As a parent, there are many things to think about when outfitting your hockey player. With all that we know about concussions, the most important piece of equipment is the hockey helmet. At Sports Etc. we like to highlight a few important pieces to focus on when fitting a hockey helmet. Most notably- proper fit, protection level and life span.
Proper fit: A proper fitting helmet should fit snugly on the player’s head. Any sign of a helmet rattling around, or fitting too loosely can be a major issue. Hockey players can take a variety of impacts, and a helmet that does not sit tightly on the head can lead to a variety of dangerous scenarios. Mainly, the helmet being dislodged from the player completely.
One of the commonly overlooked aspects of fitting a helmet, is how the cage fits onto the helmet itself. Many helmets are sold in “combo” form, with a cage already attached, but it is important to know that sometimes cage size and helmet size are not always consistent with each other. That is why we recommend buying the cage and helmet separately, to ensure the absolute best fit. The cage should sit right on the player’s chin, and should be firmly locked into the “J-Clips” on the side of the helmet. This ensures that the cage will not be driven into the players chin upon impact- which is a common factor in concussions.
Protection Level: Hockey hits come in all types, sizes and intensities. Often times, it is not necessarily the biggest hit on the ice that causes injury, but the most “awkward” hits. Different types of protection levels are essential in preventing concussions. Most helmets on the market help to protect against linear or direct impacts to the head. The difference between the cheaper and more expensive helmets though, is the quality of the foam used within the helmet. The best type of foam to look for is layered EPP or Poron. Most helmets in the $120+ range contain these materials. Low-end helmets often contain one layer of standard VN foam, which loses protective capability over time as it hardens.
The one aspect that differentiates the BEST helmets, from the lower-end helmets, is a helmets protection level against rotational impacts. Most helmets can withstand a linear or direct impact, and can sufficiently protect the player, but the rotational impacts typically have a more devastating impact on a players head. There are numerous helmets on the market that take this into account- most notably the Bauer Re-Akt series and the CCM 3DS series. These technologies help the head move independent of the helmet, so the awkward angle impacts, which cause the head to snap around with the helmet are mitigated.
Life Span: Another critical and overlooked area in preventing concussions, is paying attention to the “life span” of a helmet. Routinely, a player can wear the same size helmet for years and years. A lot of times, a youth hockey player can stay in that same size helmet until adulthood. Just like anything that gets worn down over time, a completely. The important piece to look at, is the foam within the helmet. The foam is designed to take repeated impacts, but over time as the impacts increase, and sweat is absorbed and dried out into the material- the foam hardens. As the player takes an impact, this hardened foam is driving into the head, which can cause major head trauma. At Sports Etc. we suggest changing out your helmet every 3 years. hockey helmet needs to be re-examined and at times replaced
The Top 3 Hockey Helmets that Sports Etc. Recommends:
While it may seem great hockey players were born with performance hockey skates on their feet it actually isn’t true. Nearly everyone starts their road to hockey greatness with something far simpler. One of the best products we’ve found for first time ice skaters is the adjustable ice skate from Bladerunner/Rollerblade
These affordable ice skates work well for young skaters on a couple of levels-
- They are comfortable, supportive and easy to secure utilizing a lace/strap/buckle system. This ensures both the skater and parent have a positive, pain-free, frustration-free first experience on the ice
- The unique adjustable sizing feature allows the skate to “grow” with the skaters up to 3 full sizes! This eliminates the idea of “buyer’s remorse” and “sticker shock” that folks sometimes associate with ice skating and hockey
Now these skates aren’t designed for hockey or figure skating but rather introductory skating lessons and skating for fun. That said, they are the perfect first step towards hockey greatness…or for kids who just want to skate for the fun of it
Also Available In Rollerblade Skates!
Finding the right pair of hockey skates can be confusing with so many makes, models and changes to the hockey industry over the years. To simplify things, it is easier to break down skate fit into 3 categories: Tapered/Narrow, Contoured/Mid, and Traditional/Wide. Let’s take a closer look at what we mean and how it relates to the two major skate manufacturers; CCM and Bauer:
1.) Tapered/Narrow Fitting Skates
The tapered style skates generally have a narrower and shallower profile than other models, which allows for a nice, snug fit around the foot for optimum performance. This is the most popular fit within the hockey community and generally caters to an individual with an average foot, but is definitely not right for everyone, especially those with fuller feet. The tapered fit are products of the Bauer Vapor line, and the CCM Jetspeed line- our two best selling models.
2.) Contoured/Mid-Cut Skates
The contoured/mid-cut skates are perfect for someone with average to slightly full cut feet. It runs wider than the tapered line of skates, but still has a firm heel lock to provide a secure fit. This style of fit tends to be our second most popular seller, and offers a perfect blend between a narrow and wide cut skate. Examples of this skate would be the Bauer Supreme series and the CCM Tacks line.
3.) Traditional/Wide Fitting Skates
The traditional or wide cut skates are the fullest cut of any skate models on the market today. The more flexible boot and deeper heel allows for a relaxed and comfortable fit for those with wider feet. If you tend to have a narrow foot, this may not be the best option because the extra space within the skate may cause discomfort or hurt your overall performance. This style of fit is similar to that of a EE width, and has really replaced the need to seek out a different skate in a EE wide. The Bauer Nexus series, and the CCM Ribcor line offer this fit.
If you are able to narrow your search down to these three fit styles, selecting the perfect skate becomes much more manageable. With that said, the BEST way to ensure a proper fit is to come see the experts at Sports Etc!
Fitting your young hockey player can be a difficult and overwhelming task- so let the crew at Sports Etc help you out!
Our Learn-To-Play Youth Hockey Starter Package offers every piece of hockey equipment needed to get your young hockey player on the ice. The head-to-toe package includes:
- Shoulder Pads
- Elbow Pads
- Shin Pads
- Hockey Bag
- + a Free Skate Sharpening!
We have been fitting hockey players for over 35 years and we take great pride in ensuring a proper fit. Unlike most generic hockey packages, we offer a mix-and-match package of Bauer, CCM and Easton equipment to make sure that each piece of equipment fits just right.
Regularly priced at $349.99; NOW 25% OFF $249.99. Save $100!
After the successful launch of the CCM JetSpeed skates in 2015 it was with great anticipation that we awaited the 2016 launch of the CCM Tacks skates featuring the return to prominence of the legendary Super Tack skate! Five years in the making, the CCM Super Tacks skate represents one of the most revolutionary technologies found in hockey skates in decades. Some of the notable features include:
- The high performance carbon composite used in the Super Tacks skate is uniquely moldable to the player’s foot, providing an excellent customizable fit and high level of skating performance.
- MonoFrame 360 technology is a one-piece boot frame that eliminates the need for an outsole. It allows the skate to be molded 360° around the foot, for ultimate reactiveness and Direct Force Propulsion (DFP).
- The SpeedBlade Black consists of a premium oxide-treated steel that hardens the blade and helps provide a longer edge life.
The entire Tacks line is the most anatomical fit of the CCM family of skates with a slightly fuller toe box with an anatomical heel lock for the perfect balance of comfort and control. If you haven’t tried on a Tacks skate recently you really owe it to yourself to try one on.
Need more incentive to try out the new CCM Super tacks? How about a chance to win a pair of Super Tacks skates? For a limited time if you come in and check out a pair of new Super Tacks skates you will be given a key with a chance to “unlock” a pair of Super Tacks skates! Hey, even if you don’t win the skates we’ll still give you a free CCM hat just for trying the skates on! Click on the banner below for more details
Ever wanted to look like one of the most popular goalies in the NHL? Now you can with the Sports Etc exclusive V7 XR Carbon Pro Leg Pads featuring “Howie” graphics. The unique, exclusive features include:
- a tapered toe that allows a greater attack angle
- y-strapped calf wrap with a more generous leg channel for greater rotation of the lower leg
- an improved knee cradle and lift with unique strapping system
The stark white face with a single colored outside cheater roll makes these pads stand out from the pack. The overall effect is a clean looking, clean sealing pad that allows maximum attack angle for dominance across the crease
In the modern era of composite hockey sticks there have been many innovations and changes. The one thing that has remained constant is the shape. For the most part the shape of sticks has been square or, more specifically, rectangular. STX is looking to change all that with the introduction of the Surgeon RX 2 composite stick line featuring Puregrip Technology.
Puregrip Technology gives you an entirely new way to take control of the game. Its innovative, ergonomic design on the underside of the shaft fills the void in your hand left by a traditional shaped hockey stick. The angular shape on the bottom of the stick maximizes hand contact points for advanced stick control and quick, responsive play.
It has the familiar square top, but the bottom is like nothing you’ve ever played with before. It’s like the ultimate hybrid of a hockey stick and a lacrosse stick (STX being one of the leaders in LAX gear being completely coincidental). It has a great feel in the bare hand, but you really need to hold it with hockey gloves to fully appreciate just how different and comfortable this shape is. This unique ergonomic shape creates more contact points in the hand creating greater control.
The STX Surgeon RX2 sticks will be available on June 10th. Stop in and check out the shape of things to come!
Brian’s has released the new Sub Zero 3 goalie line, and it is without a doubt one of the best goalie pad designs we have seen. The incredibly light feel, easy smart strap system and customization capabilities have all contributed to the rapid growth of the Brian’s brand. Their dedication to “Goalie’s Only” is evident in their high quality product. Below are some of the highlights:
Lightest Goalie Pad Ever
The new Brian’s Sub Zero 3 goalie pads are 10% lighter than the Sub Zero II, which was previously the lightest pad on the market. The thinner profile has allowed for a weight reduction, but the flat-faced design keeps the pad stiff.
Cutting Edge Design
The Brian’s Sub Zero 3 pads have ditched the leather straps for a smart strap system. The smart strapping system has made the goalie pad 100% adjustable, and allows the goalie to find the most comfortable feel for their game. The design also allows for a smoother pad rotation on the leg for butterfly goaltenders.
The customization of the Brian’s goalie equipment is simply incredible. There is literally no custom design that Brian’s will turn away. The attention to detail is second to none, and the team at Brian’s is enthusiastic about new and challenging designs.
Fastest Growing Goalie Brand
Brian’s is without a doubt the fastest growing goalie company, and you will see it firsthand at the NHL level. They have increased to an 18% market share amongst NHL/AHL goalies. Brian’s has a small company feel with outstanding customer service. Their dedication to serving goalie customers is unmatched, and has contributed to their incredible growth.
Don’t think you can afford the pro-level Sub Zero 3? Try the Brian’s Sub Zero 7.0 series. One of the best value pads currently on the market. We would put it up against many other companies’ pro-level pads. The stiff face creates an incredibly durable pad, at an affordable price.
Customize your next pair of SZ3’s —->Brian’s SZ3 Customizer
Below is a collection of some custom designs that we helped put together at Sports Etc, many of which that were featured as “pad of the week” on www.goaliesonly.com :
Spring has arrived and its time to hit the street running…or make that rolling! We offer a great selection of roller hockey skates and Rollerblade inline skates for the whole family. Get your new skates now and get rolling!
For most hockey players, skate sharpening is typically a matter of personal preference. Some players like to be able to dig into the ice for a firm “bite” or “grip”, while some players like a more shallow hollow for a better “glide” along the ice. There is generally no right or wrong skate sharpening radius, but below are some general guidelines to skate sharpening:
The most common skate sharpening radius we see for ice hockey players is a 1/2″ inch or 5/8″ inch cut. The 1/2″ radius would be our typical recommendation because it is the perfect blend of “glide” and “bite.” Some players opt for the 3/8″ cut, but you are definitely sacrificing some “glide,” which can in turn affect your overall speed on the ice. Likewise, players that choose the 3/4″ cut can really sacrifice their “bite,” which can negatively affect quick cuts that are so common in the game of hockey.
Our recommendation: 1/2″ or 5/8″ inch radius.
We see the biggest variety of skate sharpening cuts when dealing with ice hockey goalies. Generally, we find that the more experienced goalies opt for a very deep cut, like 3/8″ inch. This allows the goalie to really dig into the ice, and slide post to post to make reactionary saves. Sometimes this can be a difficult radius for inexperienced or younger goalies because there is too much bite, which leads to their goalie skate getting caught underneath them, often tripping them up when sliding post to post. For this reason, we recommended that a more inexperienced goalie choose a 1″ cut, so it as an effortless glide going from post to post.
Our recommendation: 3/8″ or 1/2″ for the experienced goalie, 1″ for the inexperienced goalie.
Figure skaters generally like a better “glide” along the top of the ice, so we typically see a 1″ cut to maximize a smooth glide. When a figure skater wants to dig into the ice, they do so with their toe pick, so a sharper edge is not necessarily paramount.
Our recommendation: 1″ inch radius.
Sometimes the time of year can play a factor in which radius hockey players choose. In the warmer summer months, the ice gets softer, so many players elect for a duller cut to avoid digging too much blade into the ice.
Likewise, in the winter months, when the ice is harder, players often opt for a sharper cut that is more capable of digging into the ice.
Our recommendation: 1/2″ inch radius in the winter. 5/8″ radius in the summer.
Below is a chart that outlines recommended skate sharpening cuts: