Equipment Required for Ice Hockey (A list)
We’ve all been there.
You’re a couple of days out and have no idea what you gear you need for hockey season and how much it will cost.
But don’t worry, we have your back with this ice hockey equipment list guide.
With all of the equipment needed to play a game of ice hockey, it is very difficult for someone to just jump into the game and give it a try.
From ice skates to safety padding, hockey players need more equipment than most other athletes. While it is possible to borrow hockey equipment or to find it used, hockey equipment can be incredibly expensive especially when compared with other sports!.
First: Is all the Equipment Necessary?
Without all of the necessary equipment, hockey players would get hurt all over their bodies. Fortunately, hockey equipment has evolved, especially since the earliest players, including goalies, who never even wore protective gear over their faces if you can imagine.
If you have ever seen pictures of Terry Sawchuk, who played in the 1950s, you have seen the surprising number of scars all over his face. These are from not wearing protective gear until the 1960s when wearing goalie masks was still voluntary.
With the puck flying all over the ice, sticks swinging through the air, and skates gliding over the ice, there are plenty of objects that can do considerable damage to the human body.
The fact that all of this equipment is being used on slippery ice only adds to the dangerous quality of the game.
While it is possible to play with figure skates, ice hockey skates are designed for the starting and stopping, and side-to-side action of the game. Ice hockey skates are lower to the ice, so they give players a lower center of gravity and more balance while on the ice.
Ice hockey skates also have more padding and support for ankle stability. There are specialized skates for position players and for goalies. The player’s skates have a smoother edge on the blade, while goalie skates do not.
Hockey skates run in sizes that are similar to youth and men’s shoes. Most people buy their skates in one or one and a half sizes smaller than their shoes. So a man who wears size 10 shoes should buy a size 9 in hockey skates.
If you are buying skates for youth players who still have growing feet, then it is a good idea to buy skates in a half size lower than their shoe size. This allows for growth.
Hockey Helmets and Face Protection
This is one piece of equipment that has changed dramatically over time!
It wasn’t too long ago that hockey players were not required to wear helmets. In 1979, all newly entering players to the NHL were required to wear helmets. But, players who were grandfathered in did not have to and many of them did not. There were still players who did not wear them in the late 1990s. Thankfully, all hockey players now wear them.
Goalie Masks vs Player Helmets
The hockey helmet for a position player is different from that of a goalie.
Some helmets are plastic with Plexiglas masks and others are metal with wire cages over the face. The type you wear is up to you. Some people really like the wire cages and they do not complain about having their vision blocked, while others swear by the plastic masks because they have a wide range of sight.
Goalie masks are more complicated than the typical position player helmet. There are cage helmets for goalies and there are the big molded masks that most professional goalies wear. These helmets protect the entire head and they also protect the neck. Because of the shots on goal, goalie masks almost always have a wire cage to protect the face – simply because the cage offers more protection than the plastic that position players wear.
All hockey players should wear neck guards.
If they aren’t already attached to their masks, then they should wear a separate one. These will protect the neck against errant pucks or flying sticks. A puck to the neck could cause debilitating pain and possibly even death. These are inexpensive protective devices that make a big difference.
Many hockey players also wear mouth guards while they are playing.
Even though their mouths are covered by their face masks, there is still a chance that teeth can break. These can be purchased in all sporting good stores and they are easy to customize with hot water. If you wear braces, you should talk to your orthodontist or dentist about special protective gear.
Of course – Hockey Sticks
It is practically impossible to play hockey without skates and a stick. Hockey sticks are made out of a variety of materials including several types of woods. Now, most are made of carbon fibers and graphite.
They come in different lengths and the best way to determine the perfect length for you is to stand in your street shoes and stand the stick next to you. It should come to your nose, at least.
Most hockey players have at least two hockey sticks, since they often break during games.
Hockey goalies need their own sticks and they are rather different from the position player sticks. They are wider at the base because they have to stop pucks rather than send pucks. Both goalie and position player sticks come in numerous price points.
The ice is cold, but that is not why hockey players wear gloves while they are playing.
Hockey gloves are for protection from flying pucks and swinging sticks. The outer part of the hands are covered with substantial padding, while the palm is thin for stick control. Goalies have incredibly thick gloves and they have a section that is designed for defending against pucks.
Upper Body Protective Gear
The rest of the arms are protected in their own gear.
Elbow guards and shoulder pads keep the players from getting injured. It might seem like all of this gear would get in the way of playing the game, but in actuality, it helps players feel confident on the ice.
Elbow pads attach with Velcro straps. The pads are bigger than the elbow guards that baseball players wear. Hockey elbow pads cover the entire forearm as well as the triceps, too. They are required in every league and help protect the body from falls and from rogue pucks.
Shoulder pads protect more than just the shoulders.
They cover the entire chest and most of the upper back, too. They provide protection to the rib cage, collar bones, and the shoulder blades, which all could break if pucks hit the body hard enough. There are different types of shoulder pads, so you should try on several versions to find the one that gives you the most range of motion and protective covering.
Lower Body Protective Gear
Everything below the waist also needs to be protected in hockey.
Protective hockey gear includes pants, shin guards, and pelvic protection.
Hockey pants are cushioned with plastic inserts to protect the upper legs and rear from being hit by pucks and sticks. Most hockey pants have kidney protection, too.
Hockey pants for goalies have even more protection than the pants that position players wear. No matter what position you play, hockey pants are loose fitting, because they have so much padding.
Hockey players all wear shin guards as well.
They have big, thick, long socks that the shin guards snuggly fit into. The shin guards take the soccer versions to the next level as hockey guards protect the shins and the knee caps, too. You should be able to bend your knees when you wear them, so be sure to try them on with your legs bent.
The last bit of lower body protective gear is for the pelvis. Men need to wear jockstraps and cups while women should wear pelvic protectors. These areas are very sensitive and can be permanently damaged by a hard-hit puck. Do not take a chance.
Separate Goalie Gear
Hockey goalies need to have the thickest pads to protect their legs. These are unique to the position, as position players do not wear this type of protection.
The goalie leg pads set the goalie apart from the other position players. The leg protectors make it difficult to skate fast, but they keep the goalie’s legs from being broken.
Goalies also need to have two other unique pieces of gear: the blocker and the catching mitt. The blocker is held in one hand and is used to get the puck away from the net. The catching mitt is meant to catch the puck on the fly. In many cases, goalie gear can be purchased in a set, so you do not have to buy everything separately.
Conclusion on What Hockey Equipment you need
Well there you have it. The complete list of equipment you need to step onto the ice. We did say in the beginning that the list is extensive and requires quite a bit of an initial investment. However, this is primarily for protection first to ensure you can keep playing instead of sitting out injured.
You can view more great tips from our Ice Hockey 101 series.