More than $793 million is spent producing various types of athletic equipment every year. Nearly $400 million of this amount is hockey equipment. Nearly one out of every ten citizens plays the sport. Hockey is a game that requires the correct equipment in order to play. The equipment affects performance and protects the players from high velocity shots and checks. Every player must have a few key pieces of gear.
Skates are one of the most important pieces of hockey equipment. A pair that does not fit correctly could lead to injuries and poor performance on the ice. Most people will need to choose a size that is one to two sizes smaller than the normal shoes worn each day. This helps to create a tighter fit. It is also essential to choose skates that are specifically designed for hockey. The boot should have a good amount of padding around the ankle and the tongue. The boot should fit snugly over the foot with almost no extra space in order to ensure the best and safest performance.
Every hockey player needs a complete set of pads. Shoulder pads are always required. The pads should fit tightly with very little movement. Loose pads will become a liability during rough play since they can be pushed up and into the face or neck. The pads should also allow free movement of the arms and body. The rules of the game will help to determine what thickness of pads to purchase. Thick and heavy pads are not necessary in a league that prohibits checking. Gloves are another important type of padding. The main feature to look for in hockey gloves is strong thumb protection. Even casual play can cause serious injuries to the thumb that are very painful.
The first thing to look for when choosing a hockey stick is the height. A hockey stick should be the same height as the nose when held next to a standing player. The material the stick is made from will affect the weight and feel. Wood is good for new players although serious players will want to consider composite or aluminum sticks. All hockey sticks also have a measurement known as flex. Flex is how much the blade will give when pressure is applied during play. The general rule is that taller and heavier players require less flex since they apply more force to the blade. New players will want a high amount of flex. The number is usually printed somewhere on the stick.
Helmets protect the face and brain. A helmet is one piece of protective equipment that every player should use during every game. The helmet should fit correctly with no room for movement. A chinstrap is necessary to keep the helmet secured in place. A good helmet will cover the ears as well. Players will want to choose a helmet that has complete face protection. This could be a clear plastic visor, a cage or a combination of both. Helmets that leave large open areas around the face are not recommended because serious injuries could occur if a puck flies into the eyes or nose.