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Chicks with Sticks Hockey Minnesota

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Hockey Gear 101

paper-dollGetting your gear together can be a hassle. At Chicks with Sticks, we make it easy!

Use our comprehensive guide to learn about each piece of equipment. Click on any item to see its' picture and description. The top list includes all the necessary gear you will need to participate in a clinic or league. The second optional list gives you suggestions for additional items you might want to pick up. Scroll to the bottom of the page to get advice on caring for your gear.

When you are ready to shop, visit the Where to Get Gear tab for shopping advice.

 

You Will Need:


Helmet with Facemask

helmet

Helmet

A properly-fitting hockey helmet is one of your most important pieces of gear. Choose a helmet that's new or gently used. Don't buy a helmet with any cracks in it or if the inner padding looks deteriorated or cracked - this usually means the helmet is way past its' life expectancy.

Your helmet should fit comfortably snug, not too loose or too tight. To check the fit, give a quick shake of the head side-to-side, then forward and back. If the helmet doesn't shift and stays out of your eyes, you have a good fit.  All helmets are adjustable, so check to see if adjustment will make the helmet fit properly. The chinstrap should be adjusted to gently make contact with your chin when fastened.

Facemask: Cage or Shield

You can choose between a cage or shield for a facemask. The facemask needs to be the right size for your helmet, with the mask easily fitting in the J-Clips on each side of the helmet. Your chin should fit snugly in the chin cup of your mask. Adjust straps, j-clips or mask clips for proper fit. Any front impact to the mask should be absorbed by j-clips.

 

Elbow Pads

elbow-pads

Elbow Pads

Elbow pads protect your elbows from falls and/or coming in contact with other players, as well as protecting your upper forearms and lower biceps/triceps. The most important part is the elbow cap - the part that protects your elbow joint. Make sure your pair has a solid enough elbow cap to protect you if you fall.

It's fine to get these used, as long as the Velcro straps are still elastic. You want these to fit snugly around your elbows without sliding off. The elbow joint should fit in the elbow pad cup. The elbow pad should be long enough to protect the forearm and reach the cuff of the hockey glove. The upper part of the pad should tuck and fit under the shoulder pad.

 

Hockey Gloves

gloves

Hockey Gloves

Gloves are generally made from Nylon or from Synthetic leather. Synthetic leather tends to be more durable, but a bit heavier. Nylon ones are lighter and more breathable. Gloves also come in various styles. Some have larger cuffs or shorter cuffs. It doesn't really matter which type you buy, as long as they are properly fitted and comfortable.

Glove sizes can be a bit confusing. Find a combination of gloves and elbow pads that protect the full lower part of the arm. When sizing for finger fit, a good rule of thumb is about 1/2” space from fingertip to glove tip.

 

Breezers

breezers

aka Hockey Pants

The function of breezers is to protect your hips, thighs, lower spine, kidney area, and your tailbone. Some brands make breezers specifically for women that are tapered at the waist.

Breezers should be fit high enough to protect the lower back and kidney area. Find a pair that has good tailbone protection. As for length, the bottom of the pants should overlap the protective cup of your shin pads by 2” when you are standing. Like all your equipment, your breezers should fit comfortably so that they do not hinder a full range of motion. Conversely, your breezers should not be too loose such that they will shift if you should fall.

 

Hockey Jill

jill

aka Hockey Jock or Hockey Short

The hockey jill/jock is an undergarment worn under your breezers. It comes in a variety of styles, either as a compression pant, compression short  or a loose short. Choose whichever type is most comfortable for you. The jill/jock is made for both men and women. Most are designed with a built-in pelvic protector. Make sure to get a jill designed specifically for women for proper pelvic protection. We recommend buying a jill with built-in Velcro tabs to keep your hockey socks securely in place.

For a colorful selection of women's jills, hockey shorts, sports bras & more, visit: Spice Sports Inc.

 

Shin Pads

shin-guards

aka Shin Guards

Shin pads protect your knees, shins and calves from falling or coming into contact with sticks, skates or pucks. There are two basic types: wider ones (designed for defense), and slimmer ones (designed for forwards). Get whichever type fits you comfortably.

Fitting shin pads start with your knee joint. The knee should be centered in the kneecap cup, with the length covering the full lower leg. Shin pads are sized in inches (most women fit between 12" and 15"). The proper length is just inside the skate tongue, but should not hinder the movement of the ankle forward or side-to-side. It may help to wear a skate when sizing the right fit for the shin pads.

 

Hockey Socks

hockey-socks

Hockey Socks

Hockey socks are worn over the shin pads and attach to the hockey jill/pelvic protector. Hockey socks come in many different team colors and solid color options. They are typically sold in 3 different lengths: 20" (Youth), 24" (Junior) and 28" (Senior). Make sure your hockey socks are of length to easily reach from the bottom of the shin pads to the Velcro tabs on your hockey jill. Too tight of a fit or stretch will restrict movement.

Some players also like to wrap clear tape on the outside of their socks to keep their shin guards from slipping out of place. The tape also helps secure your socks so that they don't slide down your legs.

 

Jersey

jersey

Hockey Jersey

Jerseys generally come in two types: as game jerseys or practice jerseys. Game jerseys are much more durable, but they also tend to be heavier. Practice jerseys are usually ligher and looser-fitting. Find a jersey that is large enough to fit comfortably over all your gear, without restricting movement.

For clinics, we recommend that you get a light (or white) and a dark (or black) practice jersey. Try to avoid colors such as gray, yellow or pink. These colors make it difficult to distinguish whether you are scrimmaging with the dark or light team.

 

Hockey Skates

skates

New or Used?

Your skate is your most important piece of gear, and properly-fitted skates are imperative. It's okay to buy gently used skates if you can find a good fit, but for best results, buy new.

What size do I need?

Generally, skates tend to size about 2 sizes smaller than your street shoes. If you are a size 7 street shoe, you will look for a size 5 skate. To size a skate, place your foot inside and slide your heel all the way back into the skate's heel cup. For a proper fit, your heel should sit snugly at the back without sliding, and your toes should barely touch the inside of the toe cap area.

Which brand do I choose?

Every brand makes skates a little differently. With such an abundance of brands and styles, we recommend going to a hockey store and having a professional fit you to assure proper fit for wide/narrow foot or low arches. Many brands have an option to have your skates "baked" for optimum fit and comfort. Comfortable and properly fitted skates make all the difference in enjoying skating.

 

Stick

stick

Rightie or Leftie?

A general rule of thumb is your dominant hand should be at the top of your stick, near the knob. If you are right handed, you will use a left-handed curved blade and stick. If left handed, use a right-handed curved blade and stick. However, if you are more comfortable with the dominant hand on the bottom, go ahead and play that way.

Stick Shaft Size

There are three shaft sizes of hockey sticks: junior, intermediate or senior. Junior shafts have the slimmest circumference, senior shafts - the widest. The majority of women find the intermediate stick shaft size fits their hands best.

Length of Stick

In street shoes, the length of stick, when resting on the tip of the blade and straight up and down, should reach just below your nose. When in skates, the stick should reach just under the chin. All sticks can be cut to length or a knob extension can be added to reach the desired length.

Wood vs. Composite

Composite sticks tend to be lighter, more flexible & durable, but also much pricier. Wood sticks are a bit heavier and stiffer, but are much more affordable. If you can get a good deal on a composite stick - go for it, otherwise a basic wood stick is all you need.

 

Shoulder Pads

shoulder-pads

Optional, but Recommended

Shoulder pads not only protect your shoulders, but also your upper arms, collarbone, chest, ribs and back. Some shoulder pads come with an elongated spine & abdominal protector, which gives your torso extra coverage. Some players like the added protection, while others feel more comfortable without it.

Shoulder pads should provide a snug fit around your chest and arms. It’s important that the shoulder joints line up directly with the shoulder cups and that the pads do not shift as you skate, allowing a full range of motion.

 

end faq

 

Optional Pieces:


Mouthguard

helmet

Mouthguard

Even though your teeth are protected by the facemask, getting a mouthguard is a good idea. A properly-fitting mouthguard does much more than protect your teeth. It's designed to absorb shock during falls or contact. A mouthguard can help minimize and even prevent concussions, as well as minimize injuries due to jaw on jaw impact.

Mouthguards come in many different styles and colors. They're available with and without straps.Your dentist can make you a custom mouthguard for optimum fit & comfort, but even a store-bought one will give you far better protection than not having one at all.

 

Skate Guards

elbow-pads

aka Blade Covers or Skate Soakers

Skate guards come in two types: as soft terry cloth blade covers or as rigid guards made from plastic or rubber. Both types will protect your blades from damage while being transported, but they serve slightly different purposes. The rigid guards are much more durable and will protect your blades even as you walk from your car in the parking lot to the locker room. Whereas the soft terry cloth covers are used to absorb moisture on your blades after you skate, preventing rust.

Whichever type you end up getting, it's always a good idea to wipe your skate blades dry with a cloth after you skate. This helps prevent rust and helps extend the life of your skate blades.

 

Hockey Tape

gloves

Gotta Have It!

It's always handy to have a roll of hockey tape in your bag. Hockey tape comes in a wide variety of colors and has many versatile uses. Clear tape can be used to wrap around your shin pads to help keep your pads and hockey socks in place. It can also be used to temporarily repair any piece of gear that has become worn-down or torn.

Hockey tape is often used to wrap your hockey stick blade and shaft. Wrapping your stick blade can help increase puck control, as well as help protect the blade from nicks or dents made by skates and pucks. Taping the handle of your hockey shaft will give your top hand a better grip on the stick.

 

Extra Laces

breezers

Show off Your Colors!

Hockey laces will wear out and break over time, so it's always a good idea to keep an extra pair of laces in your bag. Hockey laces come in a wide variety of colors & lenghts. For women's skates, you'll want to stick with 108" or 120". If your laces are too long, you can wrap them around your skate's ankles.

Hockey laces come as waxed or non-waxed. Waxed laces can take a little longer to tie, but they won't loosen as you skate and won't need to be re-tightened during a game, which can be a real time-saver. Some players prefer non-waxed laces - it's really up to personal preference.

 

Hockey Water Bottle

jill

Hockey Water Bottle

Have you ever tried to take a sip of water through your helmet's face mask and ended up spilling water all over your face? If so, it might be time to get a hockey water bottle. Although you can use any water bottle to quench your thirst, a hockey water bottle is designed with an extra long straw: either curved or straight. The built-in straw makes it a lot easier to take a sip of water without having to remove your helmet's face mask.

Chances are you will forget your water bottle at the rink at some point. We therefore recommend you buy a few of them and keep them at home as spares.

 

Pucks

shin-guards

Hockey Pucks

It never hurts to have a few pucks around in your bag. Often there is extra ice available after the clinics end. If you are not in a hurry, it's a great opportunity for you to take out a few pucks and practice some shooting or puck-handling on your own.

For off-ice, try the green biscuit. It's great for practicing stick-handling on a rough surface like concrete or asphalt.

 

Hockey Bag

hockey-socks

A Must-Have!

Now that you have all this hockey gear, you'll need a sturdy hockey bag to carry it all. Hockey bags come in a variety of styles and colors. Some of the most popular choices are carry bags, wheeled bags and backpack bags. Wheeled bags are probably the easiest to transport, but they also tend to be the bulkiest.

The type of hockey bag you choose is a matter of personal preference, but make sure to compare a few different types before making your decision.

 

end faq

 

Caring For Your Gear


How to Wash Gear

We highly suggest that you wash any used or borrowed gear before use. A front-end load washing machine, at home or at the laundromat, will do nicely. Gear that can be machine washed are: shoulder pads, elbow pads, shin pads, breezers, gloves, hockey jocks, jerseys and socks. Use a mild detergent to wash your gear. Helmets can be hand washed with a gentle soap. Skates should be wiped out prior to use. DO NOT use heat to dry the gear. Air-dry or put a fan on to dry the gear.

Keeping Gear Dry

To help prevent gear from getting stinky, it's highly recommended to air it out after each use. Take all the gear out of your bag and let it air-dry in front of a fan, or outside in the sun if it's warm out. If your gear is still damp, you can use a hair-dryer on a cool setting to dry out your gear. To keep your skate blades from rusting, wipe them with a dry cloth after each use. You can also remove the skates insoles to help them dry quicker.

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In Their Own Words

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It’s so much fun. This is my 1st time playing hockey. I’m 43. Anyone can do this.
- Julie M