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How to properly select kid’s hockey equipment

With hockey season on its way, you might notice that Junior has had a little growth spurt! Or maybe you’ve found yourself with a new little player in the family. To make sure the kids have fun and stay safe on the ice, here are a few expert tips to help you buy protective equipment for your little all-star.

Buy properly fitted protection

The priority when buying hockey equipment is good fit. This is why it’s strongly recommended to take your little player to the store so that they can try on the various pieces; they need to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle to ensure maximum protection. All it takes is poor-fitting leg pads to leave enough space for a puck to cause an injury.  

Shoulder pads: Surprisingly, these pads protect more than just the shoulders. On the back, they cover the clavicles, and in front the sternum. Some models have straps at the arms and shoulders, which are ideal for children with broad shoulders but skinny arms. For complete coverage, top this off with a neck guard like the Vic Junior.

Elbow pads and gloves: these two pieces go “hand in hand”, as the glove must come up a good distance to the elbow pad to protect the wrist.

Hockey pants: Choose pants with an adjustable waste, as you have a couple of inches to play with the size, ideal with for fast-sprouting children!

Shin pads: The position on the hockey team usually influences the choice of shin pads. A young forward will prefer light, snugger-fitting pads while a defenseman will want more protection from wider pads. Tip: choose a model with a removable lining to make drying easy.

Helmet: As its mandatory for kids to wear a face guard, it’s very important that it be positioned properly so as not to obstruct vision. As kids wipe out often when they start out, it’s worth investing in a high-quality helmet like the CCM FL3DS.

Choose quality accessories

Once you’ve adjusted the protective equipment, it’s time to go on a quest for the best skates and ideal hockey stick. Once again, trying the skates on in store is a must! Even if the shoe size gives you a general idea of the skate size, you still have to measure the foot and make sure that, when junior bends their knees with their toes up to the tip of the skates, you can fit a finger behind the heel. This is the space required for optimal comfort. Also, don’t buy them a little bigger with the hope that they’ll last longer: skates that are too big may lead to injuries. For excellent value, check out CCM’s Jetspeed FT350 Junior skates.

As for the stick, there are tons of models with more or less flex (the degree of flexibility, which corresponds to around half the child’s weight) and a more or less curved blade. It all depends on the player’s preferences and their type of game. A composite stick is an excellent choice for children and juniors: light and easy to handle, they last a long time and are affordable. You can find quality hockey sticks for around fifty dollars, like these Bauer brand sticks.

Maintain their gear like a pro

The secret of sports equipment that doesn’t stink like a change room is to keep it dry! Bacteria that cause bad odours proliferate in humidity. The best way to destroy them is to spray them with an anti-odour spray, like Captodor Sport, as soon as the game is over. For the skates, remove the felt inserts to dry them, and you can spray them with an anti-odour spray for footwear.

The moment you get home, take out the equipment and you let it dry in a dry, cool place. Remember: the hockey bag is only supposed to be used to transport equipment, not to store it. Finally, at the end of the season, to clean the equipment well before storing it (or passing it on to the next player at home), you can clean the washable pieces using a detergent specially designed for this, or go to a Sports Experts branch with a steam washer to get rid of even the most tenacious odours.

Now that you’ve got the gear, have fun watching the kids on the ice!

— JUNIOR EQUIPMENT —

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