Everything you need to hit the ice
Staying fit during the winter can be a challenge, and playing recreational ice hockey is a great way to exercise and have fun at the same time during the cold months. Before you hit the ice, though, you're going to have to get some hockey equipment -- it is a fast-paced sport, and you need to be prepared to face the rigors of the game to avoid injury.
A complete set of hockey equipment includes padding, hockey helmets, sticks, hockey gloves and skates. Here's what you'll need to know to shop for these items.
Shopping for Hockey Pads and Equipment
Here are the must-have pieces of hockey equipment:
- Helmets. Hockey helmets are, perhaps, the single most important piece of equipment. Choose a helmet that has a full facemask or visor and adequate padding.
- Shoulder pads. These help you finish checks and battle for pucks along the boards without hurting your shoulders.
- Elbow pads. If you ever whacked your elbow on hard ice when you were learning to skate, you know why elbow pads are indispensable.
- Shin pads. For position players, shin pads protect the knee-to-ankle portion of your leg. Goalies wear thicker pads to help them stop the puck.
- Jockstrap. Most guys don't need any explanation about the importance of a jockstrap.
- Skates. Like shoes, hockey shakes should fit comfortably, but should be neither too snug nor too loose. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to fit your pinky finger beneath your heel and the back of the skate if you push your foot all the way to the front of the boot.
- Gloves. Hockey gloves should protect your hands but be loose at the wrists to allow you to stickhandle. Goalies wear special gloves; a "trapper" on the catching hand and a "blocker" on the hand that holds the sticks.
- Sticks. Wooden and aluminum sticks are the most affordable, though composite sticks help you shoot harder (but cost more money).
Your hockey uniform will consist of a lightweight jersey with small breathing holes and hockey pants with additional thigh padding.
Goalie equipment includes additional items like specialized helmets, throat protectors, and wide goalie pads for your legs. You'll also need a special, wider stick to help you take away the lower part of the ice from opposing shooters.