What hockey equipment do I need—what should I buy? Whether you’re a youth ice hockey player or an adult, you should know which pieces of hockey equipment are essential to wear on the rink. After all, not to wear the correct hockey gear could pose serious safety risks for even the best Chicago skaters. Explore Gunzo’s definitive hockey equipment list below.
Hockey accessories include your facemask and mouthguard. A facemask protects your face from flying biscuits or tough blows to the face. A mouthguard protects your mouth (and jaw) from injury—no surprises there.
Of course, both of these items protect you against the slick blade of an ice skate. For this reason alone, these items in our gear guide aren’t mere accessories—they’re essentials.
Some Oak Park skaters choose to wear neck guards, too. A neck guard protects your neck against injurious blows, but most hockey players choose not to wear it. If you’re a first-time adult skater or a youth skater, it’s not a bad idea to wear a neck guard. Talk to our staff for further information.
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Hockey Elbow Pads
Even if you’ve skated for years, you still can fall flat on the ice. And when your feet fall right under you, your elbows hit the ice first. Plus, flying pucks sting the funny bone. For these reasons, high-quality elbow pads are essential.
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Your hockey gloves are an essential piece of equipment. They should be durable and flexible. While some skaters want looser hockey gloves for a more comfortable feel, others look for tight-fitting gloves. Ultimately, the fit of your hockey glove depends on your personal preference—but you’ll want a breathable glove that provides continuous finger and hand protection. Gloves can also be the hardest equipment to keep clean, check out our article on how to wash your hockey gear for tips.
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Protect your noggin with a hockey helmet—no further reason needed. Too tight-fitting a helmet can lead to headaches, rashes, and general discomfort; an extremely loose-fitting helmet can wobble around and negatively affect visibility on the rink.
Some Chicagoland skaters choose to wear visors or facemasks, too; others prefer the increased visibility and choose not to wear facial protection at all. A full facemask ensures the most facial protection. We recommend wearing one.
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Youth or pro, hockey matches involve aggressive maneuvering of blades, shafts, skates, and bodies. You’ll need to protect your midsection and your legs from these dangers with comfortable and rugged hockey pants.
Ultimately, hockey pants should be loose-fitting enough as not to impair flexibility or movement. All the same, hockey pants should cling close to the body, in order to provide maximum protection.
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Hockey Shin Guards
Like hockey pants, shin guards protect your knees and shins from contact with the puck and stick. No skin should show between your shin guards and your skates, so ensure you find a pair of shin guards that fits you best.
Hockey Shoulder Pads
Some experienced adult players in Chicago choose not to wear shoulder pads, since some adult leagues are non-contact. However, it only takes one blow to break a rib or your collarbone, so we strongly advise wearing shoulder pads.
Ensure your shoulder pads allow for maximum arm and shoulder flexibility. Learn more about hockey shoulder pads and sizing by clicking the button below.
Your skates are where the rubber meets the road—the metal to the ice. Serious adult players should consider buying high-end, long-lasting, top-notch skates; after all, their feet don’t grow anymore. But youth players can consider experimenting with different skate designs and fittings since they are still growing.
We cannot overstate that you shouldn’t choose cheap skates. Don’t be a cheapskate when it comes to skates! You get what you pay for. Look for skates that support your feet and provide maximum protection.
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Hockey skates and hockey sticks are both iconic pieces of hockey equipment. Sticks used to be made of wood but now are made of composite materials—wood, aluminum, kevlar, fiberglass, what have you.
If you’ve just begun your youth hockey career or you’re a casual adult player, you may consider a more affordable hockey stick option. An all-wooden stick may serve you just fine. But if you’re in a youth travel league or in a serious adult league, a more substantial stick is worth the investment.
Learn more about hockey sticks by clicking the button below.
Do Goalies Need Different Ice Hockey Equipment than Players?
Yes, goalies need different hockey equipment—it’s non-negotiable. Why? Each position requires different ranges of motion, and different ranges of motion require different forms of protection.
A few pieces of hockey gear that differ between regular players and goalkeepers include:
- Accessories / neck guards. For regular players, neck guards are generally made of nylon or ABS plates; they are thin and look much like a turtleneck. The neck guards for goalies, however, are curved panels of Lexan and fit just above the collarbone.
- Blockers. Blockers help goalies “block” the puck. Goalies wear these on their forearms. Regular players don’t need blockers at all.
- Catchers. Goalies wear catchers on the free hand—the hand they don’t primarily use to hold the stick. Regular players don’t need catchers.
- Mask. The mask goalkeepers wear offers extra chin protection. Goalies’ masks provide extra caging on the facemask for further protection.
- Pants / Leg Pads. Regular players need to skate from one end of the rink to the other, and thus thinner, breathable pants and leg pads are required. Since the goaltender remains stationary for the majority of the game, goaltender pants and leg pants are solid and substantial.
- Skates. Goalie skates have long flat blades to encourage stability. Blade holders are molded to the cowling and short, so the goalie can stay low to the ice. Skates for regular players are designed for increased mobility.
Do Adults Need Different Ice Hockey Equipment than Kids?
How Much Does Ice Hockey Equipment Cost?
Kids. If your son or daughter is learning the ropes of hockey, it might be worthwhile to gauge his or her interest before buying top-shelf equipment. On average, though, Chicago parents can expect to spend between $300 and $800 on new hockey equipment. Buying used, of course, will be cheaper.
Adults. Expect to spend around the same for new hockey equipment. Fortunately, at Gunzo’s, we stock tons of reasonably priced used hockey equipment, so you won’t spend an arm and a leg.
Do I Need To Buy All of My Hockey Equipment At One Time?
No, you don’t need to buy all of your hockey equipment at once. Some leagues offer equipment rental programs. If you or your child is first exploring this adventurous sport, it may be worth taking advantage of these rental programs.
Rely On Gunzo’s for Your Hockey Gear Needs!
At our three locations in Chicago, Morton Grove, and River Forest, you’ll find all the hockey gear you need. Contact us online or call us with additional questions about the brands we carry, our inventory, or pricing. We look forward to talking with you!