While any hockey player knows that skill and determination are the cornerstones of a great player, the equipment you wear also plays an important role. Hockey players wear equipment literally from head to toe, and in such a fast and physical sport, the right equipment is crucial. Here are some important considerations to make when choosing your hockey equipment.
Considering the fast paced and physical nature of hockey, safety must be your first consideration when choosing hockey equipment. Injuries are a possibility on virtually any part of the body, but keeping the head safe is probably the main priority. Every piece of equipment must be certified and approved for use by the governing hockey body and safety standards council where you live.
Think of safety first when you buy all of your hockey equipment, including:
- Neck protector
- Shoulder pads
- Elbow pads
- Shin pads
- Hockey pants
- Mouth guard
- Athletic support
If your safe hockey equipment is going to result in you playing your best, it will have to be comfortable, too. With many pieces of equipment, safety and comfort kind of go hand-in-hand, so if it fits right it’s safe and if it’s safe it fits right.
Skates are probably the main piece of hockey equipment where comfort and performance work together. If your skates are not comfortable and your feet are sore when you’re on the ice, there’s no way you’ll play your best. Keep in mind that skates usually take some time to mold to your feet and break in, so don’t take them back to the store if they don’t feel right after only a few times on the ice.
With hockey equipment, efficiency also plays a role when making your choices. Your choice of stick and more specifically, the length of the stick are most important when it comes to equipment efficiency. There are varying opinions as to how long a hockey stick should be for maximum efficiency on the ice. As a general rule, aim for around the mouth level when wearing street shoes, or around the nose level in bare feet. The flex of the stick should compare to the general strength of the player, as stronger players will need stiffer sticks. For maximum efficiency and control for stick handling and shooting and passing the puck, opt for a stick with a medium curve.