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Ice Hockey Equipment Basics

The evolution of ice hockey equipment and of the game itself has been a long process. Current beliefs date ice hockey back to prehistoric periods, but, obviously, the modern game is much different and requires a specialized set of equipment to both play the game and prevent injuries to players. Since the advent of the modern era of the game, equipment has changed from the basic rudimentary leather helmets to include pads and sticks made from special materials. The idea, however, remains the same. All equipment used in the game of ice hockey is to promote skillful playing of the game and to protect players against the hazards of the game, such as the high impact collisions and speeds of a traveling puck.

The safety equipment used in the game has evolved from the previously mentioned helmets to include the following equipment: modern helmets, shoulder pads, gloves, neck guards, elbow pads, mouth guards, padded shorts, and shin guards.


In addition to protecting players, the equipment used is meant to improve performance and allow for a more skillful game to be played. Some performance equipment are ice hockey skates and sticks. The modern skates are generally made from either leather or nylon, although experienced players tend to go for the leather option as nylon can limit mobility. Also, the skates are equipped with a blade on the bottom to allow effective movement across the ice. This blade differs from a figure skater’s skate in that the blade is rounded so injuries to other players are less likely. The sticks used by players are one of the most important pieces of equipment in the game as they are how the players interact with the puck. Most sticks are comprised of wood and have a flat part at the bottom of the stick which is how players control the direction of the puck.

The position of goalkeeper necessitates specialized ice hockey goalie equipment. As the goalkeeper can often be the target of rapidly moving pucks, goalie masks and other safety equipments have been designed to prevent any damage from occurring. The pads of a goalkeeper contain more padding than the equipment of standard players. In addition, the gloves are different due to the different functions required of a goalkeeper. A catcher’s mitt is also used on one hand instead of a typical hockey glove.

With all this necessary equipment, specialized ice hockey equipment bags have been created so players can easily transport their gear to and from the ice. These bags, or hockey lockers, usually have a large central pocket with additional pockets at either end for holding the player’s skates. Ice hockey equipment has made great strides over the years and the end result is a better and safer gamer for both players and spectators alike.

Ice Hockey Pads

Ice hockey pads are required for the sport of ice hockey and are incredibly helpful in minimizing injury to allow for a good play of the game. Everyone play ice hockey with pads and all leagues require their use. There are many components to hockey pads and the performance of each of them should be considered before their use and purchase.

The main goal of pads is protect the bones and joints of the ice hockey player. Hockey is a very active and fun sport but it can be very dangerous. Because of the skates and the ice, the player move at very high speed and tend to impact with the wall, the ice, and other players. This sets up the situation for a potential injury very quickly. Pads can be warn to protect from injury. The pads are strategically placed on the body at locations that are prone to injury. These tend to be all of the joint and exposed areas of the arms and legs. The center of the body, around the abdomen, is normally the only place that does not have a large pad over it. This is because it would severely limit the movement of the player if a pad was placed there.

Ice Hockey Pads

Ice hockey leg pads are always worn and tend to get the most use, besides gloves. These leg pads protect the shins from damage and also protect the knees. The knees tend to take an excessive beating throughout at game because when a person falls, they tend to land on their knee. Therefore, ice hockey leg padding needs to have a lot of material on the knees to prevent injury. These materials are normally cloth and foam that are covered with a plastic. The plastic can rub along the walls or ice and not be worn out while the cloth and foam are comfortable against the skin.

Some of the players wear specific pads that help them with their position. The goalie is the player who protects the net and since he is front of the goal, gets a lot of puck shot at him or her. Because of this, the goalie needs to have special ice hockey goalie pads for their legs as well as chest and arms. The ice hockey goalie pads need to be designed to absorb the impact of a puck flying at high speed right at the pad. This could severely injure a person who was not wearing pads, so the goalie pads need to excess cushioning to make sure they function well. The goalies also wear a full chest shield and have a different mask and gloves that allow them to block and catch the puck. Other players do not have a full face mask, a requirement for goalies.

With proper equipment, ice hockey can be a very fun and exciting sport. Ice hockey pads are required to play and allow the game to be safe and prevent people from getting injured when they play.

Elbow Pads

In the game of ice hockey, joint function is critical and ice hockey elbow pads can help a player retain full function of the elbow as well as preventing injuries to the joint. From goalkeepers to forwards to even referees, everyone on the ice uses their elbows quite a bit. This joint is important for proper stick handling skills and can get a lot of use while playing the game. In addition, as ice hockey is a high impact sport. Protecting the elbow is a serious concern due to collisions with the ice and rails as well as with other players.

While the earliest forms of protective ice hockey equipment were made from leather and other limited materials, there have been great advances both in the materials used and the design of the product. These advances have led to a major reduction in the number of injuries incurred while playing hockey. Newer models of pads for the elbow joint may include molded caps that conform perfectly to a player’s elbow. The armor plates and foam used have also been improved and now provide maximum levels of protection. Pads for the elbow may include such innovative features as inner liners that are specifically designed to reduce moisture within the interior of the pad. Some of these liners even contain a layer of anti-microbial cloth to prevent any possible infections created by sweating or contusions.

A good choice for a pair of hockey elbow pads should include memory foam that remembers the shape of a player’s elbow. In this manner, the elbow pads provide maximum support while allowing proper weight distribution across the joint and bones of the arm. These pads should also include an exterior armor that allows mobility without sacrificing adequate protection. The best pads feature a series of smaller plates that do not hinder the ability to move the joint. Pads with a single armor plate should be avoided as they can seriously limit how a player is able to move his elbow. An additional feature that can make a large difference in the comfort level of a pad is the inclusion of many straps to secure the pad to the elbow firmly.

Choosing the right size of pads for the elbows can be as important as which particular model is chosen. The pads should fit without being too tight or too loose as both will limit the elbow’s mobility. To choose the correct size, a player should begin by putting on his gloves and shoulder pads and then measuring the distance between the end of the glove and the beginning of the shoulder pad. After this measurement has been taken, multiple brands and models should be tried on to determine which provides the most comfortable fit. A fitting model should leave no area of exposed skin and will place the elbow directly into the cup within the pad. Although the features of each individual pad model are important, the most critical part of the decision to buy ice hockey elbow pads is choosing the correct size.

Ice Hockey Gloves

Ice hockey gloves exist for two basic functions: preventing injuries to the wrists and hands and allowing enough movement to not limit skillful playing of the game. Ice hockey is a high impact sport and injuries incurred while playing the game are not uncommon. Thus, the gloves and other equipment have been specifically designed to provide excellent protection. However, a good pair of hockey gloves must also allow a player to effectively control the stick and not impair the player’s performance.

The features of hockey gloves have progressed tremendously in modern times. Most commonly, the glove itself is constructed from nylon or other synthetic materials to allow the largest range of movement possible while still providing adequate stability. Newer gloves will utilize special foams that remember the shape of a player’s hand. In addition, a nylon mesh may be present to prevent a buildup of sweat in the interior of the glove. The finger coverings may be split into different sections to promote movement of the digits and the thumb may be reinforced to limit potential injuries. Also, the grips of the palm and fingers can be configured to prevent slippage of the hockey stick. Most gloves contain an exterior strap at the wrist that lets the player adjust the tightness of the glove to their preference.


Due to the different functions of regular players and goalkeepers, there are three differing types of hockey gloves.  Rules of the game prevent the player from catching the puck in midair with the glove. Only the goalie is allowed to catch the puck. Goalies actually have a different type of glove for each hand. On the stick hand, the goalie wears a glove which is called a blocker and has an over-sized pad covering the forearm. This pad is used to block a player’s attempted shot on goal. The other hand of a goalie is covered with a glove, known as a trapper, that is similar to a baseball catcher’s mitt. It is used to block shots by catching the puck. Both types of ice hockey goalie gloves have rules governing the maximum size of the equipment.

Choosing the correct ice hockey glove can be a major decision. The gloves should fit firmly but should not be either too loose or too tight. A loose glove will reduce a player’s control of the stick while a tight glove will limit the mobility of a player’s hand. Each player may have a different comfort zone for the gloves, but a general rule is that the player’s fingers should not reach the end of the glove and movement should be limited as little as possible. The glove should slightly overlap the elbow pad. Directly after buying a pair of hockey gloves, they may feel too stiff. As they are broken in, this feeling will diminish. One way to speed up this process is to soak the gloves to loosen the material. Ice hockey gloves are an important addition to a player’s equipment and good care should be applied to choose the correct pair.

Goalie Ice Hockey Pads

Goalie ice hockey pads are the pads that a goaltender must wear, similar to the pads wore in cricket. They are designed to protect goaltenders legs and to help them stopping the shots getting through the net. According to the NHL’s new rules the leg pads can not be wider than 11 inches nor higher than 38 inches. However, by the old set of rules a goaltender could wear leg pads no wider than 12 inches. Normally leg pads must come to three inches above the knee. Too long pads will affect the balance of the goaltender and his timing while too short pads will not be able to protect his knees.
There are two types of hockey. Ice hockey, which is played on ice between two teams of 6 players on ice skates and using sticks and a puck and there is also field hockey which is an outdoor sport, played between two teams of 11 players using sticks and a ball, on grass. There is an indoor version called Indoor Field Hockey. This type of goalie hockey pads are similar to the ones used in ice hockey, the only difference is that field hockey can be played without a goalie and for the rest of the players wearing protective equipment is not necessary or mandatory.
Initially a hockey goalie pad was made of leather, stuffed with animal hair but this proved to be too expensive. Out of financial reasons most of the goaltenders’ equipment is made on the outside of synthetic leather and nylon. On the inside it is used a dense closed-cell foam and plastics. Since the 1990’s, all manufacturers use synthetic materials to make the leg pads. The synthetic materials have more advantages, being cheaper, water resistant and more durable. The types of pads may vary depending on the types of the playing style of a goaltender. The traditional leg pad was made for a standing up position but more modern designs are now available. When a goalie plays in the butterfly style his pads must offer him much more flexibility. This type of pads has a built-in knee. In order to gain more flexibility some of the goaltenders use their leg pads loose.
Under their jerseys, goaltenders wear a chest and arm protector together with elbow pads. The elbow pads are mostly made of carbon fiber increasing the safety of the goalies by protecting the upper part of their bodies.
Goalie ice hockey pads, even if they are leg pads, shoulder pads or elbow pads, are designed to protect the goaltender’s body from injuries that might be caused by the hit of the puck, skates or sticks and they help the goaltender to make saves.

Ice Hockey Helmets

The ice hockey helmets are worn by hockey players or hockey goaltender to protect their head from injuries that might be caused by the hit of the puck, skate or sticks. The helmet must fit exactly on the head of the player, for a maximum protection preventing shifting. The chinstrap must be adjusted so it can be gently fastened under the chin. Certain hockey rules may require CSA and HECC certified helmets. An ice hockey helmet is made of vinyl nitrile which is able to disperse force and to absorb the impact of hits of the puck, skates or sticks and the impact with the ice. The helmet must cover the entire head and the face. The parts protecting the face are the visors and shields or sometimes, cages. While the visor is attached to the helmet in order to protect the upper side of the face (forehead and eyes), the shield covers the entire face. They are made of high impact-resistant plastic. Even though they are not mandatory most of the players wear them and the National Hockey League strongly recommends them after accidents with major eye injuries have happened.
The goaltender (also called goalie or netminder) is the” goalkeeper” of the team and he wears a different type of helmet, hockey goalie helmets. All goalies’ equipment is different because they are the most in danger to get hit by a puck or sticks and they must wear special equipment in order to be protected from direct impact. Goalie’s helmet is also called goalie mask and it is mainly a full fiberglass mask, sometimes covered by a cage and it is very popular and at the same time very safe. This type of mask changed the way goalies play because it allows them to go down on their knees without being afraid of being injured by the hit of a puck, stick or skate. The first goaltender to one such a helmet/mask was Jacques Plante.
In the early times of the sport wearing a helmet was not required but currently it became mandatory out of safety reasons. This first happened in 1979. Although, the president of the National Hockey League, the man who made them mandatory, forced only the new players to wear them and the older ones could choose whether to wear the helmet or not. The first player who chose to wear a protective helmet (even though it was not requested in his case because he was a veteran) was George Owen, player for Boston Bruins (1928-1929). However the last player who did not want to wear such a helmet was Craig MacTavish in the late 1990s.
Ice hockey helmets became mandatory quite late, in the 1970s even though they are an effective way to protect players from severe injuries.

Ice Hockey Pants

Ice hockey pants are an essential part of the gear for ice hockey. They are not really pants and are a bit of a misnomer. They really are a pair of shorts, since they do not extend past the knee. Some companies have tried to create an actual set of pants but they do not seem to have caught on. The pants allow for a great deal of movement when skating, which is required for ice hockey.

The pants of ice hockey have developed many times over the years. It used to be that the players only wore minimal protective gear. They would use gloves and have knee pads and other assorted pads. As the equipment got more sophisticated, more and more different pieces were developed. The protective gear had to allow the player to move while protecting them. Another concern was the ability for the person to sweat and eliminate heat. Even though the air is cool and the game is played on ice, the players get very hot when they are playing hockey and the temperature of the players is a very serious issue.

The pants are extensively padded so that they can prevent injury while allowing the player to move. They are held up by a pair of suspenders that go underneath the hockey players shoulder pads. The pants usually have an integrated athletic supporter, or it can be worn on its own. There is usually side impact and front protection. The pants are slightly higher in the back to protect the back and kidney from falls and pokes from sticks, but they do not provide complete back protections.

Hockey players require a garter that goes underneath the pants. The garter exists to attach to the hockey socks. As was mentioned, the pants are really shorts, so, long socks are required to cover the legs since they would otherwise be exposed. The socks are put on over a pair of leg pads that are designed to protect the shins and the knees from injury. The garter connects to the socks by a small clip and then the straps run underneath the pants and up to the belt. At least four straps are required to keep the socks and the leg pad up.

There is not a great deal of difference between senior ice hockey pants and others types. As a person gets older and graduates to the senior leagues, the pants get bigger, but the concept is still the same. The pants will still have the requisite amount of padding in them that will protect the player in case of an injury. Injury prevention is the most important aspect of the pants. If the pants are not sturdy enough to allow the player to fall to the ice or get hit, then they shouldn’t be worn. Be sure to buy a pair from a company you trust that are made with high quality materials. With a good set of ice hockey pants, a player can be protected and play safely.

Shoulder Pads

In a game as fast paced and physical as hockey, wearing the correct ice hockey shoulder pads is important. The game of hockey has been played since the 17th century and has developed over the years to become the game we know of today. Hockey shoulder pads were first used by Fred Taylor in the early 1910’s. He was said to be the first player to protect his shoulders and back. His homemade pads were made of felt and were sew into his shirt to add protection. In the 1945’s pads were being manufactured with plastic and fiberglass, mimicking the ones developed for football players. Due to the injuries that were being dealt by players who wore protection to the players that chose not too, NHL President Clarence Campbell required them to be capped with softer material around 1950-51.

Legals moves that can be made during a refereed game allow for players to physically shove another into the walls or boards as they are known to hockey enthusiasts. These moves known as “checkings” are similar to  football players tackling each other,so, what’s the the main difference? its done on ice and the player doesn’t always fall after a hit that hard. Understanding the features that shoulder pads offer and wearing ones that are appropriate to a players size is imperative when trying to protect them from injury or broken bones.

There are different types of pads available depending on the players position as well. Defense men are more of a physical presence on the ice and require additional padding. They require more of a full frontal protection than a forward who will not receive as many checks or hits. Goalies require even more protection, since they are constantly up against pucks flying at their bodies averaging 80-90 mph. Comfort should also be considered when choosing which type of pad to go with. The cup of the pad should fit directly on the shoulder with the pad resting slightly against the neck. This is important because equipment that is too loose could jam into the body when being checked by another player. Weight of equipment is important. Most youth leagues and some adult leagues do not allow for checking, so purchasing expensive pads with additional protection is not necessary.

There are multiple companies that produces shoulder pads for all levels of play ranging from peewee to the NHL. The most sought after manufactures include Bauer Hockey, CCM, Easton, and Reebok. It is important to research the products available by each company to avoid purchasing the wrong type of equipment simply because your favorite player wears a specific brand and style. The ice hockey shoulder pads that are good for Sidney Crosby, may not be the best pick for the goalie.


Ice hockey skates are one of the many important features for a players uniform. Depending on position, the type of skate needed differs. Forwards who are known to break away from the pack and skate at extreme speeds will require skates that perform different functions  than those of a goalie. Understanding the types of skate available and choosing one that best fits the individual players needs is more important than purchasing a specific brand or style simply because your favorite player endorses them. This history of skates goes back 5,000 years and were originally made from animal bone. Skates have been required to play ice hockey since the beginning of the sport in the 1700’s and have always been required by the National Hockey League (NHL). While there are some regulations placed on skates, they are rarely any reports of issues in regards to misuse or illegal equipment.

Hockey skates as we know them today are generally made from nylon, leather, and molded plastic. They are designed to limit mobility to the region and protect the ankles from injury or breaks. The blades of the skates are manufactured with stainless steel. Goalie skates are cut lower than general hockey skates and allow for a lower center of gravity. Cowling is encased in the boot to provide additional protection for the toe, heel, and ankles from the force of the puck as it is shot towards the goal. The blade is made of carbon steel, it is also longer and does not curve as much as a general hockey skate.

Multiple companies provide skates built for all levels of play or position. A person who plays hockey for fun on the pond behind their home will not require the same protection and performance as competitive players. Some of the most sought after brands include Koho, Easton, Bauer, CCM, Nike, Graf and Reebok. The companies also supply other equipment needed by players including jerseys. Some companies also offer custom skates that are manufactured by hand after measuring the players feet and determining their requirements for the equipment. Junior ice hockey skates are made from the same materials as those for NHL players. Skates supplied to younger players are made of stronger materials to ensure protection from ankle injuries, while most competitive players stay away from the molded plastic to increase range of motion.

It is important to try skates on before purchasing them. Some brands will manufacture their skates to be more narrow than others. Wearing the required lower leg equipment and socks is recommended when trying on skates to determine that it will be comfortable and efficient. Never purchased used skates. Just like shoes, ice hockey skates form to the feet of the owner and can cause damage to any other players who are trying to wear them.

Ice Hockey Sticks

Ice hockey sticks are an essential part of the sport of ice hockey. They are used to handle the puck and can be made of a variety of different substances. The sticks are shaped at the end and have some amount of flexibility in them so that they can be used to hit the puck and advance it down the ice. In this article we will discuss the basics of ice hockey sticks and how to buy and use them as an important part of your hockey gear. The stick is the only part of the entire hockey gear that touches the puck. How you handle and operate the puck is the most important part, so careful consideration of hockey sticks is important to perform before purchasing any stick or anything else.

The first ice hockey stick was merely a stick or other piece of a tree that was used to move an object around. At this time there were no pucks, a softer and more ball-like implement was used as a puck. People did not have the nice, sharpened skates. Some would have regular shoes while others may have had spikes or other implements on their feet to prevent them from slipping and falling. As the game advanced, the implements that were used also developed further.

The curved end of the hockey stick was an important development and continues to be one of the most critical components of modern hockey sticks. The curved end provides a space for the stick to make contact with the ice and manipulate the puck. As one know, the puck is difficult to move around with only a single end point of a pole. A single point allows the puck to slide past and makes it hard to accelerate the puck for a shot. Therefore the larger the flat and curved area of the stick, the easier it is to manipulate the puck and send it down the ice.

The curve of flat, bladed portion of the stick is something to consider. The blade can only be curved a certain extent based on rules. The NHL has penalized players in the past for having too much curve in their blades. If the blade is too curved, it is hard to manipulate the puck backhanded, which is sometimes necessary during the game as the puck may need to be sent in a different direction. Ice hockey goalie sticks have a larger, flat area to deflect the puck.

The shaft of the stick can be made up of several different materials. Traditionally, the shaft has been made of wood. But now there are composite hockey sticks from new materials, such as carbon fiber, that allow for a different amount of flexibility of the shaft of the ice hockey sticks