Partially Reprinted from USA Hockey, Inc – “Parent’s Introduction to Youth Hockey” – rev. 05/2004.
Selection of hockey equipment is a key issue for players, parents and coaches. When purchasing and fitting hockey equipment, remember two important factors:
A complete set of hockey equipment can be purchased for a relatively reasonable cost. Shop around for the best values and remember that you need not buy the most expensive equipment. Inquire about local equipment swaps and team discounts, but keep in mind the equipment must fit properly to provide maximum protection.
The following are guidelines to assist you in purchasing equipment for your child. To ensure proper fitting; when ever possible try to have equipment fitted by a trained & qualified in-store assistant. This will ensure that your child is adequately fitted, protected, and comfortable in his or her equipment so that they will have a safe and fun time on the ice.
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A proper fit for skates should fit 1 – 1.5 sizes smaller than your street shoes. Toes should barely touch the toe cap while having no more than ½ inch of space in the heel. When finished lacing skates up, skates should feel snug with the foot resting flat on the foot bed. When sizing children follow above methods while allowing ½ size extra for growth. Most skates use this formula except “Mission branded skates” which run true to shoe size. A poor fitting skate can create bad habits and breakdown prematurely while holding back skating performance.
All certified helmets have a sticker indicating there approval. You may check the current list of certified HECC products or recalls on their website. A helmet should fit snug yet comfortable thereby maximizing it’s protection and fit. To size a helmet you will need to measure the circumference of the head by using a tape measure 1” above the eyebrows. This will give you a measurement that will help to determine the proper helmet size.
Must also be of a design and construction approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council (HECC).
Required for players in the 12-or-under (youth) and 10-or-under (girls) through Junior age classifications. USA Hockey encourages players of all ages and ability levels to use a mouthpiece.
Length should generally extend from the ice to the player’s chin (with skates on). Quality and price differ greatly, so the choice is yours.
To measure sticks, first stand without skates with the stick straight up on a flat surface. Then measure the stick with the handle touching the tip of your nose. This is a proper fitted stick.
A stick can also be cut to achieve a perfect size. Mark where the bottom of your nose meets the shaft and cut. When standing on your skates the stick should come up to the bottom of your chin or just below it.
Ask for help from a qualified store associate: When purchasing a hockey stick for the 1st time, one of the most common mistakes a parent can make is to buy a hockey stick for a youth player that was designed for an adult or teenage player. There are many factors that differentiate a Youth Hockey Stick from an Adult Hockey Stick. These factors include "shaft diameter", "stick length", "blade width & height" as well as the angle the blade sits on the ice when a player holds the stick. Be sure to purchase a stick that was designed for a player approximately your son/daughter's age & height. Asking for help from a qualified associate will ensure you purchase the right stick for your son/daughter.
Check for proper length so they protect the knee and shin completely.
Ensure that the cap of the shin pad is centered on the knee cap. The calf padding should wrap around the lower leg.
Essential protective equipment.
Gloves should fit loose, offering freedom while still giving adequate protections in all areas. The glove should offer freedom of movement in all positions without chafing or restricting movement.
To measure for gloves measure the distance between the fingers and the elbow pad to determine size.
Adjust to fit the individual at the time of purchase. A fiber cap is extremely important in preventing shoulder separations and should extend to the tip of the shoulder.
Hockey pants have padding covering the thighs, tail bone as well as the hips.
The protection around the hips is crucial for body contact (such as hip checks) but it is also great protection for when you fall. Make sure that your hockey pants fit snug and the bottom of the pants cover your thigh completely. This should also cover the tops of the shin pads and minimize the amount of unprotected leg.
Properly fitted so they do not slide. For goaltenders, special equipment is necessary, such as: gloves (catching and stick), chest and stomach protector, goalie skates (with a protective shell), leg pads, and shoulder and arm protectors. The goaltender’s equipment is especially important, so seek advice from a knowledgeable source.
USA Hockey rules do not mandate that player wear neck laceration protectors. However wearing a neck guard offers an extra level of safety. Some state Hockey governing boards may require neck guards though. When traveling out of state for tournaments, be sure to check with the local rules concerning neck guard usage.