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4 (Bad) Excuses to Not Clean Your Hockey Gear

Excuses can be a beautiful thing. When used in the right way, they can get us out of all sorts of trouble, like doing our chores, or getting us out of jury duty. And they are a real wingman when it comes to the sweet, sweet practice of procrastination.
“I would love to feed the dog… but this Ferrari isn’t gonna drive itself.”
However, sometimes we take advantage of our friend, The Excuse, and we use him in vile ways. Like for instance, if you play hockey, you know that your gear can really start to reak after just a few games. And over the course of a few years –maybe even a couple decades of no treatment — it transitions to smelling like the shorts of Andre the Giant after he’s gone for a jog through the Mojave desert.
Perhaps there are a few excuses you’ve used to defend your stance of preserving the unholy state of your hockey gear. I’m here to tell you your excuses are bad. Below are just a few…

4. It’s Part Of the Game

This is probably the one excuse that is used most often. At first it’s annoying to hear, but then you think about it and you can see where the person is coming from. For decades, Eau de Chat Urine has been the signature scent of hockey gear. 

“You have my bladder to thank for your success.”
You just got used to smelling it over and over, every time you walked into a dressing room. But that’s only because there hasn’t been a proper way to clean gear. Now the technology and methods exist to properly disinfect your gear, so there really is no reason to say it’s part of the game.
That’s like saying the smell of mold and mildew in your house is just part of living in a house. No, it’s not. If you walked into your house and recieved a huge dose of moldy breeze to the nostrils, you would be speed-dialing the army to come over PRONTO to wipe it out before you’d even hit the floor. It’s the result of water damage in your house, and you know it needs to be killed, otherwise it can cause severe damage to your health. Playing with gear that is moldy and full of bacteria is no different! It’s dangerous to your health, and needs to be treated. 

“Oh well,” you say, “I’ll just tough it out. Because…”

3. It’s Part Of Being a Man

“It’s called being a man! It’s a manly scent!” This is one excuse that we’ve heard before and perhaps you’ve used it to. This is what you look like when you say that:

“It’s a manly scent! I’m a man!”
What our friend Bozo up there is saying is that only men sweat and stink when they exert themselves. Isn’t that a little silly, considering just how many women hockey players there are? I have a lot of women friends who play hockey, and they can tell you first hand, their dressing rooms smell just as nasty as the men’s. Saying it’s a man’s smell is just as silly as saying it’s a man’s game.

She’s laughing at you.
We don’t live in the early 20th century anymore. Hockey is a sport played by men and women, so to call the smell manly is just untrue. And this is coming from me, a fellow man, just like Bozo. So fine, it’s a smell shared by the citizens of Mars and Venus. But come on, the smell is harmless… right?

2. It’s Harmless… Right?

Let’s have an experiment: Why don’t you go ask your wife to sniff your hockey gear, and then tell her to her face it’s harmless.

Now enjoy your new accommodations.
As I’m sure your wife can attest to from her experience of every time she steps into the garage, your gear smells like a dead skunk stuffed with rotten garlic and denial. And there’s a simple reason for that: it’s filled with mold, mildew, and bacteria. Imagine going years wearing the same clothes over and over, and never washing them once. “Eww!” you say. “Don’t say gross things like that.” Well wearing your hockey gear for years on end without treating it is like doing the exact same thing. Over time, your hockey gear has become a luxury condominium for all kinds of microscopic nasties, including antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Like these guys:

“Sup.”
Those microscopic death-grapes pictured above are known as MRSA, which stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus. These fuzzy guys are resistant to many antibiotics and have all sorts of fun symptoms, such as spider bite-like bumps that can lead to deep pus-filled boils; toxic shock syndrome, which includes confusion, stupor, falling into a coma, and massive organ failure; and even necrotizing pneumonia. In other words, it eats your flesh.

“Om nom nom.”
On top of that, MRSA can spread so rapidly, that within a few days the infected host can be killed. Or if the person is lucky, they can stop the infection — by amputating the infected limb. And these kinds of infections aren’t rare among athletes. In recent years, top athletes in the NHL such as Joe Thornton and Chris Higgins were diagnosed with MRSA infections. The NFL has faced several lawsuits from players who were infected with MRSA as well. They were fortunate enough to be able to treat these strains of MRSA, but other superbugs won’t be as friendly.


“But it’s ok,” you say. “I do treat my gear.” How?


1. I Air It Out and Spray It

Don’t get me wrong, airing out your equipment is a good thing to do. It dries the gear quicker, and slows the growth of bacteria. But the bacteria will still grow. And although fragrance spray may mask the odor for a short time, it doesn’t remove what’s causing odor. So maybe you won’t smell it as much, but the source is still there and still just as dangerous. It’s kind of like covering your eyes when something bad is happening. Maybe you can’t see it, but you’re still definitely in danger.

“Prove it!”
“Well what if I use an antibacterial spray, smart alec?” Using an antibacterial spray will help slow bacterial growth, true. And it will even kill bacteria on the surface of your gear, so it’s not a bad thing to use. However, most of the bacteria grows deep inside the gear, places where the antibacterial spray cannot reach. “Well then, how? HOW do we kill it?”
The best way to treat your gear is through an ozone treatment. Ozone is all-natural, 3,000 times more effective than bleach, and it kills MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant superbugs, bacterium that antibiotics can’t kill.

“Gee, thanks for explaining what ‘antibiotic-resistant’ means, James. I get it now.”
And the Fresh Gear system blasts ozone at high velocity so it gets through the dense padding of your gear, and into hard to reach places like the toes of skates or the fingertips of gloves. It only takes 30 minutes, and it costs less than your average cell phone bill too. So treat your gear! Do it for your own sake, your family’s sake, and the sake of everyone who has to share a dressing room with you.

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