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How To Wear Hockey Gear: A Comprehensive Guide

Ice hockey is a thrilling and fast-paced game that requires immense skill, dedication, and the right gear.

Protective equipment is not only crucial for performance but also for ensuring safety during the game.

This article will provide a comprehensive guide on how to wear hockey gear correctly.

Understanding The Importance of Hockey Gear

Before delving into the process of wearing hockey gear, it’s important to understand why wearing it correctly is so vital. Hockey is a physical sport that often involves collisions and falls. The gear is designed to protect players from injuries that can occur due to these incidents. Incorrectly worn gear may not offer the required protection, leading to potential harm.

The Components of Hockey Gear

Hockey gear comprises several components, each serving a unique purpose.

The main elements include:

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  1. Helmet: Protects the head from injuries due to falls or puck impacts.
  2. Shoulder Pads: Shield the upper body, especially the shoulders and chest.
  3. Elbow Pads: Guard the elbows against injuries during falls or collisions.
  4. Gloves: Offer protection to the hands and provide grip for handling the stick.
  5. Hockey Pants or Breezers: Safeguard the lower body, including the hips and thighs.
  6. Shin Guards: Protect the shins from puck impacts and skate blades.
  7. Skates: Allow movement on the ice and offer some degree of foot protection.
  8. Hockey Socks and Jersey: Cover the equipment and represent team colors.
  9. Mouthguard: Shields teeth and reduces risk of concussions.
  10. Hockey Stick: Used to handle and shoot the puck.

Steps to Wear Hockey Gear Properly

Now that you’re familiar with the components of hockey gear, let’s dive into the steps to wear them correctly.

Step 1: Base Layers

Begin with your base layers. These are typically tight-fitting garments designed to keep you warm and dry on the ice.

Step 2: Protective Cup and Garter Belt

For male players, the next step is to wear a protective cup, which is typically placed inside a jockstrap or compression shorts designed for this purpose. Female players will wear pelvic protectors. Then, put on a garter belt to hold up your hockey socks in the subsequent steps.

Step 3: Shin Guards

Slide your feet into the shin guards, ensuring that they cover your legs from the bottom of the knee to the top of the foot. The guards should have a secure but comfortable fit.

Step 4: Hockey Socks

Pull the hockey socks over the shin guards and attach them to the garter belt to hold them in place.

Step 5: Hockey Pants (Breezers)

Put on your hockey pants next. They should fit snugly around your waist and cover from above your waist to halfway down your thigh.

Step 6: Skates

Lace up your skates next. They should be tight enough to offer support but not so tight as to cut off circulation. Always double-check your laces for security.

Step 7: Shoulder Pads

Put on your shoulder pads, ensuring they cover your chest, back, and shoulders. The front and back plates should not overlap.

Step 8: Elbow Pads

Slide your arms into the elbow pads. They should cover from mid-bicep to mid-forearm, leaving no gap between the pads and gloves.

Step 9: Jersey

Pull your jersey over your upper body equipment.

Step10: Gloves

Slip your hands into the gloves, making sure they cover the wrist area and fit snugly but comfortably for optimal stick handling.

Step 11: Helmet and Cage/Face Shield

Fasten the helmet on your head. It should sit one finger width above your eyebrows and the chin strap should be tightened so that it fits snugly under your chin. If your helmet has a cage or face shield, ensure it is securely attached.

Step 12: Mouthguard

Last but not least, place your mouthguard in. It should fit securely and comfortably.

Maintaining Your Hockey Gear

Proper maintenance of your gear is as important as wearing it correctly. After each game or practice, air out your gear to prevent bacterial growth and unpleasant odors. Regularly check your equipment for any damage or signs of wear and tear. Damaged gear may not provide the required protection and should be replaced immediately.


Wearing your hockey gear correctly is integral for your safety and performance on the ice. Always ensure that each piece of gear fits well and is comfortable. Remember, the key to being a good hockey player is not only skill but also the right gear worn correctly.

Remember, when you’re stepping out on the ice, you’re not just playing a game – you’re entering a world where skill, strategy, speed, and safety are all intertwined. With the right gear worn properly, you can focus on enjoying the game while staying protected.

In the end, the most significant gear you can wear is your confidence and love for the game.

So, gear up, get out there, and have fun playing hockey!

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10 FAQs not covered in the article…


1. Q: Can I wear any type of gloves for a hockey game?

A: No, it’s essential to wear hockey-specific gloves. They are designed to provide the necessary protection from pucks, sticks, and skates while allowing flexibility for handling the stick. Regular gloves will not offer the same level of protection or flexibility.

2. Q: What should I look for when buying a hockey helmet?

A: When buying a hockey helmet, ensure that it is of the right size and offers a snug fit. It should sit one finger width above your eyebrows. Look for helmets that are certified by safety standards organizations like the CSA, HECC, or EN1078. Also, consider helmets with a full-face cage or shield for added protection.

3. Q: How often should I replace my hockey gear?

A: The frequency of replacement depends on the usage and condition of the gear. As a rule of thumb, protective gear like helmets, shoulder pads, elbow pads, gloves, and shin guards should be replaced when they show signs of wear and tear or no longer fit correctly. Skates generally last longer but should be replaced when they become uncomfortable or if the blade is worn down. Always replace your mouthguard each season or sooner if it becomes worn out.

4. Q: Can I use second-hand hockey gear?

A: While it’s possible to use second-hand gear, it’s crucial to check the condition of each piece. The gear should not show significant signs of wear and tear and should fit correctly. It’s generally recommended to buy new helmets and mouthguards even if the rest of the gear is second-hand for safety reasons.

5. Q: How should I clean my hockey gear?

A: Fresh Gear Sanitizing Machines keep hockey gear dry, sanitized and deodorized in 30 minutes.

…but not everyone lives near a Fresh Gear sanitizing center.

So here’s an alternative method:

Most hockey gear can be cleaned with mild soap and warm water. It’s important to air dry the gear after cleaning, not machine dry. Some equipment like hockey gloves and skates should not be submerged in water and can be cleaned with a damp cloth instead. Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines.

6. Q: Can I use roller hockey gear for ice hockey and vice versa?

A: While some pieces of equipment like helmets, gloves, and protective pads might be similar for both roller and ice hockey, others are specific to the type of hockey. For instance, roller hockey uses inline skates, and ice hockey uses ice skates. Also, the pants for ice hockey are typically more padded than those for roller hockey due to the differences in playing surfaces.

7. Q: Do I need to wear a neck guard when playing hockey?

A: While not all leagues require it, it’s highly recommended to wear a neck guard. This piece of equipment protects against skate cuts and puck impacts to the neck area, which can be very dangerous.

8. Q: My helmet doesn’t have a face shield. Should I get one?

A: Yes, it’s advisable to have a face shield or cage on your helmet. This will protect your face from high-speed pucks, sticks, and possible collisions with other players or the ice.

9. Q: What size hockey stick should I use?

A: The length of your hockey stick depends on your height and playing style. Generally, when standing in your skates, the stick should reach between your chin and your nose. However, defensemen prefer longer sticks for better reach, while forwards prefer shorter sticks for better puck handling.

10. Q: Are there any specific materials to look for when choosing hockey gear?

A: High-quality hockey gear is typically made from strong, lightweight materials that can withstand impact. For instance, helmets often use a combination of plastic and foam for protection and comfort. Pads may use a mix of foam, plastic, and sometimes even Kevlar for added protection. Look for gear that balances protection, comfort, and mobility.

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