Posts Tagged hockey equipment

Hockey: Suiting Up For The First Time

New players to the game of hockey inevitably face the task of putting on all their gear for the first time. While getting dressed in all that gear seems like a daunting task, it’s really not as difficult as it sounds. New players may want to practice a few times at home until they feel comfortable.

Remember that all your gear is adjustable. If it doesn’t fit quite right the first time, try adjusting them until you find the right fit.

Here is a step by step guide to putting on hockey equipment:
1. Put on your undergarments. These can be compression shorts or jock shorts. Jock Shorts have a pocket for a cup and velcro tabs on the front and back of each leg to attach your hockey socks to. Jock shorts can be worn over compression pants. Some compression shorts also have a cup pocket with the velcro tabs.

2. Step into your athletic cup by putting both feet through the elastic waistband. Secure the garter belt around your waist, making sure that it fits snugly and comfortably around the groin area but is not too tight.

3. Put on your Hockey Pants/Girdle. Tighten your pants with the belt so that the pants fit comfortably but provide for adequate flexibility. If they are still too loose, you can use a pair of suspenders to keep them up.

4. Put on your shin guards (these will go under your hockey socks). Make sure that you leave enough space near your ankles for your skates. Some shin-guards have straps that can be tightened. Others need to be secured with hockey socks.

5. Hockey Socks are long cotton socks that are open on the top and the bottom. Your hockey socks go over your shin pads and attach to your garter belt.

6. Put on your skates and tie them very tight without cutting off circulation to your feet. The bottom of your knee pad should come just to the tongue of your skate. Tape everything in place.

7. Shoulder Pads go over the compression shirt or t-shirt. Slip your head through the middle hole and put your arms through the arm bands underneath the shoulder plate. Tighten the straps until the shoulder pads are secure but allow adequate range of motion.

8. Elbow Pads go over your long sleeve compression shirt. The joint of your elbow should rest squarely in the cup of the elbow pads. Adjust the staps so the pads fit tight but are still be comfortable.

9. Neck Guard fits around the neck to protect against sharp skate blades. Most models fasten in the back with an adjustable closure.

10. Finally, put on your jersey, helmet, and gloves. Put the mouth guard in and you are ready to play!

After practice or games, be sure to remove the gear in the opposite order you put things on. Everything will then go back in the bag in the order you need them next time.

Read More » No Comments

Hockey: Finding the Right Hockey Stick Flex For You

So what is a hockey stick flex anyway?
A flex is a measure of how flexible or how stiff a hockey stick is when force is applied to it. Since the flex rating indicates how many pounds of force it takes to flex the stick one inch, you should know that some sticks are significantly easier to bend than others. Finding the right flex is somewhat of a preference based on skill level. The appropriate flex varies among players, so you’ll want to try out different options.

The higher the flex, the stiffer the stick. The stiffer the stick, the more power you will have behind your shot. Keep in mind that if a stick is so stiff that you cannot flex it properly with your shooting motion, then your effectiveness will be limited.

How does flex impact play?
Essentially, when a player takes a shot, the stick bends a bit to turn the hockey stick into a spring of sorts. When the stick unbends, the “spring” is released and the energy accelerates the puck. You want a stick that offers resistance while still allowing you to flex the stick easily.

What flex is right for me?
Ideally, the flex should be approximately one half of your body weight. Players over 150 pounds should use a stick with at least 75 flex. Obviously, this is just a guideline and your own comfort and ability to use the stick effectively should dictate the flex you use. Players with above average strength for their size should consider a stiffer stick while new players may want to go down a level. An average flex is 85.

If you are able to test the stick in a Pro Shop, use your normal hand position on the stick and hold the stick with the blade on the floor. Hold your top hand stationary and push down and forward with your lower hand. You should be able to flex the stick about an inch without using all your effort. If you are unable to flex the stick this much, then the flex is too high.

Women and smaller players tend to benefit from an intermediate stick. Intermediate sticks are similar in size to senior sticks but have a lighter flex.

The most common stick flexes are:
Youth: 40 flex
Junior: 50 flex
Intermediate: 60-75 flex
Regular: 85 flex
Stiff: 100 flex
Extra stiff: 110 flex

Remember that finding the right stick is a personal choice. Guidelines are just that… guidelines. Be sure to try different styles until you find one that fits your playing style and level of play.

Read More » No Comments

Hockey: Required Hockey Equipment

Ice Hockey is a pretty rough sport that consists of twelve players fighting over a little 3″ puck that can be launched like a missile. Add skates and big sticks and you have the potential for injury. Playing over ice also increases the risk as ice can cause both shock and serious internal injuries.

The following specialized ice hockey equipment pieces are required for this game.

1. Ice Skates: The first thing that you must understand is that there are 2 different types of skates – those for figure skating and those for ice hockey. Player’s skates have a smooth edge from the front of the blade to the rear. Goalie skates are nearer to ground for better balance and are designed for the side to side movement. Be sure to check for ankle stability. Choose a skate that has extra features to support your ankles.

2. Helmet with Cage and Mouth-guard: One of the most important equipment purchases you will make is the helmet. Most helmets function the same but look very different. The biggest difference is the type of face mask it includes. Whether plastic or wire, most masks do not block your vision during play. Find what works best for you. There is no right or wrong type of cage.

3. Hockey Stick: Originally made of wood (ash, birch and willow), sticks are now primarily made of carbon fibers and graphite. These materials provide added flexibility and durability. When you’re standing in shoes, your stick should come at least to your nose. Always be ready with two sticks as hockey sticks sometimes break.

4. Ice Hockey Pants: These specially designed pants provide cushioning for the thighs and legs and include stiff plastic inserts for impact protection. Most models also provide kidney protection and are somewhat loose fitting for freedom of movement.

5. Hockey Gloves: These provide protection to the outer part of the hands. The palm area is thin for better grip on the stick. Goalie gloves are different and are not interchangeable.

6. Shoulder Pads: For protecting upper torso, chest, shoulder blade, collar bones and rib cage. Be sure to check for the right combination of padding and range of motion.

7. Elbow Pads: Equipped with adjustable Velcro straps, these pads cover the forearm, elbows and triceps and help avoid injury from falls and pucks. As with most protective equipment, elbow pads are required in most every league. Available in Junior, Intermediate and Adult sizes.

8. Shin Guard: Knees are the most vulnerable since the risk of falls are great. Protecting your knee caps and frontal bones with the shin guard is absolutely essential. To fit shin guards, bend your knee at a 90-degree angle so the blade of the skate is flat on the floor. Start measuring at the center of the kneecap, all the way down to the top of the skate boot. The measurement in inches should match the length measurement of the shin guard.

9. Neck Guard: Serious neck injury can be prevented with a Neck Guard. An errant flying puck or opponent’s skates and sticks can result in season-ending injuries.

10. Jockstrap (men) or Pelvic protector (women): This piece of protective equipment is quite self-explanatory. Let’s keep ourselves properly protected.

Read More » No Comments