September 18, 2015
With the onset of cooler weather, kids go back to school and hockey players prepare to hit the rinks. The NHL season resumes in October, but teams ranging from young novices to advanced teens will suit up for a chance at whatever trophy lies at the end of their journey. When it’s time to lace the skates again, how can you be properly prepared for a new season?
One of the ongoing pains for parents of hockey players is finding the right pair of skates for their kids each season when their feet grow just enough that they no longer fit into last season’s skates. It’s a fact of life that kids will grow and a fact of life that skates aren’t cheap — making some parents look for ways to cut down on costs. While buying a used pair of skates is often the best way to avoid purchasing a new set of skates each season, buying a set of skates that are a size too large will not help your child’s development. Unlike sneakers that a kid can grow into, hockey skates need to be tailored as close as possible to a hockey player’s feet. Skates that are too large, meant to fit well in the months or years to come, will leave a player unable to properly use his/her edges and push off, risking ankle injuries in addition to a poor skating stride. Don’t forget to sharpen skates either, as a long offseason can cause moisture and dust to build up on skates and dull their edges. Remember, there are different ways to sharpen skates: a shallow cut makes it easier to glide on the ice in stride to reduce your exertion, while a deeper cut gives you better push-off power when accelerating on the ice for a breakaway.
How can you be certain that you have the best hockey stick to gain an edge over the competition? Like all other equipment aspects of the game, odds are you’ll know you have the right stick when you pick it up at the store and try some intricate stickhandling. A good rule of thumb for selecting sticks is to find one that is long enough to reach your chin from the floor, which will give you a great range of motion needed to stickhandle around the defense or deke the netminder. While the NHL has size restrictions on sticks, blades and curves, a rec league allows you to use a stick with whatever attributes you want — whether you have a toe that gives a great wrist shot or a flat paddle that has the most point of contact for a perfect tape-to-tape pass. The only restriction, of course, is that you cannot play with a broken stick, meaning you can’t tape a crack or a splinter once a twig bursts.
The Gloves Come Off
While buying used equipment is usually a good idea, an exception is in your pair of gloves. Hockey gloves need to have enough flex to move with the motions of your wrists, but not so much flex that they cannot transfer the rotational torque (used to power a shot) when you unleash a one timer. Used gloves rarely have the durability needed to keep a shot steady and precise, making it necessary to buy a new set of mitts when the old ones have worn out from last season. Luckily, gloves are one of the cheapest parts of your hockey inventory and have a good lifespan — much longer than the sticks they hold — making it necessary to only buy a new pair every few years instead of each season.
About the author:
Erin Wozniak is the Director of Marketing for Pro Stock Hockey, an online resource for pro stock hockey equipment. Erin is passionate about the game and is an expert in web strategy and digital marketing. Pro Stock Hockey offers pro stock gloves, sticks, protective gear and more.