The helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment; its proper fit is serious business. Make sure it is comfortable and fits snug just above the eyebrows while making contact with the top of the player's head.
When purchasing a hockey helmet have the player try on different brands for fit and comfort. First, measure the circumference of the player's head about one inch above the eyebrows. Next, consult the size chart of the brand that is being considered. Each manufacturer has a chart that matches helmet sizes with head measurements. Hockey equipment retailers should have these charts available for reference; they are also available on the websites of the manufacturers.
When trying the helmet on open it to its largest setting then gradually downsize it until a comfortably snug fit is achieved. Tighten and secure the helmet adjustment then securely fasten the chin strap so it gently makes contact under the chin. A helmet that fits properly should fit snugly without causing headaches or discomfort, but should not be oversized. A helmet that is too big can lead to unnecessary injuries because the protection built into it by the manufacturer will not work properly. Never paint or add stickers to the shell of a helmet as this weakens the structure.
Regularly inspect the helmet inside and out for cracks or signs of deterioration replacing it immediately if any are found. Replace loose or missing screws as needed. A decent helmet should last for about five or six years.
Mouth Guards are also important to protect your head. They not only protect your teeth but shield you from a concussion.
This is a required piece of equipment for Rockets players. The neck guard can help prevent potential cuts to the neck when players collide and fall to the ice.
Shoulder pads provide stability and protection for the shoulder blades and the muscles of the shoulders. Shoulder pads can also offer some chest protection which can be useful if you play defense and block shots.
For proper fit measure the player's chest just below the armpits. Refer to the manufacturer's sizing chart to determine the corresponding shoulder pad size. The center of the player's shoulder should line up directly with the center of the shoulder caps. Good hockey shoulder pad fit should provide protection for the chest, ribs, back, collar bone, and upper arms. A player should have good range of motion while wearing shoulder pads. To test range of motion, lift arms above shoulder height to ensure the pads do not dig into the neck.
Elbows, once injured, are prone to infection, difficult to heal and prone to re-injury. It is easy to see why a good pair of ELBOW PADS is such an essential part of the protective equipment package.
When properly fitted the top of the elbow pad should meet the bottom of the arm of the shoulder pad and extend down the forearm to the top of the glove. The elbow pad should not restrict the movement of the elbow. With the elbow pads on, test the range of motion by bending the arm at the elbow, watching for restriction.
Bigger is better than smaller for HOCKEY GLOVES. Gloves not only provide protection from sticks, boards or pucks but they are helpful in absorbing the shock of your stick when you shoot a slap shot. Small fitting gloves look silly and provide less protection to the forearms. One of the safety features of hockey gloves is the thumb protection which is an area that is armored and fixed in a position which helps protect it from sprains and breakage. Most hockey gloves are essentially the same in construction and function, the only significant difference being the length of the cuff which extends from the wrist. Forwards sometimes prefer a shorter cuff which gives them greater flexibility in wrist movement. Defensive players prefer a longer cuff which provides maximum protection.
Hockey gloves should generally fit like loose winter gloves over the fingers. The top of the glove needs to extend up to the forearm to the bottom of the elbow pads (except short cuff fit). The main consideration with the fit of a hockey glove is that the gap between the glove and the elbow pad is minimal. The glove should offer freedom of movement in all positions without chafing or restricting movement. Measure the distance between the fingertips and the elbow pad to determine the hockey glove size.
Hockey Pants are important to the protection of the groin, thighs, waist and buttocks and, surprisingly, the tailbone. There is nothing more painful than a bent or broken tailbone. This injury can easily occur through contact with the ice, boards, or a goal post. A good quality pair of hockey pants with adequate padding in all of these areas is critical. A good quality pair of hockey pants should last for years.
An ATHLETIC SUPPORTER AND CUP are essential for male players. A special, larger protector is made for goalies. A pelvic protector is available for female players.
Garter Belt or Velcro Jock
The GARTER BELT is used to keep up the hockey socks. They work well. Some players prefer a newer style compression jock that has Velcro tabs on the legs for holding up hockey socks.
SHIN PADS are another critical piece of safety equipment. Don't skimp here. A heavy and sturdy shin pad with high quality interior padding is the best choice. A slap shot to the knee or shin, even if it does not cause the pad to physically contact the leg, has a tremendous shock impact. Huge and painful bruises from front full impact slap shots are not unusual. Again, the proper size equipment is crucial. If the shin pads are too long they will hinder ankle flexibility and skating. A shin pad that is too short provides inadequate protection.
When fitting, ensure that the cap of the shin pad is centered on the knee cap. The calf padding should wrap around the lower leg. Measure from the center of the knee cap to the top of the skate boot; match the player's shin size to the inches of the shin guard.
Sewn ice hockey SKATES generally fit 1 to 1-½ sizes down from the player's regular shoe size. When fitting children allow ½ size extra for growth. ½ size is equivalent to one finger between heel and back of skate. Anything over the recommended ½ size could result in premature breakdown of the skate.
While sitting down, and wearing the socks that will be worn while skating, the skater should put the skates on and kick his heel back into the skate. The toes should barely touch the toe cap. While lacing the boot up, the heel should be continuously kicked back to ensure a tight fit. When finished lacing, the skater should get up and walk around for 10-15 minutes in order to get the proper fit and feel of the hockey skates. The foot should feel comfortable with the rear snug and resting on the footbed. The toes should be extended flat and be able to just feather the toe cap.
To determine proper HOCKEY STICK length the player should stand in stocking feet and place the toe of the stick on a level surface between his feet. A general rule of thumb is to mark and cut the handle of the stick where it touches the tip of the player's nose. When standing with skates on, the stick should come up to the player's chin or just below it.
Proper size is important. If the JERSEY is too small, it may be too confining and uncomfortable. If the jersey is too large, it gives defensive players some thing they can easily grab out of the referee's view.