What Equipment Does He/She Need?
Helmet should fit just above the eyebrows. Chin should fit comfortably into cup of facemask. Head should not have any pressure points from pads. Many helmets are adjustable. Get a screwdriver and adjust helmet, while your child is wearing it.
This is the most important piece of equipment they have. With their foot all the way in and skates not tied, have your child kick their toe into the carpet (this slides their foot all the way forward inside the skate). You should not be able to fit more than 1 finger between their heal and the back of the boot. Again, if they are too big they won’t have enough ankle support to skate properly. Skates should be sharpened about every 10-15 hours of use. Usually run about 1 size smaller than their tennis shoe size. Tying should be tight at the toes, a little looser on the arch and looser still around the ankles. This will provide support but still allow the leg to flex forward into proper position.
Shoulders should fit directly into shoulder caps without adjustments or straps. When lifting arms, pads should not dig into the neck of the player as this may cause injury. Arm pads should extend to just above the elbow, slightly covering the elbow pad, to ensure full protection. Actually, the cheaper ones are better at the younger ages – pads with little/no molded plastic – so as not to restrict motion.
With elbow in cup of pad, bottom should extend to top of glove cuff. Check that straps do not cut off circulation.
Try a pair out while gripping a stick. Fingers shouldn’t swim, but shouldn’t be snug either. Have your child drop their hands from their shoulders to their sides in a quick motion. The gloves shouldn’t fall off. Sliding down a little bit is okay.
Have your child pick one up off the ground several times and observe their hands - one will eventually consistently wind up on the bottom (closer to the blade). This is their dominant hand. You want a stick that curves away from this hand. Example: if their right hand is on the bottom, they are considered right-handed. When the blade is on the ground, it should curve toward their left side. Cut down the end of stick to the bottom of their nose in street shoes or at chin height when on tiptoes (to simulate skates). The front of the blade (the toe) should be on the ground and the stick vertical when you take this measurement. See coach or You Tube on how to tape up stick blade. Stick handles are encouraged to be wide on the end to make it easier for little hockey players to pick their sticks up off the ice.
Fit according to waist size; should not be tight. Bottom of leg should extend over shin guard by .5” or 1”, coming to the top of their kneecap when standing straight up.
If possible, put on their skates in order to get the proper length of the shin pad. The cap of the shin pad should be centered on the kneecap. The bottom of the pad should barely overlap the skate tongue. If the pad is too short, it leaves an unprotected area above the skate. If the pad is too long, it will prohibit their leg from flexing forward at the ankle and create discomfort for the player. Leg flexion is critical for proper skating form.
Jock Shorts (Boys) or Jills (Girls):
Jock shorts are great – well worth it in terms of time savings. They are more comfortable and have Velcro garters which hold up the hockey socks. Sizing is according to waist size. Jocks have a plastic cup for boys and Jills have a plastic plate for girls.
GYHA will supply each player a team practice jersey but for most practices and Learn to Play Hockey programs, any jersey is good so long as it gives the player enough room to move around.
Mandatory!!! There are all types. Choose based on size/age of your player. Follow directions if any molding needed. Strapped mouthgaurds are convenient as they attach to the facemask, so you’ll have it with you always.
It is something that is a requirement as your player moves forward. It is best to start now.
Ok, Now What?
Visit www.skatethepond.com to sign up for the Learn to Play hockey programs. Once your child has acquired the basic skills set up by USA Hockey, your kids is ready to start playing hockey.