Gearing up for the hockey season

(NC) — Hockey season is here. It’s time to strap on those pads, lace up those skates and head out onto the ice! Whether it’s trying the sport for the very first time or for the player who’s passed the puck around season after season, every hockey player knows that having the right gear is essential.

Players and their parents should always keep in mind, that when purchasing hockey gear, the most important thing to consider is fit. Proper fitting equipment not only helps improve performance on the ice, but can also help to prevent injury.

Following is a quick list of tips to help with fitting equipment from head-to-toe.

• Helmets and faceguards are mandatory in minor hockey. For optimal protection helmets should be replaced every 2-3 years minimum.

• New technology such as the Impact-Alert Hockey Helmet Sensor is a great safety add-on for any player. The colour sensor indicates when your helmet has taken a significant impact, that the integrity of the helmet should be checked and the user should be monitored for a concussion.

• Throat guards should completely cover the throat and be BNQ approved.

• The tip of the shoulder should fit snugly under the shoulder cap in the pad.

• Elbow pad size must align with the size of your gloves.

• Fit is very important for gloves, too big and you can’t grip the stick, too small and your wrist will be exposed to injury.

• A properly fitted pant should protect all of the critical organs and areas of your body and not inhibit your movement.

• The best fit for shin pads means they go from the bottom of your hockey pants to the top of your skate.

• A good rule of thumb is that skates should be one full size smaller than your shoe size. If your skates are too big they can inhibit your performance and lead to injury.

For a complete go-to gear and fit guide to help Canadians make sure they have all the equipment they need for the hockey season visit canadiantire.ca/hockey.