that they wear appropriate padding on their legs. Leg pads are wide and thick, and some leagues require that the height of the leg pads be in direct proportion to the height of the goalie.
- Skates: Goal skates are not quite the same as regular hockey skates. They are actually longer and wider so that the goalie can balance better and is more stable on the ice. Some goalie blades are taller to support a wider stance.
- Stick: Instead of using a stick for dribbling the puck, a goalie uses their stick to block shots and make short passes, so the paddle is a little wider and has no curve.
At Gunzo’s, we want to make sure that your time on the ice is a success. Visit our store or contact us to ask any questions you may have about hockey equipment.