The areas to consider when choosing a helmet are protection, comfort and fit. You should always look for equipment that feels comfortable. Although most helmets are lined with a protective foam, some do feel better than others. The helmet should be adjusted to fit snug to prevent any shifting and maximize protection. Make sure the chinstrap is adjusted so it gently makes contact under the chin when fastened. Cages or Full Shields are also required. The chin cup of the Cage or Shield should fit snugly on the bottom and front of the chin. It should NOT be in front of the mouth or below the chin. SERIOUS INJURY CAN RESULT.
With a cloth measuring tape, Place the tape measure 1" above your eyebrows and measure the distance around your head. Use this measurement to determine the helmet size on the chart below.
HELMET SIZE (by BRAND)
(Bauer and Nike)
241/2 to 261/2 inches
23 to 25 inches
22 to 231/2 inches
21 to 221/2 inches
22 to 237/8 inches
215/8 to 223/8 inches
201/8 to 22 inches
221/4 to 24 inches
211/4 to 221/4 inches
191/2 to 211/4 inches
22 to 237/8 inches
207/8 to 223/4 inches
201/2 to 223/4 inches
WHY DO I NEED TO WEAR A MOUTHGUARD?
Athletic mouthguards are an essential piece of safety equipment that should never be overlooked. Mouthguards not only significantly reduce the incidence and severity of injuries to the teeth and mouth, but they also act as a shock absorber against more serious injuries like concussions and jaw fractures.
WHAT DETERMINES THE PROPER FIT FOR SHOULDER PADS?
It is very important that the center of the player's shoulder lines up directly with the center of the shoulder caps. Good shoulder pads will provide protection for the collar bone, chest, ribs, back and upper arms. Improperly sized shouder pads will restrict movement and cause other un-niceties such as chaffing.
WHAT DETERMINES THE PROPER FIT FOR ELBOW PADS?
The players elbow should fit comfortably into the center of the elbow pad cup. Also, a good elbow pad will provide forearm protection which extends down to the cuff of the player's hockey glove.
WHAT IS THE PROPER FIT FOR HOCKEY GLOVES?
The main concern with the fit of a glove is making sure the gap between the glove and the elbow pad is minimal. The tightness or looseness of a glove is an individual preference. The tip of the fingers should not go completely to the end of the glove.
Protective Cup or Pelvic Protector
WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WHEN FITTING THIS PROTECTION?
Even the thought of an impact in that area of the body sends a shiver. They aren't very comfy and they take some getting used to, but the alternative in an impact is magnitudes worse. Please don't come to a practice or a game without a cup on. That's no less true for our young female players. Pelvic Protectors are difficult to find for young girls, but they are available and worth the search. They can be purchased at Hockey Barn at Blades in Rio Rancho.
Fitting for boys: Cup should be snug but not tight fitting and should allow freedom of leg movement. The supporter must allow some movement, but should not allow the cup to float. The cup itself shouldn't be so large to cause chaffing of the inner thigh. Many manufacturers make cups and supporters for boys.
Fitting for girls: Protector should be snug enough to not float around, but it also shouldn't restrict any movement. For the most part you are limited to whatever fits the waist, and for 99% of players that is fine. ProGaurd makes a youth pelvic protector.
WHAT DETERMINES THE PROPER FIT FOR BREEZERS OR PANTS?
While the fit should be loose and comfortable the pants should have the ability to be secured firmly by a belt around the waist. Approximately 90% of all players will be able to use their waist size as their guide for choosing the correct size pant. The bottom of the pants need to overlap the top of the shin pad kneecaps by 1 or 2 inches.
Suspenders are a good option for hockey pants, especially for young players without a well defined waist for a belt to work well.
WHAT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED WHEN SHOPPING FOR A GARTER BELT?
We won't touch the social implications of male players wearing garter belts, but you will need a method of holding your socks up. Fitting will be according to waist size. Try to find one with a wide waist belt.
An alternative to a garter belt is a JOCK short or effective equivalent. The Itech JOCK short is a pair of mesh shorts with or without an integrated cup and supporter and vecro sock retainers on the front and back of each leg. There are other manufacturers as well. A well equiped shop will have what you need.
WHAT IS THE PROPER FIT FOR SHIN PADS?
A player's kneecap should fit directly into the center of the kneecap cup of the shin pad. The shin pad should then extend down the full length of the lower leg. It's important to make sure the shin pad isn't too long. If so, the skate would push it up out of position.
WHAT IS THE PROPER FIT FOR SKATES?
Skates normally fit 1 to 1½ sizes smaller than your street shoes. While wearing the sock that will be worn when skating, slip your foot into the skate, pressing the ends of the toes against the front of the skate. In this position, you should be able to place one finger between the inside of the boot and the heel of your foot.
Skates that are too big will severly hinder your players learning and confidence. Don't think that buying a size too big is a good investment, half size is OK. The skates need to be comfortable and supportive.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT LENGTH OF STICK TO USE AND WHERE SHOULD I CUT MY STICK OFF?
A good way to measure your stick is to stand, without skates in your stocking feet, on a flat surface. Place the toe of your stick on the ground between your feet. Lean the stick straight up-and-down so the handle of the stick touches the tip of your nose. A general rule is to mark and cut the handle of your stick where it touches the players chin. This is contradictory to most conventional rules of stick length. Yet those general rules apply to players that have already learned proper puck control.
HOW MUCH CURVE?
Beginning players should have very little to no curve to their stick in order to develop good puck control habits.
YOUTH vs. JUNIOR vs. SENIOR
Senior sticks should never be cut down for young players to play with. Many manufacturing companies and even retailers would have you believe that a JUNIOR stick is suitable for players 12 years old and younger. If you have a large 8 year old then that may be suitable, but the average young player under the age of 8 should be using a YOUTH stick. The shafts are just the right size for small hands and the blades are managable while controlling the puck.
Here are three great YOUTH sticks available.
Bauer Supreme 3030YTH JOFA-TITAN 7000 KOHO 2260
You should consider buying two sticks and only cut one down as needed. Then as the player grows they are getting the same familiar stick with only the length changing. Stick selection is rather individual and sometimes it's like having a lucky charm.