Communicating Concepts

Hosted by
San Diego Figure Skating Communications

Ice Hockey Tips

Safety Requirements
      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.

Recommended Reading:
  • 5 Hockey Training Tips  April 2, 2005  During the off-season, it's a good idea for hockey players to participate in an off- ice speed-training program.
  • Hockey Player Tips is a collection of Ice Hockey tips on Shooting, Scoring, Passing, Positioning, Defense, Deking, Equipment, and many other hockey skills.
  • Ice Hockey Skating Tips  March 23, 2010  Ice Hockey Skating Tips. One of the most important aspects of becoming a good ice hockey player is becoming a skilled skater.
  • Ice Hockey Skating Tips  Skating is the foundation of ice hockey. If you can't skate it doesn't matter how good of a passer or shooter you are. Learning to skate must come first to be a valuable team member!
  • Skate Sharpening - Hockey Skate Tips   Keep your hockey skate blades as sharp as you need them. In general, a shallower cut will glide easier and faster on the ice than a deep cut. The temperature of the ice will also be a factor.  Don't put your skaters away wet! Rust develops can causes a drag on the blade's flow/glide.
  • 10 tips to better skating  As the story goes, NHL defenseman Paul Coffey once used a unique approach to help speed up his skating: he wore a skate up to three sizes too small for his foot. Sure, it hurt. That was the point.

  • More on Power Skating   When I teach the hockey skating clinics and schools around the world, I feel one of my top priorities as a teacher is to present you, the student, information in such a way so that you can retain it.
  • Power Skating   I want to share with you some of the techniques and drills that we have used with players such as Tony Granato, Rick Tocchet, Charlie Huddy and others during difficult lockout periods.

  • Greater Performance Inc Reveals New Hockey Training Product   Greater Performance Inc is rapidly becoming the speed training equipment of choice for professional teams. GPI-USA has recently released new Hockey speed training equipment called the Pro Elite and the Junior Elite Packages. The Pro and Junior Elite packages were made to increase speed and quickness on and off the ice.

  • Skating tips for coaches  No matter where I am coaching power skating I am constantly asked this one question by everyday coaches: "How do we incorporate skating training into our practices when we barely have enough ice time to teach shooting, passing, positional play and strategy?"

  • More tips for skating imagery  The goal of learning skating imagery is to get you to a point where you can practice skating on your own and be able to draw pictures in your mind of what you are doing both right and wrong. These mental images will make it much easier for you to remember more of the details of powerful skating; and retention is the key to improvement.

  • Visualizing improved skating technique   One of the great problems in practicing your skating is quite often not your lack of effort but your lack of knowing whether you are practicing proper techniques, or simply entrenching your bad habits even more. To quote Jack Blatherwick in his book Overspeed, “Practice does not make perfect it only makes permanent.”

  • Visualization exercises  In this article I’ll outline some of the more important visualization exercises that you can work on, whether it be on-ice, inline skating or even as off-ice/dry land training.

  • Proper use of edges  Using edges well is paramount to the success of any skater; and yet, I find that many, many of our students at all levels of play have a problematic lack of understanding for how to get excellent use of the edges.

  • Q & A: Let them slide  When I do an ice hockey stop, I can stop all right with my toes facing left. But when I try [the other way] my skates just slide out. I was wondering if you could give some tips and drills to practice so I can be at the top of my game.

  • Analyzing some great skaters   From time to time I like to discuss the skating strengths of NHL players. We do this to give you a different perspective while watching these players perform, one that will help you improve your own skating by better understanding what makes these players move so fluidly on the ice.

  • Skating faster with the puck  I am a big proponent of keeping one hand on the stick, especially in open ice situations where you need to build up speed through the neutral zone.

  • Skating skills for centers and wings  Three of the most important skating skills a center or wing can master are forward lateral moves, face-off positioning and forward starts.

  • A cookbook for better skating  I have decided to put an overall skating checklist together for you—the common themes for better skating that work no matter what maneuver you are performing—of the most important things to remember for better overall skating.

  • Pros and cons of training with inlines  One of the questions that I am often asked is my opinion of inline skates as compared to ice hockey skates. Do I feel they are beneficial as a training tool for the ice hockey player?

  • Power Skating - Hockey Player Magazine Sept. 13, 2007 10 tips to better skating. Greater Performance Inc. reveals how to incorporate new hockey training into practices when there is barely enough ice time to teach shooting, passing, positional play and strategy!
  • Ice Hockey Power Skating Drills | How To Hockey Tips  Nov. 19, 2010  ICE Hockey Tips is a collection of offensive and defensive hockey tips on Shooting, Participating in a Power Skating class is the best way I know to improve your skating and improve your game.
Improve Speed and Acceleration with Slide Boards
How to Heat Mold Skates at Home
Warning: Hockey Helmets Recalled Due to Injury Hazard
Protect Your Player – Choose the Right Hockey Helmet
Scoring Big with Hockey Shot Training Pads
How to Choose the Right Hockey Stick Blade
Why is Sportsmanship So Important?
Fuel Like a Champion: Nutrition for Young Athletes
The Four Most Powerful Words of a Coach
Expert Advice: Selecting the Right Hockey Gloves
 Hockey Shooting &
Stickhandling Tips
Hockey Skating Tips
Other Hockey Tips


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:

Tips for Skaters
Training Tips for Ice Sports
PDF Strength Training Tips/Techniques
Ice Hockey Tips
Speed Skating Tips
Figure Skating Tips
Curling Tips

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

Athlete Concerns     Collection of Related Ideas    Skating Articles    Related Topics      

Ice Skating Rink Index    Topic Index    Site Index   Home Page