In 2021, wholesale sales for ice hockey protective equipment in the United States amounted to $112.3 million. Skates, in particular, sold for $74.6 million in the same year, while hockey sticks were at $61 million.
These figures suggest that ice hockey is a popular sport to watch and play. There are 455,000 registered ice hockey players in the U.S. and 345,000 in Canada, making these two countries the highest ranked based on the number of registered hockey players worldwide.
Aside from playing the game for physical fitness, competition, or as a way to pass the time, some individuals play hockey to help improve their mood or reduce fear and anxiety, which you may also achieve through meditation.
What pieces of hockey equipment should players have? What about the goalies? Are there any recommended stores to purchase hockey gear?
This article lists the equipment hockey players should have and provides suggestions on where and how to buy good-quality hockey equipment. It also lists the benefits of playing this team sport.
Recommended Equipment for Hockey Players
You must wear the proper equipment when playing ice hockey to ensure your safety and minimize or prevent injury. The recommended pieces of ice hockey equipment are as follows:
- Helmet: Hockey helmets are an essential piece of protective equipment you must purchase. When choosing a helmet, ensure it is of good quality and the correct size.
You can still play well with undersized shoulder pads or oversized shin pads. However, a helmet that doesn’t fit correctly will likely cause a potential traumatic injury.
You are not required to wear facial protection. However, you can purchase a helmet with a visor, cage, or both. These optional helmet parts can help protect your face from stray pucks or sticks.
- Gloves: Hockey gloves shield your hands and wrists against sticks and stray pucks. Gloves can also keep the hands protected from the ice when you fall.
Choosing suitable hockey gloves depends on size, fit (snug or loose), protection, mobility, and quality.
- Elbow pads: When learning to skate, you will likely fall a few times. In these cases, your feet can fly out from under you, causing your elbows to take the impact of the fall.
Wearing a comfortable and sufficiently cushioned set of elbow pads will make getting up much easier, so you can keep practicing while minimizing the chance of elbow injury.
- Shin pads: Wearing shin pads of the right size is vital because the shin is a common area that gets hit. If your shin pads are too small, there will still be a high chance you will get hit there with pucks.
- Hockey pants: These pants protect you from the knees up to the lower back. A pair with a good fit is essential because if you get a too big pair, they can sag and hang from your hips.
- Skates: Choosing the right pair of skates is important. Since your feet won’t grow when you become an adult, you should consider buying a pair you want to have for a while. Cheap hockey skates can break easily, and you must replace them frequently.
When looking for skates, get a comfortable pair that fits you properly. Cheap and low-quality skates can bend and not give you proper support, hindering your skating performance.
- Hockey stick: You will use a hockey stick to drive the puck into the net, so ensure that you buy one that you can use for a long time. Some players form a bond with their hockey stick and even enjoy taping and flexing it.
A good-quality hockey stick does not have to be expensive. New hockey players can purchase an affordable stick, such as one made from wood. However, this material may not be great for more experienced and professional play.
Other material choices include fiberglass, aluminum, kevlar, and carbon fiber.
Where to Buy Hockey Equipment
The best place to purchase hockey equipment is usually at a hockey shop. However, many individuals find it challenging to look for a store with a good selection.
In this case, consider approaching an experienced hockey player or coach for store recommendations.
Additionally, refer to a fitting guide to determine what size fits you to ensure you choose the right equipment, especially helmets, gloves, and pads.
Why Play Hockey? The Benefits of Getting Into the Sport
Playing hockey has several benefits, including the following:
An Excellent Sport for Exercise
Hockey is one of the best cardiovascular games you can play.
Interval training or alternating between skating and rest helps improve your cardiovascular system’s efficiency by bringing oxygen to the muscles more quickly.
This training method also helps to minimize or prevent injuries typically associated with other sports engaged in repetitive movements.
Playing hockey also burns a ton of calories. Carey Price, a goalie for the Montreal Canadiens, claimed to have burned 2,336 calories following a hockey game, based on a 5½-hour heart monitor readout.
Because hockey requires a high coordination level, regular play can help develop gross motor skills, especially for children.
This routine may help improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, leading to a better understanding of spatial relationships.
Hockey also develops stronger muscles, which can help improve endurance and create stronger bones.
Assists in Improving Mental Agility
Hockey is a fast sport where plays can develop in seconds, and momentum can shift instantly. Individuals who learn to operate in this environment may improve their ability to make quick decisions.
This sport can also help improve your concentration and learn about strategy. This benefit suggests that you may become more adaptable to a changing environment by understanding how one or more events can lead to or create another.
- Ice Hockey Equipment Wholesale Sales in the U.S. From 2007 to 2021