Must-Have Hockey Gear to Keep Your Child Safe
As one of the most popular winter sports, hockey has fans from all over the world across all ages. For children, joining a hockey league is a great way for them to not only adopt an active lifestyle, but also to help teach them about teamwork, leadership skills, and fair play. There are approximately half a million children in the United States and Canada taking part in ice hockey leagues each year.
Hockey has always been a competitive contact sport, and injuries are not uncommon on the ice. When it comes to keeping children safe while they play, equipping them with the right gear is essential to an injury-free season.
If your children are planning on hitting the ice this season, the following are the must-have hockey gear items to keep them safe:
A helmet is one of the top pieces of equipment that children will need on the ice. There is a wide range of helmets for youth athletes available today, with many of them being adjustable to grow with them. Keep in mind, however, that helmets are only adjustable from front to back, and not in width.
Be sure to go over the proper way to wear a helmet with your kids, and ensure that they use the J-Clip piece. This piece will take the brunt of the hit if your child falls on their chin, and it helps to keep the face mask in place. Before every season, be sure that all of the screws in the helmet are tight, and that the helmet still fits securely and comfortably on their head.
Gloves help to protect the hands and wrist from falls, hits, and slap shots, but they’re only useful if they fit properly. A pair of gloves should fit comfortably and snuggly so they don’t fall off easily during play. Depending on the brand, extra protection and padding may be offered.
For younger players, try to choose a glove style that makes it easy for them to open and close their hands. Many designs are too heavy for them to maneuver, so try a few different options.
This piece is often forgotten by players, but the types of injuries that occur around the neck are often very serious and sometimes life-threatening. Find a neck guard that fully covers the neck of the player, and be sure to emphasize the important of this piece.
Choosing the right pair of skates is imperative for the comfort and safety of your hockey players. Skates that are even one size too big can often affect balance and comfort, and players may assume an improper skating technique or posture to make up for the lack of proper support in their feet.
Having skates that don’t fit properly may also lead to sores and blisters, which can be very painful and uncomfortable for young hockey players. There should always be a little room in the toe area of the skate, and skates should be tied tightly at the top. This will ensure greater support for younger ankles that are not yet fully developed.
To protect the thighs and mid-section, hockey pants are a necessity. Pants should not extend further than the knee, and the player should feel as though they still have a full range of motion.
Socks are a must-have to keep the feet dry and comfortable within the skate, but they are also necessary for keeping the shin pads in place. Shin pads will help to protect players from other skates, pucks, and sticks, so be sure to add this to your list. Socks should fit snuggly from top to bottom and will likely attach to the jock at the top of the leg.
Hockey Canada took a stand by making a national policy change, which made contact illegal in the sport of hockey for players younger than 13. The result saw injuries cut in half, with concussions cut back by almost two-thirds. However, the rule is not imparted everywhere, and safety equipment should still be used at all times to greatly reduce the chance of injury in youth hockey players.
Be sure to invest in these pieces of hockey safety equipment to keep your child safe, as well as any other hockey protective gear for safety that will help to shield previously injured areas from experiencing re-injury.