Ice hockey is a fast-paced, exciting game that can be played by virtually anyone, at any age and skill level, during any time of the year. Whether you play for fun, to get in shape, to learn new skills, to meet new people, or for all of these reasons, ice hockey is a challenging game that will always keep you coming back for more.
Ice hockey’s fast pace is what makes it so much fun, but due to the risks involved in skating, it’s important to take precautions that reduce the danger of getting seriously injured. This article will help you choose the right ice hockey equipment for the adult league you’re playing in so you are prepared for those inevitable tumbles on the ice and collisions with fellow players.
Required Hockey Equipment for Adult Leagues
There are some important pieces of equipment that you never want to be on the ice without:
Skates – Hockey skates are, of course, a vital piece of equipment for playing ice hockey. The right fit is essential. If you are new to the sport, ask more experienced players to recommend a pro shop that can fit you properly. Try as many brands as needed until you feel comfortable in the boot; otherwise, playing will not be enjoyable. While it is not usually possible to test drive a particular pair on the ice before buying, you may find a used pair or a fellow player with similarly sized feet who is willing to let you try his.
The right boots will last for years, so don’t skimp on price. Once you find the right pair, make sure to get the blades sharpened regularly according to the pro shop’s advice.
Helmet (cage recommended/visor minimum) – Helmets are required to protect the head from falls and from flying pucks. A good helmet will allow you to really get into the game without fear of concussions, dental injuries, and cuts and bruises to the face. Get help in selecting the right size and secure the chin strap tightly to keep it from sliding during play.
Hockey helmets are available with or without a cage and/or a visor, and some have both. It is highly recommended that you purchase a helmet with a full cage. Remember that Shinny USA games include players of variable skill levels, and even the most experienced players sometimes lose control of the puck or their stick. Having full protection at all times can only help!
Gloves – Hockey gloves are designed to be stiff enough to protect the tops of the hands but flexible enough for you to be able to maneuver the stick. A good pair of gloves protects the thumbs, is mobile in the palm to allow grip, and has cuff protection without restricting forearm movement. Try several pairs to find one that is both comfortable and flexible.
Elbow pads – Elbows are extremely sensitive, and unfortunately they often are the body part to break your fall as you are learning to skate. Hockey elbow pads are made of stiff plastic and are designed to protect and stabilize the joint. They are easy to adjust via Velcro straps, and they offer effective protection from falls as well as impact from a puck, which can be excruciatingly painful without padding.
Hockey Pants – Hockey pants offer extra protection in the kidneys, tailbone, hips, and thighs, which is helpful if you are still working on the basics and beyond.
Shin guards/pads – Knees are another body part that get banged up too often when not protected on the ice. Shin guards protect knee caps, the sides of the knees, and the shins down to the top of your boot. A combination of foam and plastic keeps your knees and lower legs safe from falls, pucks, and sticks.
Hockey Socks – Hockey socks are long tube socks that are open at the top and bottom. They help to keep shin pads in place and also protect against the cold.
Hockey Stick & Bag – Choosing the right stick length is pretty simple. If you’re wearing shoes, put the blade on the floor in front of you. You’re looking for the top of the stick to be even with your nose. In skates, the top of the stick should reach 3 inches below your chin.
Hockey sticks are made from a variety of materials. Start off with a reasonably priced stick, and as you’re learning, try as many different sticks as you can get your hands on. After some time on the ice, you will know which one is best for you by feel.
There are many options in terms of bags: Duffel, wheeled, or backpack equipment bags; hockey stick bags; hockey accessory bags. Choose the one(s) that work for you based on the amount and weight of the gear you use on the ice. If you will be carting your kids and their gear along with you on some trips to the rink, wheeled bags will help you manage the mountains of gear you’ll be toting around!
Optional Ice Hockey Equipment for Adult Hockey Programs
Although the following equipment may not be mandatory, it’s probably a good idea to consider each.
Jock/Pelvic protector – Most of us don’t need to be told twice to protect the groin area. Specialty ice hockey cups provide additional protective padding, but you can opt for any type of athletic supporter.
Neck guard – While not required, it may be wise to protect this very sensitive area from flying pucks or from other players’ blades, which could contact your neck if there’s a pileup. Unlikely, but possible.
Shoulder pads – Shoulder pads offer extra protection to the upper torso and shoulder girdle. They should not restrict movement since they are made as a one-piece garment that fits over the head.
Mouth guard – A mouth guard is an optional piece of equipment that offers additional impact protection to the mouth and teeth. It may even help to prevent concussions. If you’d like to give it a try, buy one off the rack at a sporting goods store or pro shop; later, if it’s working for you, you may choose to have your dentist make a custom one for you.
Be Safe and Protected Playing in an Adult Ice Hockey Program
When starting off, it may be wise to source used and inexpensive gear while you’re still getting used to the game. As you can see, there’s potentially a lot of equipment that goes along with playing hockey, so don’t feel like you have to spend a fortune just to get started. We’ll be happy to recommend a good pro shop near you so that you can get your hands on the basics.
Why sit out and watch your kids have a ball on the ice when you can play, too? No matter your age or skill level, Shinny USA has a place for you in one of our fun, low-stakes pickup games. You know you want to! We look forward to seeing you on the ice. Contact Shinny USA today!