San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Ice Hockey Tips
Hockey is a full body contact sport that requires a properly fitted helmet, shoulder pads, elbow pads, mouth guard, protective gloves, heavily padded shorts, an athletic protector, shin pads/chest protector and a neck guard. Goaltenders require bulkier, specialized equipment designed to protect them from many direct hits from the puck. These items must be correctly fitted to provide the maximum protection. Helmets and protective devices like shin protectors and Goaltender equipement are often available as used equipment.
As more female skaters are now playing hockey, parents are advised to acquire specialized chest padding and in place of the male athletic protector, female goalies wear a pelvic protector. Parents of goaltenders must purchase specialized blades, chest protector, helmets, gloves, and sticks.
A hockey player's skates are the single most important piece of hockey equipment necessary to play the game. The properly fitted skates should be comfortable and enhance your ability to move on the ice. Ill-fitting hockey skates can make every minute on the ice pure misery, plus greatly increases the risk of injury.
The hockey stick is an essential part of the required equipment. It must be properly sized to the child height, blade angle for left and right handed athletes. These sticks often become damaged and require replacing during a practice or game. Each player should always have several spare sticks available for immediate replacement.
A player's hockey gloves are also a vital component in maintaining a secure grip on the stick.
Acquiring Properly Fitted Skates
The best option is to buy ice hockey skates that fit properly in the first place. Don't purchase skates with the idea of having the player grow into them in 6 months or a year! An improperly fitted skate increases the possibility of serious ankle injuries and broken bones!
Here's what you need to know to get the best fitting ice hockey skates:
1. Select skates that are snug but not painful. Your ice skates shouldn't fit like a pair of shoes or slippers. You should be able to feel the boots against your toes, ankles, heels, and insteps. If your toes are painfully pinched or you have to jam your feet into the skates, they're too small. However, your feet shouldn't just slide into them like they do into your favorite pair of slippers.
Always loosen the laces to remove the boots after the practice session. Store the boots in a warm, but not HOT location. A moist, cool storage location encourages the leather to break down and the proliferation of molds, fungi, and bacteria that cause a condition known as athlete's feet. While thinking about caring for your skaters, always remove your athletic clothing from your equipment bag so it can be washed between use. Your team mates don't appreciate foul odors from your feet and clothing.
2. Never purchase Ice hockey skates that are a little too small. However, if you want to avoid purchasing a new pair of skater near the end of the season, your hockey pro shop should be able to help fit a stock boot or order a custom boot that will not fall apart during the season.
If the overall size is a perfect fit, your rink's Hockey shop generally can stretch skates in a couple of different ways, depending on the fit that's needed - for example, but you need to accommodate a slightly thicker ankle, the shop pro can use punch fitting which is a technique that stretches out a small area of the boot. Power stretching equipment can stretch the boot by as much as a full size.
3. Avoid buying hockey skates that are too big to fit the athlete NOW! Hockey skates that are too big allow too much room for the feet to move around inside the boot of the skate. Such a fit will cause blisters or bone spurs develop on the feet and toes. A second pair of socks or thicker socks doesn't solve the problem of oversize skates, it just gives another layer of fabric that can shift around inside your skates and cause blisters.
4. Your toes should touch the front of the boot. If your toes are against the front of the boot when you're standing on both feet with the skates laced, you have a perfect fit. Make sure that your heel is all the way back in the skate by kicking the heel against the floor once or twice to settle it back.
5. Check the length of the insole. A second way to check if you've got the proper length for your ice hockey skates is to remove the insoles and place them flat on the floor, then stand on them. Your heels should be at the back of the boot and your toes should come right to the end of the insole if you're an adult. In the case of a growing child who needs room for growth, the toes can have some space from the end of the insole - less then the width of your outside finger of either hand.
Equipment List Source - Majon
A full service pro hockey shop can help fit your feet for hockey skates, as well as give you advice on other hockey equipment, including goalie equipment and ice hockey sticks.
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Expert Advice: Selecting the Right Hockey Gloves
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
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