For those of you new to the game, welcome to the world of youth ice hockey!
Equipment: What Will They Need?
Selection of hockey equipment is a key issue for players, parents and coaches. When purchasing and fitting hockey equipment, remember two important factors: 1) make certain the player is adequately protected and 2) be sure the fitting allows freedom of movement so the player can properly perform the necessary skills. By carefully considering these two factors, your child will be more comfortable and will better enjoy their participation.
A complete set of hockey equipment can be purchased for a relatively reasonable cost – you do not need to buy the most expensive equipment at young age groups. It is critical the equipment fit properly. Buying skates or other equipment two sizes too large so that the child can get "a few years out of them" is a prescription for frustration for the child.
To keep the costs of hockey somewhat reasonable, inquire about local equipment swaps, team discounts at local pro shops, and if you know the proper size internet retailers. But, keep in mind the equipment must fit properly to provide maximum protection. The RRHC holds a hockey equipment swap in September, prior to the Fall/Winter hockey season.
Shin Pads — Check for proper length so they protect the knee and shin completely. Surprisingly, these are measured best when seated. Measure from the center of the kneecap to the top of the skate. Match the player’s shin size to the shin guard. Shin guards should be secured with straps or tape, don’t rely on tight hockey socks to hold them in place.
Shin guards must be completely covered before stepping on the ice. Hockey socks are designed for this purpose. Please do not send your skaters on the ice with exposed shin guards. You can use “sock tape” to secure the socks and shin pads.
Shoulder Pads — Shoulder pads should fit snuggly, with the tips of the shoulder under the "shoulder cap." The bicep (or arm) pads should not interfere with the elbow pads. A fiber cap is extremely important in preventing shoulder separations and should extend to the tip of the shoulder.
Elbow Pads — Properly fitted: so they do not slide. There should be no gap between the bicep pad on the shoulder pad and the cuff of the glove.
Elbow and Shoulder pads must be completely covered by a jersey! Exposed equipment can create safety issues for both the "wearer" and for others on the ice.
Hockey Jock/Jill — The come in a variety of styles (shorts, long form fitting pants, etc) and are designed with Velcro tabs to hold up your child’s hockey socks.
Pants — Hockey pants provide protection for the lower back, hips, and thighs. Pants should reach the top of the player’s knee and extend to cover the kidney and lower ribs. Again, too big and the player cannot gain proper "hockey position", too small and he/she is exposed to injury.
Helmet — According to USA Hockey regulations, all helmets must be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC). Please look for the HECC certification sticker on the helmet or packaging.
In order to fit the helmet, open it to its largest setting and place it on the head so that the rim is one finger length above the eyebrow. Downsize the helmet until it fits snugly. Tighten and secure the adjustment. The helmet must be snug enough to prevent movement with the chinstrap secured.
Facemask — Must also be of a design and construction approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC). Specific face masks are built to be worn with certain models and sizes of helmets. Simply choose one of the recommended models to correspond with your helmet purchase.
Gloves — Check for proper fit, with good finger and hand mobility. The palm should be reasonably thin to allow a player to "feel" the stick. The thumb should be flexible, but with a protective polyethylene insert. Fingers usually have thick foam padding to offer protection while allowing flexibility.
It is very important that gloves fit properly. Too large, and the player will be hampered in controlling his/her stick. Too small and the fingers will be uncomfortably jammed, while the wrist will also be exposed.
Skates — Purchase skates that will fit your child today, with no more than 1/2" allowed for growth. Seek adequate protection in the ankle, toe and instep areas. Improperly fitted skates will hamper your child's ability to skate.
* Tying skates is a delicate task: too tight and the child is uncomfortable, too loose and the child will have difficulty skating.
Stick — The length of a stick should extend to the players chin when in skates, or nose when in sneakers. Too long is equally as bad as a stick, which is too short. Quality and price very greatly with sticks so the choice is yours. However, we don’t see a great need for the more "exotic" (and expensive) sticks at this age. Sticks should have a small "knob" of tape at the end to assist the child in holding the stick.
Mouthpiece/Mouthguard — Mouthpieces are optional at the 10U and lower age levels and are used to protect the players teeth
Neck Guard: It should be snug, without choking the player, and cover the entire throat and protects against lacerations.
Parents Guide to Buying Equipment
Sequence for getting dressed: It may sound silly but for players new to the game there is an order to dressing, which makes the process less contorting.
- Shin guards
- Socks & garter belt
- Shoulder Pads
- Elbow guards