Hockey equipment is one of the most important aspects of the game. The appropriate equipment will not only help you play better, but it will also keep you safe on the ice by preventing injury. If you’re shopping for hockey players gifts, these are the top ten items that every hockey player requires.
The helmet that you choose should fit the size of your head and be comfortable enough to wear all game long. It is essential to ensure that it fits properly, so get one with adjustable straps to accommodate for any growth spurts. A good rule of thumb is if you can pull the helmet off your head by grabbing it from the back, then it is not large enough. In addition, find a helmet with full ear padding, not just on the outside of the ears. This will help to protect your eardrums in case of an accident or collision.
The sticks that you use will change frequently based on your skill level and how much you play. Beginners should start with senior hockey sticks which are solid wood or composite (wood and plastic). Advanced players will want to invest in high end hockey sticks that are made from carbon, Kevlar, fiberglass or aluminum. For goalies it is a good idea to invest in an oversized stick so that when you are down in the butterfly position your top hand will not be exposed.
3. Jockstraps and Cups
Cups are one of the most essential pieces in your hockey equipment. It is also very embarrassing to get checked into the boards and have your cup fall out; do not let that happen to you! It is not necessary for men to wear jockstraps anymore, but it doesn’t hurt when they are involved in a fight. For women, jockstraps are still necessary.
4. Shin Guards
Shin guards help to protect your legs from all of the checks on the ice. Some shin guards can be worn with special socks that will make them fit like a second skin; however, if you don’t have these it is also fine to wear them under your socks. The essential thing is that they protect you from injury, and that they stay in place when you get hit. Moreover, the guards should reach your knees and not just stop at your shin. This will help to protect against crossovers or when you get checked from behind.
5. Elbow Pads
Elbow pads should be worn at all times; do not go onto the ice without them! They help to absorb impact and prevent any cuts or bruises on your arms. Closed cell foam pads are preferred because they are lightweight, do not absorb water and can take a lot of abuse before they need to be replaced. Hockey elbow pads should come up no higher than your elbows so that you have full range of motion during play.
6. Mouth Guard
You should always be wearing a mouth guard while playing hockey. When you take a puck or a stick to the face, it can do some serious damage without this protection. A well-fitted mouth guard is extremely essential, and should be the best possible fit. For children, boil and bite mouth guards are good options; custom fitted ones can also be made by an orthodontist. As an offensive player, your smile is one of your most essential tools for helping to get a penalty call when opponents crosscheck you in the back; so protect your teeth and smile all game long!
7. Hockey Bag
This bag should be large enough to hold all of your hockey equipment. You will need room for skates, helmet, pads, sticks, gloves and anything else that you may need to bring to the rink with you. It should be sturdy enough to carry all of this equipment without falling apart, and preferably come with wheels. You can’t put a price tag on convenience! It is also a good idea to get a separate duffel bag in which you can store all of your sweaty gear after practice or a game.
8. Hockey Socks
Hockey socks should be worn during every practice and every game to help protect your shin guards and skates from becoming damaged, as well as for protection against getting checked and getting your feet cut up. They also provide better grip on the ice which helps both with shooting and stopping.
Your skates will be one of the most expensive investments that you make into hockey, so choose wisely. Skates should be comfortable enough to wear all game, and they should also provide good support for your ankles and knees. Recreational players can start with a mid-range price point skate, but if you are serious about playing it is worth it to invest in top-of-the-line skates.
There are two main types of skates, the first is an all-around skate which is good for beginners and recreational players. The second type of skate has a higher ankle design so that it provides more support for hockey specific movements such as crossovers, stopping/starting quickly and stopping on an angle. And here’s a helpful tip: hockey players need to sharpen their skates and a portable skate sharpener might be just the gift for them.
10. Hockey Pants
Hockey pants are worn over your pads to keep everything in place. They should be comfortable enough to wear during an entire game, but tight enough that you don’t get hit with pucks or sticks. There are also suspenders built into the hockey pants that will help to hold them up; these are usually preferred by goaltenders because they do not have to worry about lacing up their pants.