If you’re an ice hockey veteran, this stuff might seem like a no-brainer…but each one of these tips is a must for making sure you don’t look like a punk on the ice and a wounded duck off the ice.
1. Wear a helmet. No… not while you’re out for lunch – but definitely on the ice! All organized leagues enforce the use of certified helmets. If you just like to hack around the local rink with friends, wear one for safety and set an example.
2. Wear a face-mask. Whether it’s a half or full visor or a wire cage, a face-mask is the best way to prevent facial injuries, especially to your eyes. After all… don’t you want to see your highlights on the late nite sports show?
3. Play in skates that fit. If they don’t fit properly, every part of your game will suffer. Think of your skates as the foundation to build a freakishly skilled hockey super-hero on. Check out boot options like memory foam inserts and heat-moulded skates for a truly customized fit.
4. Get your skates sharpened regularly. It will help your game and keep you one step ahead of the competition.
5. Always wear skate guards when you’re not on the ice. Unless you like spending most of your time skidding around the ice on your butt…keep those blades sharp! And, hockey store don’t forget to dry your runners before packing your skates in the bag – it’s a mistake too many players make.
6. Use protective equipment that matches your game. Hard hits require the best in lightweight protection such as dual density foams. Single high-density foams are great for hacking around on the pond. If you’re not sure what’s right for you – visit a dedicated hockey store – they should steer you in the right direction.
7. Dry your equipment after every game! Unless you want to smell like a rotten egg, empty your hockey bag and spread your equipment out on the floor or use a specially-designed hockey stand. This prevents mildew, makes it last longer, and doesn’t make you wince the next time you throw it on.
8. Take the footbeds out of your skates to let them dry after every game. This is the most common mistake I see players make… if you do it, your skates will last a lot longer!
9. The type of stick you play with can make an enormous difference in your on-ice performance. Think about it… a sniper wouldn’t take a bazooka – so make sure you have the right tool to get your job done! Some serious players prefer a stiff composite shaft while beginners should opt for a flexible wood stick.
10. Do up your chinstrap and wear a mouth guard. Your brain, your teeth and your mother will thank you.
Well there you have it…hockey is the greatest sport in the world… and it’s always more fun when your well-equipped and safe!