When your child decides he or she wants to play hockey, you quickly realize that you are going to need to get the right gear. In case you are not aware, hockey players wear A LOT of gear. At a minimum, you will need:
- Helmet with cage
- Shoulder/chest pads
- Elbow pads
- Pants (padded shorts)
- Protective cup
- Shin guards
- Socks (to go over the shin guards; typically the colors are team-specific)
- Neck guard (some wear this early on, some don’t)
If you have a goalie on your hands, the list changes a bit:
- Goalie skates (different from player skates, not necessary at the start but will be needed as he or she progresses)
- Goalie helmet (again, different from a player helmet)
- Chest protector (covers chest, shoulders, and arms)
- Neck guard
- Goalie pants (once again, different from player pants; again not necessary at first but will be later)
- Protective cup (there are goalie-specific cups but we haven’t moved up to that level yet)
- Leg pads
- Blocker and catcher
- Goalie stick
If you are still reading (and haven’t left to beg your child to pick up a sport like running – just need a decent pair of shoes to get started there), your next question may be “Where can we get all this stuff?”
Ding! Ding! Ding! That is the million-dollar question (and sometimes it can feel like you need a million bucks to pay for it all). There are plenty of online stores that sell gear. The clearance sections of those sites are a great place to start. Without becoming an advertiser for these sites, I’ll mention a few to get you started – Hockey Giant, HockeyMonkey/GoalieMonkey, Ice Warehouse, Perani’s Hockey World, Pure Hockey, Total Hockey, and sporting goods stores like Dick’s or Sports Authority. Amazon and eBay also have hockey gear sections. Some area rinks have pro shops where you can get gear, but be aware that they don’t tend to have a lot of youth gear on hand. They can help you size and order gear, however, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Some leagues hold gear sales or gear swaps so be sure to check for those. Other hockey parents are great resources, too, as they may have old gear that they are willing to part with as their children outgrow it. I have also heard that Craigslist can be a good resource for gear for sale. Area used sporting equipment stores also tend to have a large hockey section. Just be prepared for the smell – sorting through a bunch of old gear can be rough on the nose.
I have to admit that finding gear has been one of our biggest challenges. I do most of my ordering online but sizing can be a challenge. We’ve had to return more than one item that was too big or too uncomfortable. If you do order online, be sure that you check the return policy so that you are not stuck with the gear or lose money on returns.
I welcome any other ideas or suggestions for where to get gear. Just comment below. All hockey parents out there will thank you!